McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia
Willunga 100’s focus is very much on premium Grenache, driven by winemaker Mike Farmilo who has almost 40 years of experience working in McLaren Vale. Alongside winemaker Skye Salter, they spend a lot of time working with the growers to ensure the quality of fruit is up to their exacting standards.
In 2015, Willunga made two ‘Hundred’ single-vineyard wines: one from an 80-year-old site in Blewitt Springs, the other from a 97-year-old site in Clarendon. Together, the Blewitt Springs and Clarendon single-vineyard wines showcase the diversity of McLaren Vale Grenache. The same winemaking techniques were used for both wines, which involved some whole bunch in the blend, ageing on lees in stainless steel for 12 months prior to bottling and no oak ageing. In comparison to Blewitt Springs, Clarendon is higher in altitude and has more of a continental climate with high daytime temperatures and cool nights. Bright, floral and perfumed on the nose with red berry fruits, this expression demonstrates the elegance of McLaren Vale Grenache. The vines in Blewitt Springs are planted on ancient sandy soils with an underlying clay and ironstone base. Warm sunny days and moderating sea breezes characterise the climate in this sub-region. The resulting wine has lovely dark cherry aromas on the nose and a richness and roundness to the palate. At the 2016 McLaren Vale Wine Show, the Blewitt Springs won two trophies, including ‘Best McLaren Vale Grenache’. While in 2017 it was awarded ‘Top Gold’ at both the Adelaide Wine Show and Royal Sydney Wine Show. Continuing this success, the 2017 Clarendon was awarded a gold medal at the 2019 Sommelier Wine Awards.
‘The Tithing’ is made only in the best years and is aged in French oak hogsheads (which are larger than barriques) to avoid oak masking the delicate aromatics of the Grenache. The 2016, another gold medal winner at the 2019 Sommelier Wine Awards, hails from low yielding 60-year-old vines in the ‘Di Fabio’ vineyard in Blewitt Springs. It is rich and concentrated with superb length and freshness. Two other Grenaches complete Willunga 100’s ‘genuflection before the altar’ of this superb variety: the Willunga 100 Grenache is a perfumed and spicy expression of the variety, with great freshness; while the Grenache Rosé is pale, dry and deliciously supple.
The Tempranillo is packed with blackberry, spice and an earthiness which gives the wine a savoury note. The Shiraz/Viognier is rich and luscious with ripe fruit harnessed by supple tannins. The Cabernet/Shiraz displays delicious berry fruit that is lent a supple texture on the palate by the 35% of Shiraz in the blend. These wines offer exceptional value.