Syrah is the king of the Rhône and rides the wave of fashion, matching Cabernet Sauvignon in richness, structure and ageability. Its famous, historic home is the Northern Rhône; here its aromatic character includes black pepper, violets, plums, bacon, tar and leather. It is the origin of such great, powerful wines as Hermitage and Côte Rôtie. The other archetypal Syrah hails from Australia where it is called Shiraz and is much prized in warm regions such as Barossa. Here the aromas become more chocolaty with dark, ripe, sweet and spicy flavours. Producers usually align the style of their wine to one of these two archetypes and label them accordingly as either “Syrah” or “Shiraz”.
Syrah is a vigorous grape variety with a short ripening period making the window for optimum harvesting rather fine. Its berries are small and dark and tend to shrivel once over ripeness has been reached. Syrah is widely grown across the world in varying climates. In France it is increasingly used in Provence and the Languedoc alongside other Rhône varieties such as Grenache and Mourvèdre. Spain is in the midst of Syrah fever and in the New World, it has found success in South Africa, Argentina and Washington State.
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- 2015 Château FontarècheCuvée Pierre Mignard Corbières0.75l Red€6.59 €5.45Made by Arnaud de Lamy, previously a director of Château La Conseillante in Pomerol, at his historic family estate. A dark purple-ruby colour with a spicy, lighlty oaked nose showing aromas of blackberries and prunes. The palate is round, supple and full of character. The terroir of Corbières is well-suited to the classic Rhône varieties - such as Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Grenache which are very prettily blended in this wine.
- 2016 Château FontarècheCuvée Pierre Mignard Corbières0.75l Red€6.80 €5.62This good value Corbières has become a mainstay of our selection. It is made by Arnaud de Lamy, previously a director of Château La Conseillante in Pomerol, at his historic family estate. The wine has a dark, intense colour, good plummy nose with touches of cedar, spice and plums. On the palate the wine has flavours of bitter cherries, sloes and spice. Good Rhône flavours predominate on the finish. An easy wine for current drinking to serve with stews, paté and other meat dishes.
- 2015 Réserve PasserelMontpeyroux0.75l Red€7.20 €5.95A well-known appellation, the village of Montpeyroux was a famous 14th century fortress and the summer residence of the bishops of Montpellier. Its wines were well known for their rich character. Here in the Hérault the climate is sunny and dry with stony soils of limestone, garrigue and pebbles and the Syrah grape grows well alongside Grenache and Carignan. The grapes are given a long maceration to bring out the fruity flavours. The wine has a dark, pretty purple colour, a fresh nose with smoky, autumn fruit flavours, floral notes of violets and iris and more spicy, earthy flavours on the palate. The Syrah grape dominates here and there is a long, perfumed finish. Drink this wine with game, roast meats and cheeses. Drink : now - 2018.
- 2014 Château La PagèzeLa Clape0.75l Red€7.34 €6.07We have just discovered this wine in the La Clape appellation in the Languedoc region of southern France. La Clape has a good reputation owing to its beautiful landscape and the quality of its wines. Located near the coast on the edge of the limestone plateau, Château La Pageze benefits from an ideal exposure as it faces eastwards where the sun rises above the Mediterranean Sea. Made from a typical blend of Syrah-Grenache-Mourvèdre grapes and cold macerated before fermentation, the wine is intense, spicy and fruity with an attractive length in the mouth recalling aromas of garrigue and pine trees. Serve slightly chilled to accompany pizza, pasta, rice dishes and cheese for easy entertaining.
- Côtes du Rhône Villages0.75l RedBio€9.20 €7.60One of the great domaines of the Rhone making authentic and full-bodied, bio wines. Like the famous Château La Nerthe, the estate is managed by Alain Dugas and is magnificently situated in Sérignan, in the north of Orange. It is predominantly planted with Grenache with smaller quantities of Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Carignan vines which are on average 40 years old. This vintage has already amassed a slew of medals and awards and is noted for its intense, complex nose which has toasty aromas, sweet spice and concentrated red fruit. The palate is very harmonious, round, fresh and velvety-smooth. Ready to drink now. A perfect match for game.
- Syrah Mâcon Lugny0.75l Red€9.60 €7.93The grapes for this magnificently juicy and ripe Syrah come from several locations ; a declassified vineyard near St. Joseph in the northern Rhône, parcels in the southern Rhone area of Vinsobres and from the Ardèche. 5% of Viognier is addded to the blend to give aromatic elegance to the wine. Made by Nicolas Jaboulet, this is a round, warm, yet fresh wine with lots of rich, grapey fruit, spices and power. A great wine for every day gatherings with a good pedigree.
- 2015 Château ValcombeEpicure Rouge Ventoux0.75l RedBio€10.70 €8.84Luc Guénard is very proud of the 2015 vintage and especially the expression of the Grenache fruit which is evident in the bright, juicy fruit and white flower aromas. There is great purity and balance here and Luc’s natural winemaking is leading to less and less treatments and use of sulphur. We love this wine for its natural, fresh flavours and its ripe fruit, brimming with character and richness. Produced from vines that are more than 55 years old, grown on the southern slopes of Mount Ventoux but facing north-west and cooled by constant breezes, this wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Carignan and 15% Syrah. Excellent value, this organic wine just keeps getting better and better.
- 2014 Château ValcombeEpicure Rouge Ventoux0.75l RedBio€10.70 €8.84We love this wine for its pure, fresh flavours and its ripe fruit, brimming with character and richness. Produced from vines that are more than 55 years old, grown on the southern slopes of Mount Ventoux but facing north-west and cooled by constant breezes, this wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Carignan and 15% Syrah. Grapes. It combines lovely plummy, briar fruit with spicy notes of black pepper, liquorice and cloves. At the center of this wine, there is excellent concentration, purity and depth which leads to a satisfying, rich finish. Excellent value, this organic wine, using barely any sulphur, just keeps getting better and better.
- 2016 Château La PagèzeLa Clape0.75l Red€11.35 €9.38In the well-known La Clape appellation of Languedoc-Rousillon in the south of France, Château La Pagèze makes delicious, fruity, easy drinking wines with good acidity and lovely balance. The château is located on a limestone plateau by the Mediterranean sea facing the rising sun. The wines are made by the Chamayrac family who grow the Syrah and Grenache grapes used in this wine on the limestone slopes. Aged for 9-12 months in French oak barrels the wine has a very dark plum colour, good intensity, ripe, fresh berry fruit flavours, a touch of sweetness from the oak and an attractive spicy finish. This is an easy drinking wine for barbeques and parties.