96 Points – Ken Gargett, Wine Pilot
96 Points – Andrew Calliard MW
95 Points – Patrick Eckel, Wine Reviewer
92 Points – 2020 James Halliday Grenache Challenge



The Sand Garden Grenache is a small parcel of incredibly special fruit from old vines planted in 1900 on our Arila Gardens property. The vines are gnarly and twisted with deep root systems spanning the predominately sand over clay earth beneath. The philosophy of this Grenache is simple; to make a world class Grenache that expresses this sought-after variety, from this historic place, in this time to be savoured for many years to come.

Our Garden Selection Grenache is a culmination of decades of experience, working in the Barossa Valley focussing on top end, age worthy wines. The intent with this wine is to showcase our vineyard in the Moppa sub-region of the Barossa Valley. The Moppa region is highly acclaimed and often blended in to the most sought after wines in the Barossa Valley, but rarely seen as a single vineyard offering. Arila Gardens embodies the power and complexity the region has built a reputation for, but with an elegance and finesse to the structure that we love to drink.

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Tasting Note

Grape Variety: Grenache.
Vineyard Region:  Sand Garden from the Arila Gardens single vineyard, Moppa, Barossa Valley.
Colour: Vivid cherry red.
Nose: A highly perfumed wine typical of the sandy soils from which these vines are grown. Lively fruit driven nose with aromatic, bright red current, and pomegranate fruits. A darker cherry core opens over time, heightened with notes of fresh peppermint, cherry blossom and subtle cream.
Palate: Medium to full bodied by Australian Grenache standards. Generous red and black cherry fruits, yoghurt, cranberry, and goji fill the mouth with a tight long line of natural acidity that brightens and lifts the palate. This wine has intensity and structure indicative of the fruit from these century old, low yielding, dry grown vines. Tannin profile is fine and talcy with an appetising ‘al-dente’ quality. Flavour length differentiates the high quality of this wine as it lingers effortlessly.
Cellaring Potential: 10 to 15 years

Vintage Conditions

The 2019 vintage was characterised by hot, dry Summer conditions and low yields. As a result, fruit was small berried and intense in both flavour, colour and tannin. The picking decision was vital more than ever for this vintage to retain freshness and brightness of fruit flavour. Our century old Grenache vines with deep spanning root systems showed amazing resilience, purity of fruit and natural acid retention. Before harvest, each vine was assessed, and any fruit deemed not of the highest quality removed. Harvest was on March 6, the coolest day (19°C max) of the surrounding month, earlier than most in the region to capture the aromatics, vibrancy and character of this variety, vintage and place.


  • Harvest date – 6th March 2019
  • Cold soak 48 hours at 12 °C
  • Small percentage of whole bunch at the base of the fermenter. Just enough to lift aromatics and build texture without distracting from the vineyard or varietal expression.
  • Fermentation in small open top fermenter for 7 days with gentle pump over and hand plunging
  • No acid added
  • Gentle pressing close to sugar dry
  • Maturation – 14 months old French oak on yeast lees with the occasional stirring to resuspend yeast, build and soften texture.
  • Racked from barrel and filtered without any fining prior to bottling.
  • Final Wine analysis
    pH – 3.36
    Acidity – 7.1g/L
    Alcohol – 14.5 %
    Residual sugar – dry : 0.1 g/L


The grapes for this wine are sourced from a small parcel of vines which were planted in 1900 in the Moppa sub-region of the Barossa. Just shows what the correct site and old vines can do for grenache. The grapes were cold-soaked for 48 hours at 12°C. There was a small percentage of whole bunches at the base of the fermenters, and fermentation took place over seven days with gentle pumping and hand plunging. The wine was then matured for 14 months in old French oak, still on its yeast lees. The wine was stirred every now and again, with the intention being to build and soften the texture.

The colour was perhaps slightly more purple than expected, but the wine had those beautiful perfumes that one associates with great grenache. There were confectionary notes, florals, jujubes and lollies here, but also very much aromatic aniseed and licorice notes. There are the slightly gritty tannins one expects from grenache and very good length. Hints of mulberries emerged towards the finish. For me, this is a textbook Barossa grenache and one with a great future.Ken Gargett, Wine Pilot (96 Points)

The wine is produced from vines that were planted as far back as 1900, delivering a wine of concentration, but a pretty and flowing disposition .The nose has red cherry that with time in the glass shows more earth and brown spice; the palate is medium to full bodied with a mineral core of acidity that combines with fine, purposeful tannins. Fruit focuses on red and black cherry, with spice and textural cranberry providing contrast. The finish is long, and precise with red cherry and cranberry given a dusting of earth and spice. Optimal drinking 2021 – 2030.Patrick Eckel, Wine Reviewer (95 Points)

Medium deep crimson. Intense lifted musky plum, raspberry aromas with hints of paneforte/ dark chocolate and sage. Richly flavoured palate with deep set musky plum, raspberry, red liquorice flavours, lovely mid-plate volume, fine persistent chalky textures and underlying savoury notes, Finishes firm and minerally crisp with plentiful sweet fruit notes. 14.5% alc. Drink now – 2028.Andrew Calliard MW (96 Points)