A blend of Grenache and Syrah from four villages in the heart of the Cotes du Rhone. This is a set away from home base for this Hermitage specialist but it is one that I am grateful for. This wine drinks like a Syrah, it is earthy, meaty and dark fruited with the perfume being in the violets and black currants. The wine is on the lighter side with lots of length. This wine is for drinking over the next few years. Try it with some pepper steak from the BBQ.
The Chave family have been growing grapes on the hill of Hermitage since 1481. The family own parcels in a most of the famous lieu dits of Hermitage. Each year they make some of if not the best wines of Hermitage. The Selection range is the negociant arm of the Chave family and allow for more quantity to be made and therefore more affordable wines. No quality is sacrificed though, this still has to carry the Chave name after all.
Rhone Valley – One of the great wine regions in the world. Situated along the Rhone river in South East France there is a distinct divide between the Syrah dominant North where the Mistral wind cools and regulates the temperature and the hot lands in the South where Grenache is at its peak. The region produces everything from easy going quaffers to wines that demand long term cellaring. Whites can be outstanding such as Viognier made in Condrieu and Rosé makes a fair impression too.
Cotes-du-Rhone – The generic appellation of the Rhone Valley. It can produce white, rosé or red wines. They are often blends of a few of the local wines. Quality can range from very low to some that rival the best wines the region. Knowing the good producers is the key to picking a good wine from this appellation.
Grenache/Garnacha – 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.
Shiraz/Syrah – A bit of a chameleon, Shiraz can change how it looks depending on terroir and/or wine maker 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.