This article first appeared in QANTAS Inflight Wine Guide, 2012
Jeffrey Grosset does nothing by halves. When he planted cabernet sauvignon he removed eleven
truckloads of boulders from a stark, wind-swept hilltop, the highest site in the Clare Valley, before
drilling holes in solid rock to anchor trellis posts.
It’s hardly the easy way to grow grapes, but to the Clare Valley’s most famous winemaker, that’s
not the point. Jeffrey Grosset has spent thirty-two vintages honing his Grosset wines to ever-finer
molecular precision, forever striving to capture in articulate detail the nuances of some of the most
expressive vineyards in the Clare Valley and Adelaide Hills.
Grosset has long been upheld as the king of Australian riesling, thanks to his breathtakingly pristine
Polish Hill and deeply mineral Springvale rieslings, but in recent times his reign has extended as
each of his red and white wines from the Clare Valley and Adelaide Hills have come to represent
benchmarks in their own right.
In this pursuit, Grosset’s immensely disciplined focus and fanatical attention to each tiny detail in
the vineyard and winery have set a standard aspired to by many winemakers across Australia. His
is one of the sharpest winemaking intellects in the country, with the strength of conviction and
adventurous sense of innovation to challenge accepted practice on a daily basis. Grosset had the
courageous daring to harvest his thirtieth season earlier than any other, capturing some of the most
exquisite Clare riesling of the 2010 vintage.
Grosset’s bravest gamble was his launch into screw caps, instrumental in a small group that led the
Clare Valley to introduce the closure in 2000. His example proved to be highly influential, quickly
inspiring other premium producers to follow, not only in Australia but also in New Zealand, Germany
Grosset’s dedication has been unremitting over thirty-two vintages, and if the adage that a
winemaker is only as successful as his or her most recent vintage holds true, his place among
Australia’s most revered winemakers is as secure as the bedrock of his cabernet vines.
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