Where: McLaren Vale
What: Fabulous winemaker Kate Day is a total Grenache tragic who is unashamedly committed to pioneering a Grenache Revolution!
Why: Because at Willunga 100 they have fun and love what they do, and it comes through in every sip. One sip of their Grenache and all of us at Fabulous HQ were planning our next Fabulous Ladies’ Getaway to MacLaren Vale!
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Funny name, seriously good wine
Willunga 100 may sound like a remote clinical facility for the Grenache impaired, but there’s a great history to the name. The term “HUNDRED” actually originates from late Norman England and was an administrative unit of government. It referred to the fact that 100+ households had to live in an area to qualify for a place on the map.
When the McLaren Vale district was settled it was originally divided up into “100′s”, or small lots too, and Willunga 100 selects their fruit from such parcels. Much of their best fruit comes from the area that once was the Hundred of Willunga.
Willunga 100 specialise in Grenache – and aren’t we happy ’bout that! Grenache is a fantastic red that doesn’t get nearly enough attention. (If you haven’t already, it’s time to get Grenache onto your red radar.)
Who are the fabulous team behind Willunga 100?
The wines are made by winemakers Kate Day and Tim James.
Kate has a fresh and dynamic approach to winemaking gained from her experience whipping up vino throughout Australia, New Zealand, the USA and France. Her broad experience, along with her bubbly personality makes her ideally suited to her current role as both winemaker and commercial manager. ( A fabulous lady being able to multi-task? Who’d have thunk it, huh?!).
Tim James, who is well known on the winemaking and wine judging circuit, has a wealth of knowledge especially about all things McLaren Vale, and has an amazing palate and love of mentoring younger winemakers through the ranks.
And what’s all this about a ‘Grenache Revival’?
Grenache is Kate’s passion and what gets her all hot under the collar. She wants to see more people drinking Grenache and is on a personal crusade to revive interest in this exciting red variety that’s full of bright red fruit, and savoury, grainy tannins.
“Sometimes people refer to it as Poor Man’s Pinot,” says Kate. “But I think Grenache actually rivals Pinot Noir, as it has all of the flavour but none of the pretension. My favourite way to enjoy Grenache is with wood fired pizza!”
“Historically, lots of Grenache in Australia was originally planted to make port. And when it was made into a table wine it was often overripe and very high in alcohol. I think that’s put a lot of people off. But as soon as I put good Grenache into someone’s glass and encourage them to take a sip they’re always surprised at just how much they enjoy it.”
McLaren Vale has some of the best old vine Grenache vines in Australia, and the average age of vines used by Willunga 100 is 50+ years! With incredible vineyards like that, it’s no wonder Monsieur Eyebrows has even recently come out and said that McLaren Vale is on track to become the world’s best Grenache region.
The Wines of Willunga 100
Willunga 100 produce a range of wines – mostly Grenache of course! – which include:
- 2013 Willunga 100 McLaren Vale Grenache
- 2013 Willunga 100 McLaren The Hundred Grenache (Single vineyard, lees aged and unoaked)
- 2010 Willunga 100 McLaren The Tithing Grenache (Flagship wine only produced in exceptional years, limited quantity)
- 2014 Willunga 100 McLaren Vale Grenache Rose
- 2011 Willunga 100 McLaren Vale Shiraz
- 2012 Willunga 100 McLaren Vale Cabernet Shiraz
- 2012 Willunga 100 Adelaide Hills Viognier
- 2011 Willunga 100 Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris
Get into Grenache on International Grenache Day – 19 September
Now we’ve introduced you to one of this country’s most fabulous Grenache producers, why not grab yourself some of their amazing Grenache and join us – and millions of others around the world – in celebrating International Grenache Day on 19 September! We say cheers to that. *clink*
We’re featuring Willunga 100 as our winery of the month for September 2014 in the online wine club! This is your chance to try two of our favourites from their range – the incredible 2014 Willunga 100 Rosé and the 2013 Willunga 100 Grenache – all with FREE delivery! Find out more.