A four-way Corsican blend of Grenache and Syrah with local Nielluccio and Sciacarello, this is savoury-sweet and complex with a hint of the unshaven rusticity that’s often a feature of the local wines. An unusual French wine that speaks with an Italian accent.
Red Varietal: Syrah/Shiraz
2013 Le Grand Cros, L'Esprit de Provence, Côtes de Provence, Provence( £11.49, 13.5%, Noel Young Wines )
A pale coloured Provençal blend of Syrah and Grenache that’s just the thing for summer, this has more weight and concentration than many examples of an increasingly popular style. Raspberry fruit, bright acidity and a whiff of Mediterranean herbs all add to the sense of balance here.
2012 David Reynaud, Beaumont, Crozes-Hermitage, Rhône Valley( N/A, 12.5%, Liberty Wines )
A Crozes-Hermitage under screwcap? You’d better believe it. David Reynaud’s wines are perfumed as it is, and the new clsoure should make sure that’s always the case. There’s no reduction here – sometimes a problem under screwcap for Syrah – just lots of bramble and blackberry fruit. Spicy, bright and mineral with delightful freshness.
2012 Fowles Wine, Are You Game? Shiraz, Victoria( N/A, 13.7%, Enotria & Coe )
Ignore the nudge nudge, wink wink name of this wine (it’s only a bit of fun anyway) and concentrate, instead, on what’s in the glass. Violets, bramble and some gentle spices, with a touch of cracked pepper make this a refreshing, easy drinking red. A dash of Tempranillo adds extra interest here.
2012 Innocent Bystander Syrah, Yarra Valley, Victoria( N/A, 13%, Liberty Wines )
Phil Sexton’s Yarra Valley winery is one of the most innovative in the region. It’s got a lot of tourist appeal, but it’s wines are deadly serious, too. This is a typically elegant, refined red, with fine-grained tannins, subtle pepper spice and plush raspberry and blueberry flavours and a minerally, refreshing finish.
2010 McGuigan, Hand Made Shiraz, Langhorne Creek, South Australia( £25, 14.5%, Tesco Wine Online )
A dense, inky, youthful Aussie Shiraz from the increasingly impressive Langhorne Creek region. Plush, lush, ripe and aromatic, it’s rich and supple, with mocha oak, smooth blackberry and vanilla cream flavours and a firm backbone of tannin.
2011 Mas Cal Demoura, L'Infidèle, Languedoc-Roussillon( £19.90, 14%, Cambridge Wine Merchants, I'Anson Wines )
A blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Cinsault from one of the best terroirs in the Languedoc region of southern France, this is a very stylish wine with a minty edge to it. Smooth, subtle and complex, with refined tannins, sweet blackberry and bramble fruit, subtle oak and refreshing acidity. Balanced, nuanced winemaking.
2013 Thistledown, Thorny Devil, Grenache, Barossa Valley, South Australia( £15.99, 15% )
Juicy, easy drinking Barossa Grenache that carries its alcohol lightly. The oak is well handled here on this wine overseen by Masters of Wine, Giles Cooke and Fergal Tynan. Raspberry and wild strawberry fruit, a touch of oak and a ripe, satisfying finish. Try it chilled for maximum pleasure.
2011 Cambridge Road Syrah, Martinborough( POA, 12.5, Les Caves de Pyrene )
“Martinborough in a cool year on a razor’s edge,” is how Lance Redgwell describes the growing season that produced this impressive Syrah from the southern end of New Zealand’s South Island. It’s got the classic, cool climate notes of black pepper and smoked meat, combined with notes of incense, iodine and subtle oak. Spicy and intense, yet refreshing at the same time, it’s the kind of wine that makes you wonder why the Kiwis don’t plant more Syrah.
2011 Cambridge Road Dovetail Field Blend, Martinborough( POA, 13%, Les Caves de Pyrene )
There aren’t many wineries in the world that have successfully combined Pinot Noir with Syrah, but this biodynamic blend is so successful that I wish more people would follow suit. Pinot tames the peppery, iodine-like notes of Martinborough Syrah, adding a softer, more “feminine” touch. The oak is very understated, while the flavours of clove spice, red fruits and a hint of forest floor revolve around a core of bright acidity. Unusual, but very tasty indeed.
2012 Mas Amiel, N Vers le Nord, Maury Sec, Languedoc Roussillon( POA, 14% )
I was sent this wine direct from France, so I don’t have a UK stockist for it, but it surely won’t be long before someone imports it, because it’s one of the best red wines I’ve ever had from the Roussillon region. Made from a combination of Grenace and Syrah, grown on three different soil types, it’s a marvel. Deeply coloured, concentrated, yet not over-ripe or pruney in the least (something that’s not true of a lot of dry Maury reds) it’s mineral and tangy, with a chalky undertone and flavours of balckberry, plum and sweet Asian spices. A remarkable red wine.
2011 Los Amigos, Rogue Vine, Super Itata, Itata Valley( POA, 13.1% )
If its name is anything to go by, this is the top of the range red from Leonardo Erazo’s Itata operation. It’s a typicaly harmonious blend of Syrah, Malbec and Carignan, made in homeopathic quantities. Light, fresh and focused, it’s another outstanding red with savoury tannins, tangy acidity and a beguiling combination of flavours: clove, pepper, plum, black cherry and graphite. Complex winemaking of a high order.