A stunning Lirac which is about an equal blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. It shows raspberries, plums, pepper, a meaty quality, sweet spices, aniseed and a fair undercurrent of savouriness. The fruit richness is evident immediately with the tannins and savoury characters kicking in on subsequent sips. It would mellow out with 5 years or so in the bottle but it’s pretty good going right now. This wine needs some bold flavours to match. Roast beef or mature cheddar, for example, would be wonderful.
Two brothers who bottled their first Chateauneuf du Pape in 1997. They follow biodynamic principles in the vineyard with low cropping to get the best result. De-stemming, long macerations, warm ferments and indigenous yeasts are favoured in the winery. They make modern and clean wines from the Southern Rhone that still retain the flavour and spirit of the appellation. They are delicious too. The rosé and ‘lessers’ appellations are great value and the Chateauneuf wines will rival the greats. Reine des Bois is their reserve cuvee and Dame Rousse their normal wines.
Often overlooked for more well-known neighbours but for one-tenth, the price Lirac is often a good substitute for Chateauneuf. Lirac wines often don’t have the stuffing for long aging like some of its cousins but makes up for it in drink-now appeal and value.
Spain’s gift to the world. We know it as Grenache and I think everyone has a soft spot for it in some way. Almost too exuberant in expressing its sweet red fruits and high alcohol, it often needs a little bit of other wines to add moderation, structure and depth. Much like Abbott and Costello. Despite this, the wines of Priorat, Chateauneuf du Pape, Rioja and Aussie GSMs have an amazing ability to age for the long-term.
A bit of a chameleon, Shiraz can change how it looks depending on terroir and/or winemaker influence. The Syrah-based wines of Northern Rhone are dry and austere while the Shiraz of Barossa is rich and fleshy. A variety that lends itself to long aging but can be drunk at any time of its evolution.
Also known as Mourvedre in France and Mataro in the new world. It is known for making a muscular, tannic, meaty, savoury wine. It is often the backbone of a blend but in places like Alicante, Jumilla and Yecla it is the major if not only variety in the red wine. Aging can vary depending on winemaker influence.