GROSSET | Clare Valley
WINEMAKER: JEFFREY GROSSET
SIZE: 48 acres, 11,000 cases
SOILS: Limestone, slate, shale, loam
VARIETIES IMPORTED: Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon
The rugged bush land of the Clare Valley is a special place and it’s hard to think of it without Grosset wines coming to mind, perhaps its best advocate whose wines are the regions best exponent. As a region the Clare Valley contradicts itself, providing a climate growing medium to full bodied Cabernet based wines with elegant precision, and some of the worlds finest and longest lived Rieslings. Despite being 50 miles north of the warmer Barossa, it sits atop a high plateau of mineral rich soils alongside a slight mountain range, the Mt. Lofty Ranges. This provides interesting sites for those that care to explore, with sun filled days, cool nights, diurnal temperature swings and cooling breezes the norm.
It is here that for over 35 vintages Jeffrey Grosset has created one of the great ongoing comparisons of terroir through the noble (though underappreciated) Riesling variety. This comparison has been carried out through the Springvale Vineyard in the Watervale sub-region of Clare Valley, and the Polish Hill vineyard in the unofficial Polish Hill River sub-region. The wines show amazing transparency, highlighting the differences between the soft rock limestone site of Watervale and the hard rock, slate site of Polish Hill. Both sites share the same high elevation (1500ft), are organically farmed and hand tended, then only the free run juice is fermented in stainless tanks to absolute dryness. The wines are bracing and taut in their youth but have rewarded many collectors, showing honey, toast and nutty characters with age, without losing their minerality or tension. Through these wines, Grosset has set a benchmark for new world Riesling producers to aspire to.
The aim has always been simple, to produce the best examples of variety and place. The philosophy has remained steadfast for over thirty years. The emphasis is on purity of fruit. This is shown through the three Rieslings (a recently added Alea Vineyard with some residual sugar) from the Clare Valley. He also produces and Cabernet Sauvignon/ Cabernet Franc from the highest and coolest vineyard in the Clare (1900ft), a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Piccadilly Valley of Adelaide Hills, a Semillon/ Sauvignon Blanc and most recently a Fiano and Eau du Vie style spirit.
The winemaking process is gentle and uncomplicated. With dedication, discipline and the application of knowledge garnered through decades of experience, the result is the finest expression of variety and place.