Page 12 - PIC Magazine Autumn Issue 16
P. 12

     Robust Rhone
Diana Lyalle, Clinical Negligence Lawyer turned Wine Tasting Events Host at The Cellar Under the Stairs and Wine Specialist for Harvey Nichols provides recommendations on warming red wines for the autumn.
f ever there was a “go to” red vino in our household, which reliably delivers not only standalone stress relief in a glass, but also
a satisfying match for most of what emerges
from our kitchen*, it has to be Côtes du Rhône. These spicy blends from Grenache Noir and Syrah from sunny south-east France are probably the most reliable red wines in quality terms as well as offering outstanding value for money.
If you fancy an upgrade, look for Côtes du Rhône Villages,
or better still CDR Villages with a named village on the label (these villages are officially recognised as being of superior quality and aspire to be promoted to Cru level – which can and does happen, Cairanne being a recent example).
Job done for a swift raid of the supermarket.
But what if you crave something with more character?
Harvey Nichols own label Plan de Dieu Côtes du Rhône Villages 2017, available online for £14.50 or £87.00 for 6 (same bottle price but free delivery) is a stunner, as is the 2016 (old label) for £14.00. Restaurant guests who try it often grab some to take home, so it often sells out, which is vexing since we don’t
stock any Rhône alternatives at that price point.
So instead I recommend (and indeed buy for
myself) Quinta de Fonte Souto Florao Tinto
2017, which I adore, also for £14.50. It’s by port
dynasty Symingtons, who now also produce still
wines from the Portalegre sub-region of Alentejo in Portugal.
This one has a string of Portuguese varieties with Cab Sav and Syrah as well, and it has very similar qualities to a Rhône Red – sunny climate red and black fruits, oaky spices and bags of honest rustic charm.
Local independent wine merchants have been
discovered by many under lockdown as a reliable source
of interesting and well chosen wines, and most
have links to importers sourcing gorgeous wines
from family owned artisan producers. Brotte family
wines available from The Wine Shop Winscombe in North Somerset are
a case in point.
Here are links to
Style Red Wines
Through them I also discovered a tasty Cairanne provided for my Wine Rivers
of France course – if you don’t trust me, trust the eager students who ordered
it afterwards! If you look up Domaine
de la Présidente Cairanne on Wine Searcher it is only available in the USA – but I happen to know you can get it from Alan Wright at Clifton Cellars in Bristol via his online shop, Winedrop,
for £14.75.
For those looking for a trustworthy online wine merchant with contacts in the Rhône, look no further than Yapp Brothers, based in
Wiltshire. They have an excellent website, and have forged links to the best Rhône producers going back decades. They supply gems aplenty.
Get hold of their wine list which has lots of helpful information to guide your choice. What they don’t know
about the Rhône isn’t worth knowing.
Fancy exploring but have no time to shop around?
Why not let Joie de Vin do the work for you. They are a relatively new venture run by Tim North from Winchester who has a long back story as a French wine importer, now striking out in partnership with his wife Jill. I recently enjoyed their Favourite Southern Reds case of 6 wines for
£80, which has some Rhônes but also some Roussillon to mix things up, as well as a serious Corbières which is much more refined than most I have tried. Domaine Trilles “Initiation”, costing £15.95, is their best-selling
red, made from hand harvested old vines, described by the Wine Gang as having ripe raspberry and mulberry juiciness with dried herbs and pepper. Great with
sausages! You get detailed and accurate tasting notes (not just something made up to sell the wine) and free delivery if spending over £95 (they have an array of other cases to choose from as a top up!).
Whatever you choose, try to enjoy them a little below room temperature i.e. around 18˚C.
The alcohol is on the high side and may be
out of balance if the wine is too warm.
*Note – alas I have yet to find anything which could match,
or preferably obliterate, the taste (and stench) of The Husband’s attempt at replicating veal Milanese using an incinerated pork chop and a can of microwaved spaghetti hoops.
                  WINES GALORE
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