Mark Hoddy in Oz – a Battle of Grenache

One of the reasons I am out here is that South Australia is home to some of the world’s oldest Grenache vines and I wanted to see and learn how they do things out here. I have already seen similarities between Grenache here and at home in Maury but new methods, ideas and techniques can only enhance the perfection in my Grenache wine that I aim for.

I have been working with Stephen Pannell for the last 4 weeks solid, absorbing all his energy, ability and passion for wine. Stephen Pannell is a winemaker of enormous reputation and has worked at the highest level for some of the best wineries, making some of Australia’s most iconic and most expensive wines. Steve is also twice winner and current holder of the prestigious Jimmy Watson Trophy.

SC Pannel Cellar Door

S.C. Pannell cellar door

However Steve has returned to the Vale to set up his own winery, driven by his love for certain varietals including his beloved Grenache!

We had a great night with Steve and co at his S.C. Pannell cellar door and restaurant and were seated out on the ‘deck’ as they say down under!

on the deck

Out on the deck

I knew Steve’s love of Grenache so I sneaked in my own 2012 Vent de Folie I had brought in my suitcase from home alongside his highly rated Grenache.

2 Grenaches

Two Grenaches

Steve loved the Vent de Folie and it was talk of the winemakers’ table. I am thrilled about this and after many years working with old-vine Grenache it is always a pleasure to have great compliments and enjoyment from one of the most respected winemakers in the world.  Honestly, the Vent de Folie stood up to Steve’s Grenache, shoulder to shoulder. It may not have won hands down, but don’t tell Steve. My Vent de Folie does however win hands down with the price, a complete steal at only £14.99!!


About Mark Hoddy

Mark Hoddy, Winemaker and Buyer for Alsace at Laithwaite's.

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