Wonderful, wonderful wine from the Mediterranean south of France. Rich in flavour, but imbued with great freshness and joie de vivre. Think handfuls of liberally scattered violet petals, boysenberry jam and vanilla beans. It’s fruity and exotic at the start, coming to a firework finish of Black Forest gateau. Medium-bodied, crunchy and drying, it’s awesome with food or by itself. Just approach each glassful with the same lust for life and you’ll be very well rewarded. And if you think I’m waxing a bit lyrical here, I’d counter that with, “Who can’t get all poetic about delicious French wine?”
It’s cool, we get it, you want to know absolutely everything about this wine. Well here you go, go nuts.
- Rhone Valley
- Alcohol by Vol.
- Bottle Vol
- Blend Info
- 70% Grenache, 30% Syrah
- Serving Temp.
The Rhône Valley is a dichotomous beast. The North is ruled by Syrah (=Shiraz), with or without a touch of Viognier for perfume, while in the South you'll find all matter of blends such as those of Chateauneuf du Pape (about thirteen varieties in these on average, at last count...) and the origins of the GSM (heard of Côtes du Rhône?). The Northern Rhône is Australia's ultimate sparring partner in the 'we say Shiraz, you say Syrah' fencing match. With such famous names as Côtes-Rôtie, Gigondas and Crozes-Hermitage (remember when Grange was called Hermitage...?), you can bet your bottom dollar - and the few hundred that go with it - that you'll need to be ticking off a few of the better ones before you kick it. Don't discount the whites though. Some of the finest whites you'll ever try come from Condrieu (the most sensual Viognier you'll try, at a price), and the lesser (in cost, at least) blends, often based on Grenache Blanc or Viognier. And watch out for dry, Rhône rose - it's become so popular that the industry bodies are warning the region not to over-produce. Look out Kiwi Sav Blanc!
The rules are there ain’t no rules, but here are some foods we think will work pretty well with this wine...
Traditional roast lamb
- 2kg leg of lamb, fat trimmed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1.5kg chat potatoes
- Basic gravy (makes 2 to 2 1/2 cups):
- 2 cups beef stock
- 3/4 cup red wine
- 2 1/2 tablespoons plain flour
- Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Lightly grease roasting pan. Place lamb in pan. Combine oil, rosemary and garlic in a bowl. Rub half the oil mixture over lamb. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Roast lamb, basting with remaining oil mixture every 20 minutes, for 1 hour 15 minutes for medium or until cooked to your liking. Add potatoes to pan for last 40 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.
- Remove lamb from oven. Cover loosely with foil. Stand for 10 minutes. Carve. Serve with potatoes.
- Basic Gravy: Transfer meat (and any vegetables) to a plate to rest. Combine stock and wine in a jug. Skim fat from roasting pan, leaving 1 1/2 tablespoons pan juices and fat in pan. Place pan over high heat. Add flour. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture bubbles and becomes golden. Add juices from resting meat. Slowly add stock mixture to pan, stirring constantly. Cook, scraping pan, for 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened.
The wines we remember are about the moments. The people, the places. That’s life. Here are some ideas...