Firstly, my apologies to Stockheads who tried to buy last week’s Secret Cellar offer and hit the “Sold Out” sign. Sell-outs happen occasionally but we do try to avoid creating disappointment. We’re here to sell after all!

This week, we’re talkin’ about a revolution – and it’s taking us back to Australia’s viticultural beginnings.

The Barossa lays claim to the world’s oldest shiraz and grenache vines, planted in the 1840s and ’50s. They were untouched by the phylloxera outbreak that wiped out vines across Europe in the late 1880s and later arrived in Australia, hitting Victoria and eastern states.

While Australia’s shiraz now dominates the world, grenache has been left behind and only accounts for about 2 per cent of our sales of bottled red wine.

But the old grape’s stocks are finally rising: the average price paid for a bottle of Australian grenache has more than doubled over the past two years.

The Australian Wine Club opens up the delightful world of grenache to our Stockhead friends today, with a line-up of six grenache-dominant wines from Australia, Spain and France. And we’re certainly not joining the trend of rising prices!

Giles Cooke and Fergal Tynan, both masters of wine, are among the leaders of this contemporary grenache movement, starting Thistledown Wines in 2010 with a vision of reviving the old grape’s fortunes.

“You could pretty much walk into any grenache vineyard back then and name your price,” Giles says. “We thought grenache is such a rich part of Australia’s viticultural history, it deserved better.”

Having worked vintages in Spain, the ancestral home of grenache, they were determined to adopt a new approach to making Australian grenache at Thistledown.

“It’s become the norm in some regions to give the grapes extended hang time and to look for fruit sweetness and ripe flavours in the vineyard,’’ Giles says. “We prefer to work with fruit that still has great balance of sweetness, acidity and tannin – fruit that we pick on the way up rather than on the way down.”

Picking fruit slightly earlier also allows alcohol levels to be held in check.

A good grenache should be bursting with aromas of raspberries and strawberries, plums and orange rind, with spicy, savoury characters adding complexity. Grenache is also often blended with shiraz and mourvedre (mataro), a style pioneered in France’s southern Rhone.

Here are six examples at prices framed to encourage you to experience the many guises of grenache.

Picture: Getty Images

Thistledown Gorgeous Old Vine McLaren Vale Grenache 2020

Easy-drinking, juicy, bursting with wild strawberries and spice. Thistledown’s philosophy is geared to letting the grenache shine through: vinified in small batches, wild ferments, whole bunch inclusion, use of older and larger oak containers, and no filtration or fining. Crafted from old vineyards in the Riverland and McLaren Vale. 91 points from Team Halliday. 14.5% alc. RRP $25 a bottle.

SPECIALS $21.25 a bottle in any dozen; $20.83 in grenache mixed dozen.

Kilikanoon Prodigal Clare Valley Grenache 2018

Grenache gets serious here: raspberry tarts, red licorice, star anise, smoky notes and spice. Layers of dark chocolate and blackberries with a dash of sarsaparilla in the background. Fine tannins and bright acidity. From Clare’s sensational 2018 vintage. Pairs beautifully with confit duck leg and blackberry jus. 93 points from Team Halliday. Absolute bargain in special dozen. 14.5% alc. RRP $40 a bottle.

SPECIALS $29.99 a bottle in any dozen; $20.83 in grenache mixed dozen.

Chateau Gicon Cotes du Rhone 2019

Rich and powerful, this French grenache-shiraz blend leaves little to the imagination. Dark fruit aromas lead the way, with ripe flavours of black cherries, raspberries and strawberries flowing through; aniseed and sweet spicy notes on the long finish. Decant for an hour while you barbecue lamb cutlets with garlic and oregano. 15% alc. RRP $32 a bottle.

SPECIALS $27.20 a bottle in any dozen; $20.83 in grenache mixed dozen.

El Bombero Gran Reserva 2014

From the Spanish wine region of Carinena comes this sophisticated garnacha-dominated blend (with tempranillo). Eight years into its life, the wine opens with a generous nose of forest fruits and mixed berries, sweet spice and vanilla. Summer berries, plum pudding and Christmas cake flavours on the palate. In a perfect drinking window. 14.5% alc. RRP $22 a bottle.

SPECIALS $18.20 a bottle in any dozen; $20.83 in grenache mixed dozen.

RedHeads Princess of Thieves GSM 2020

From a winery that takes its green credentials seriously: organically certified; 97 per cent powered by self-generated and stored renewable energy. This Barossa blend is a knockout. Cherry-chocolate aromas, followed by strawberry, anise and gentle spice. Waves of plum and cherry flavours, with hints of black pepper, spicy richness. 94 points and top in category, Winestate Magazine. 14.5% alc. RRP $35 a bottle.

SPECIALS $26.99 a bottle in any mixed dozen; $20.83 in grenache mixed dozen.

Cape Barren Native Goose McLaren Vale GSM 2018

Cranberries and dried herbs on the nose, leading to a juicy attack of plums and cherry flavours, with earthy, savoury tones in the background. Everything nicely in balance in this 60-20-20 per cent GSM blend. From old Blewitt Springs vines, aged between 45 and 60 years. 15.1% alc. RRP $30 a bottle.

SPECIALS $21.99 a bottle in any mixed dozen; $20.83 in grenache mixed dozen.

SPECIAL GRENACHE DEAL Two bottles of each wine for $20.83 a bottle. That’s a saving of $118 on a dozen.

Order online or telephone 1300 765 359 Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm AEST. Deals available only while stocks last. The Australian Wine Club is a commercial partnership with Laithwaites Wine. Stockhead is partnering with The Australian Wine Club on this offer.