Bondar Rayner Vineyard Grenache 2023


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Region: McLaren Vale
Grapes: Grenache
First Glance: Red Fruits, Herbal, Juicy, Fresh
Acclaim: 95pts

The Wine:
Sourced from the 1970 planted Grenache block from Bondar's Rayner Vineyard planted on sand. This block is dry-grown and managed organically. The 2023 vintage was the third La Nina vintage in a row in South Australia, producing the coolest conditions seen in McLaren Vale for decades.

The Bondar crew really want the Rayner Grenache to be pretty, yet savoury, and generally a more elegant expression of the variety. They believe that this is what the 1970 block wants to produce, so they just try to let it express itself as best as they can. To help achieve this they pick a little earlier than some would in order to catch the red fruits and herb. They also want this wine to be long lived, to have a tightness and structure for age. They use some whole bunch (around 20% in total) for some extra tannin from stalks, and this also gives the wine extra layers of complexity to the flavours. Hand-picked fruit, wild yeast ferments, 20% whole bunches, fermented and aged for around 6 months in ceramic eggs and old French barrels. Unfined, unfiltered, bottled in December 2023.

The Review:
Gary Walsh, The Wine Front - 95pts
"Very good Grenache here, it’s lively and gently herbal, raspberry, ripe cherry and almond, quite some spice and dried flower perfume too, a fair bit of mint. Juicy ripe cherry and red fruit, the tannin is a little raspy and stony, and really adds something to the wine. There’s also some raspberry friand sweetness, and it offers mouth-perfume, and excellent length. It’s crisp, but flavoursome. It’s not Blewitt or Clarendon, but gee, it makes an emphatic statement about how good McLaren Vale Grenache can be. So lovely. Juciy juicy, Nice nice."