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31 July 2013

Rhône: "reds of the moment" (and a Beaujolais)

Here's a handful of blockbuster reds (and a more elegant one) worth talking about that have crossed my dinner table (well, four-legged brasserie style zinc and chrome structure) in recent times, in gratuitous celebration of Grenache perhaps. Picked from the shelves of Lidl ('wine cellar' range, so not in all stores), Marks & Spencer and independent merchant Hercules Wine Warehouse.

There's something in the stones
you know: from rasteau.com
2011 Ortas Tradition Cave de Rasteau (Grenache 70%, Syrah 20%, Mourvèdre 10% - 14.5% abv) - nice aromatic sweet Grenache fruit, liquorice and violet too; relatively 'light'/elegant for hot Rasteau country (vintage 2011) yet still has plenty of oomph, as you'd expect, with a touch of bite/grip vs attractive perfumed fruit and an earthier black olive side; ripe/spicy liquorice flavours with weighty yet tight finish and light bitter twist of tannin. €7.70 cellar door, £9.50 Hercules Wine Warehouse Kent (for the 2010).
2011 Vacqueyras (13.5% abv) - attractive ripe Grenache fruit on the nose, sweet berry and liquorice vs spicy earthy edges; firm yet rounded and powerful mouth-feel although tighter and less full-on on the finish than you'd expect perhaps (again 11 vintage, no bad thing though); well-balanced too with dry vs sweet profile and that smooth fruit hiding the alcohol. Maybe not the most super-dooper example, but fairly good value for £7.99 at Lidl.
2010 Domaine de la Curnière Vacqueyras Vignerons de Caractère (Grenache, Syrah - 15% abv) - the nose was a tad 'dirty' when I first opened it, but this smell had gone when I tried it again the second day. Bags of ripe sweet Grenache fruit for sure, spices and liquorice, earthy and savoury too and very punchy; the alcohol's a bit out of balance making the wine somewhat clunky and clumsy in the end, shame as it's got character, just like the winemakers! £11.99 M&S (I got it for less than a tenner though on offer about six months ago).
2011 Fleurie - appealing violet and grapey/cherry fruit, has a hint of grip vs soft fruit and refreshing acidity too; firm-ish and fresh palate vs soft sweet berry fruit, has fair depth too. Nice style, proper Beaujolais! £6.99 Lidl

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