2018 Ovitelli Grenache

The name ‘Ovitelli’ is a portmanteau of ‘ovi’ and ‘vitelli’ meaning ‘egg’ and ‘life’ respectively. The Ovitelli Grenache is our most perfumed and elegant Grenache from the sands at Yangarra. The vibrant fruit of the dry-grown 1946 planted bush vines is rewarded with a long, luxurious ferment and a whole autumn on skins in big ceramic eggs. This is our most elegant Grenache with great emphasis on perfume, tension and precision.



REGION: Estate grown in Kangarilla, McLaren Vale

WINEMAKING: Wild yeast, fermented and matured in ceramic eggs, fermenting on skins for 158 days. Certified organic/biodynamic.

Vineyard and Winemaking

This Grenache was sourced solely from block 30 (2.0 Ha), which was planted in 1946 and is North-Easterly adjacent to the High Sands block. These old bush vines are dry grown, and pruned to an average of 20 buds per vine. The vines are shoot thinned in Spring to ensure there is balance to the canopy and each bunch being evenly spread.

The vineyard is certified Biodynamic (certification # 11587) with Australian Certified Organic. We have quite a practical approach, with our philosophy focused around healthy and alive soil, which involves no use of synthetic herbicides or fungicides, use of compost and biodynamic preparations, use of sheep in winter to graze under vine, and minimal mechanical soil disruption.

REGION: Kangarilla, McLaren Vale

VINE AGE: 74 years

ELEVATION: 200m above sea level

The fruit was hand-picked and mechanically sorted.  100% of the fruit was then destemmed, crushed and tipped into 675L ceramic eggs. The fermentation occurred in the eggs and the wine remained on skins for 158 days post-fermentation. Exclusively matured in ceramic eggs. No pressings were used. Not fined. Certified organic/biodynamic

ALCOHOL: 14.5%

TA: 6.4 g/L

pH: 3.27

YIELD: 24hL/Ha

Vintage Report

The 2018 growing season was a textbook growing season, a very mild spring, a generally dry summer, with moderate yields.The 2018 wines produced typically darker and more intense wines.

The grapes were hand-picked on the 10th of March (leaf/fruit day), and yielded 24 hectoliters per hectare. As much as we pick on sugar/acid balance, and importantly physiological characters, we also consider the biodynamic calendar where possible, with fruit days and flower days being the most desirable, and a root days avoided.


2017 Vintage

96 Points Halliday Wine Companion 2020: Clear, bright crimson. It is 100% fresh and firm, almost to a fault. If this is an issue, all you have to do is watch its triumphal march over the years in your cellar

97 points Toni Paterson, The Real Review: I adore the individual nature of this wine. The medium-depth colour is clear and vibrant. Snappy and fragrant are the cherry aromas. The palate is light yet textural; it epitomises suppleness and the flavours are lively and intense. I particularly enjoy the burst of cherry fruit on the finish, with the flavours long and satisfying

96 Points James Halliday Halliday Wine Companion: From Block 30 (2ha) planted '46 adjacent to the High Sands Block. Hand-picked, destemmed, mechanically berry-sorted, crushed, fermentation and 138 days on skins in 675l ceramic eggs, pressed and returned to the eggs for a further 6 months maturation. Clear, bright crimson, it is 100% fresh and firm, almost to a fault. If this be an issue, all you have to do is watch its triumphal march over the years in your cellar.


96 points Halliday Wine Companion: 70yo vines, hand-picked, 100% destemmed, 50% crushed, fermented in two 675l ceramic eggs, remaining on skins post fermentation for 140 days, no oak maturation. Peter Fraser says he can't explain why eggs perform as they do, and (of course) nor can I. But I am sure you could not bypass oak in favour of stainless steel tanks. The eggs give the wine texture akin to tight-grain oak, and no reduced characters whatsoever. Drink to 2036

96 points Toni Patterson - The Real Review: Produced from old-vine, dry-grown grenache vines, fermented slowly in a ceramic egg. It is a concentrated, elegant grenache with high-toned aromatics of raspberry, redcurrant and dried cherry, with underlying savouriness enhancing its charm. The palate is youthful, yet approachable, with a long, fine core of acidity. It is a mesmerising grenache showing intense flavours within a refined frame. Amazing persistence and stylish tannin

95 points Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front: Vines planted in 1946. Hand-picked, sorted, destemmed, crushed and tipped into 657 litre ceramic eggs. Kept on skins for 191 days post ferment; this is full of grape tannin goodness. No oak time at all; ceramic eggs only. It smells of grapes. It smells of the earth. It smells wild or free or something like that. It’s red-fruited with a trace of licorice, shows a gentle line of chicory, is spicy and earthen, and has a keen insistence to the finish. Tannin here, silty, is quite gorgeous. It has flare but it also has understatement. It’s a wine to take to the world. Drink 2018 – 2024

95 points Nick Stock - jamessuckling.com Top 100 Aus Wines: Aside from being released earlier, this sets itself apart from the High Sands Grenache with its shape, texture and freshness. Lighter and brighter red fruits in the raspberry and red-plum zone. There is an innate strength to the tannins here, as well as a very vibrant, deep core of fruit that really shines. Superb! Drink or hold. Screw cap.

95 points Huon Hooke - The Real Review: Medium red colour with a faint tinge of purple. The bouquet is subdued and shy, the wine is very drying, firm and tannin-driven, with savoury flavours and drying texture. The tannins drive the wine and the flavours and aromas are very dry and savoury, strongly de-emphasising fruit. I suspect age will bring much more out of this somewhat closed wine. Its concentration is undoubted. (1946 old-vine fruit, fermented in ceramic eggs and left on skins long-term) Drink 2020 - 2033


96 points Halliday Wine Companion: "A name change: goodbye Small Pot Ceramic Egg, hello Ovitelli, sounds classier. Still made in (two) ceramic egg vessels, destemmed fruit, 50% crushed and on skins for 140 days. The heady aromatics greet and promise more good things to come. superfine acidity, the pure line of fruit tannin, the energy and joy in this wine, quite profound. Drink 2032." (Halliday Wine Companion 2018)

95 points Gary Walsh: "Wild yeast, fermented and matured in two 675L ceramic eggs, fermenting on skins for 140 days. Grapes sourced from Block 30, planted in 1946. And, well, if ever there was a Grenache style for me, then no oak and heaps of grape tannin is it. Flowers, sugar coated almonds, cherry and raspberry, aromatic herbs, Medium bodied, red fruits and spice, beautiful mineral and brick dust tannin, perfume and almost cranberry juice acidity, freshness and great length, etched with tannin and scented with flowers and almond. What a beautiful wine. It’s an Italianate expression, as well as essence of Old Vine Grenache. Hats off to the team at Yangarra." (The Wine Front, May 2017)

93+ points Lisa Perrotti-Brown: "Pale to medium garnet-purple, the 2015 Grenache Ovitelli reveals a stunning nose of kirsch, dried roses, cinnamon stick, sandalwood and Sichuan pepper with hints of lavender and Marmite toast. Medium-bodied, taut and very nely structured in the mouth, the perfumed red berry flavors are textured by soft, fine-grained tannins, and it finishes with great persistence." (The Wine Advocate, South Australia Report, August 2017)

92 points Huon Hooke: "Medium red colour with a tinge of purple. The bouquet is very smoky, earthy and savoury. Later, more floral and aromatic than its High Sands siblings. The tannins are quite firm. Savoury spice flavours. It's very dry and very different. A lighter, elegant style of grenache. It's not easy to see the value in this, a very left-field grenache, but I have to admit it grew on me." (The Real Review, July 2017)

92 points James Suckling: 'Fascinating aromas of tea, rose hip, rose petal and dried strawberry. Some peach undertones. Full body, firm and silky tannins and a juicy finish. Very intense and flavorful. Needs time to come together in the bottle. Better in 2019. Screw cap.' (jamessuckling.com, July 2017)


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Soil Type

Weathered deep sands

Tasting Notes


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