Region: McLaren Vale, SA
First Glance: Mid-weight, aromatic, spicy
Gentle Folk is an exciting young project by marine biologist come winemaker, Gareth Belton, based in the Adelaide Hills. Here Gareth and his small family farm small plots of cool climate varieties, whilst also buying in fruit from like-minded growers in regions further afield. The wines are sympathetically Lo-Fi, bordering on natural, but without entering into the plane of gritty funkiness because of some strictly kept ideology. As such, the vineyards are farmed biodynamically and the wines see no additions except a bare minimum of sulphites just prior to bottling.
The Grenache is a bit different than the rest of the Gentle Folk stable, as it is bought in from a grower in the McLaren Vale. This is from pristine 80+ year old vines in the Blewitt Springs region, where deep sandy soils and moderate elevation, gives elegantly styled and aromatically expressive Grenache. Half the wine is from a ferment with 20% whole cluster maceration for 28 days, the second half of the wine is 100% whole cluster, fermented for three months. After pressing both components spent eight months in neutral French oak barriques and terracotta eggs.
94 points, Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
Opens with struck match and flinty scents, some cinnamon-clove and dark cherry fruit characters given lift from something herbal, salt bushy and fresh. It’s similar to taste, a little rugged minerally note, stony, pumice-like and the cavalcade of sweet, ripe cherry fruit comes in and gets hounded by that garnish of dried herb and saline leafiness like the crunch of samphire or sea blight. Tannins prove worthy albeit come in late with a huff and, again, pumice-like in pucker. Delicious wine, medium weight, supple, fresh, layered with fruit and savouriness. Oh yes, worthy!