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February '22

2018 Hither & Yon Leask Grenache

Hither & Yon is here

If asked to sum up the ’18 Hither & Yon Leask Grenache in just a few words, we'd have to describe it as a sensory smorgasbord. This delicious, handcrafted wine hails from a heritage vineyard located in the foothills of McLaren Vale. Produced by the Leask brothers, Malcom and Richard, of Hither & Yon, this old-vine grenache is a refreshing vision of a regional classic. With plenty of aromatic complexity, layers of red berry fruit and beautiful spicy highlights, this wine is pure joy to drink and a phenomenal food wine, though just as enjoyable on its own. From just six rows of dry-grown heritage bush vines and with only 700 bottles produced, we think this wine is something special and we’re sure you will too.

Better wine, a lighter footprint

Mal Leask, Hither & Yon's co-owner and winemaker, was kind enough to sit with us and chat through Hither & Yon's journey so far. We spoke about their growing philosophy and how they have become one of the leaders in regenerative farming and sustainable winemaking. Here's what he had to say.

'It's been a decade-long journey for Hither & Yon and I think we've really just arrived as a brand now. Our family has worked the Vale for over 40 years now and we've built a pretty solid reputation for growing grapes, farming and generally being good people around the region. The brand was born out of a desire to express what we do best, which is growing nice things. That, and thinking about the future of varieties and the impact of climate change.'

Hither & Yon is one of many new-wave brands emerging from McLaren Vale. They're part of the push for more sustainable, regenerative farming, and were certified carbon neutral in 2021.

'The Vale is the most special part of all of us,' says Mal. 'It allows us to grow what we grow and be different from every other region in Australia and the world. We started out being more conventional growers and winemakers, but then moved to regenerative agriculture as our main philosophy. It goes beyond 'sustainable' and really focuses on soil health and vitality as the number one priority, as well as its water-holding capacity.'

Grenache: from Spanish mountains to McLaren Vale

Possibly better known as the G in GSM, varietal grenache is a big deal in McLaren Vale. When Mal and Richard's dad first arrived in the Vale in the 1980s, grenache was a variety generally used to make either super-sweet and overripe reds or fortified wines. That's all changed now, with the McLaren Vale region being one of the first to recognise the potential of grenache in Australia. Originally native to the rugged mountain regions of Spain, grenache – or garnacha – is perfectly at home in McLaren Vale’s hot, dry growing conditions and being touted as a grape that will become increasingly important as Australian wine regions deal with climate change.

'In terms of a wine with a light footprint, this grenache is probably as climate-friendly as you can get,' says Mal, the winemaker. 'The vines were planted in the 1940s, in a leaner part of the vineyard, but are still really healthy. The classic hallmark of older vines is small berries with lots of power, concentration and depth, but our old-vine grenache brings big berries and bright, juicy fruit with a real elegance.'

'I think part of the reason for this difference is how we manage it. We handpick the grapes nice and early so they stay on that pretty, floral, red-fruit edge. We're really hands-off in the winery and take an almost-pinot-noir approach to the winemaking, which gives the wine a pure expression of place. We've had this in lineups of other grenache wines from around the Vale and everyone is always like, "Where does this come from?" It's a wine that really opens up over a few days; bright and pretty up front, with nice natural acidity and crispness, then on the second day you'll get the mid-palate fruits coming through, which is when it's probably most grenache-like. On the third day, you'll taste the soil and geology through the back palate of the wine.'

"Vines planted in the '40s, whole berry with 10% whole bunches, cultured yeast and aged in French puncheons for 17 months. There's a lightness across the palate from fine sandpaper tannins and cherry and raspberry fruit. It's a lovely wine with savoury inputs and not at all confected. A whiff of pine needle/Mediterranean herbs comes and goes."

Jane Faulkner (James Halliday Wine Companion)
Published 01 August 2020
Let's smash the grenache!

It’s safe to say this ain’t your grandmother’s grenache – despite the fact it comes from vines that are potentially as old. How so? Well, unlike a lot of old-vine grenache from the region, the Leask is not your typical ripe and ready South Australian red. This is not to say it doesn’t have that classic varietal character – it does. But it also presents more site-specific notes – tangy citrus, eucalypt and Campari-like notes – that provide intrigue and give a typically bold grape a delightfully refreshing quality.

The nose is bold and enticing, with hallmark rose petal perfume and red berry fruit as well as pops of baking spice, leather and red liquorice. The palate is bold and succulent, brimming with ripe cherry and raspberry fruit and clove spice. With time in the glass, this gives way to more complex characters – blood orange, pine needle, amaro herbs and a lick of sweet vanilla. This sensory smorgasbord is beautifully complemented by soft acidity, fine, dusty tannins and a long savoury finish with a lingering earthy edge. A fantastic pair with rustic Italian fare as well as aromatically spiced Asian cuisine.

When asked, Mal told us that roasted duck is always at the top of his list when it comes to pairing this wine. 'I have to admit that I'm pretty lazy when it comes to food, though I've had some great experiences – particularly in China – drinking this with something like roast duck,' he said. 'Just slice it up and wrap it in pancakes with hoisin and a bit of cucumber. I could eat about twenty of them along with a glass or two of this grenache. Something as simple as that is perfect for this wine.'

And if you're vegan? You can still enjoy a 'duck' pancake by substituting the duck for jackfruit. There's a great recipe here.

Planning to visit the Vale?

McLaren Vale almost certainly takes the crown for our favourite Australian wine region. It's a real community and the wine and food is as good as it gets. The One Wine team has been fortunate to spend a fair bit of time down in the Vale, so we thought it only fair that we pass on a few of our favourite wineries, restaurants and places to stay, just in case you're inspired to visit after tasting your February wine. We've done a rundown on where we love and why.

Visit the Vale
The playlist

It's February, the month for (wine) lovers, so we've put together a passionate playlist worthy of the love in your life. Our recommendation? Pour this grenache in the decanter, dim the lights and take your sweetheart – or dog, or whatever – for a slow dance around the kitchen.


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