Winner of the 2023 James Halliday Grenache Challenge announced

James Halliday AM (right). Photo: Ben MacMahon, MacMahon Images

The Serafino 2022 Reserve Grenache has received the highest accolade in this year’s James Halliday Grenache Challenge.

The seventh annual James Halliday Grenache Challenge (JHGC) was judged on Monday 16 October in McLaren Vale, with James Halliday AM himself present leading the panel of judges. The panel chose its winner from a line-up of 153 Grenache wines submitted from around Australia, celebrating the strength and diversity of the variety.

The results from this year’s challenge saw McLaren Vale Grenache reign supreme, with the three highest-ranked wines and six of the top ten wines all hailing from the region.

James Halliday AM remarked on the quality of this year’s submissions.

“The makers of Grenache responded jubilantly to the quality of the ’21, ’22 and ’23 growing seasons. There is a pattern of finesse, purity, and intensity in the medal-winning wines, the best simply beautiful,” said Halliday.

“McLaren Vale has been the beating heart of Grenache’s rediscovery; it really has been front and centre of the Grenache renaissance.”

Maria Maglieri, CEO of Serafino was overjoyed at the win.

“It’s a testament to the hard work of our entire team and the unique characteristics of our McLaren Vale vineyards,” said Maglieri. “It is truly special. This recognition propels us to continue our journey of excellence.”

Proudly hosted by the McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association (MVGWTA) each October, the James Halliday Grenache Challenge benchmarks Grenache wines from across Australia, encouraging an honest gauge of our country’s Grenache winemaking form and recognising styles and movements developing across the industry.

Commenting on the Challenge, the judging panel were enthusiastic about McLaren Vale’s Grenache.

“Grenache continues to intrigue and challenge all the judges to be on their game with an exciting and diverse array of styles. There were great examples of precise primary aromatic styles alongside the brooding weighted styles which walked the flavour ripeness, varietal definition, and alcohol tightrope with varying levels of success…Recent vintages certainly look strong in McLaren Vale for Grenache, particularly 2022 which had great varietal definition in many cases. Well played winemakers.”

Are you a Daily Wine News subscriber? If not, click here to join our mailing list. It’s free!