I know that this is brazen cheating, but Victor has already done so with his notes on a Catalonian tasting, so I am just following his example. (Perhaps Victor shares the view that modern Spanish wine-making is New World in spirit
As it happens the food on the table so far this week has be ideal for pairing with Rhône rangers and those in my cellar are the “real thing” or from close by in Languedoc/Roussillon. The first two come from stars in their respective appellations but the third comes from an “estate” about which I can find nothing; perhaps simply the supermarket’s brand name for a wine sourced from the Tautavel co-op. So here goes.Crozes-Hermitage 2001 – Alain Graillot
– Alc.13% - (€17 for 2010) -100% Syrah. Can Crozes come better than from Graillot? Lovely bouquet of sour/sweet cherry laced with steel and hints of grilled meat. Medium bodied linear shaped palate with fine focus, still bright fruit, aromas similar to the bouquet, minerals, lively acidity, fine grip and good tannic support for the finish. This wine is almost Burgundian in its elegance and purity. Graillot is a magician. 17/20 QPR.Côtes du Rhône Terre de Galets 2010 – Domaine Richaud, Cairanne
– Alc.14% - (€14), made from 42% Grenache, 34% Carignan, 24% Syrah. Marcel Richaud is another magician. In addition to the generous body, bright and quite rich sweet fruit, spice and tangy acidity which makes 2010 CDRs and Villages from estates like Réméjeanne and Fenouillet so delicious, he gets a seamless focus and elegance which is rare in the Southern Rhône valley; 16.5/20.
Richaud’s Cairanne cuvées are similar, but fuller and more complex, and rival those, more powerful, of Oratoire St.Martin for the title of the best in that excellent village. Côtes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel 2010 – Mas Jaume
– Alc.13.5% - (<€4), made from Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault and Mourvèdre. One can hardly do better at this price point. Much simpler than the Richaud CDR, it seems nevertheless thoroughly honest in its bright and savoury red and dark fruit flavours with hints of blackberry, touches of garrigue though less than in 2009, good acidity and supple tannins; 15/20 QPR!!
To return to the spirit of this thread, I ask how these compare with the Aussie Rhône rangers which I have recently opened. For the Syrah/Shiraz, there is no contest for me between the bright elegance of the Graillot and the spineless sweet fruit of the Shaw & Smith. Honours are much more even between the Richaud CDR and the d’Arenberg Shriaz/Grenache with greater elegance on the former and perhaps more generosity on the latter. As for the say <€5 price point, I haven’t dared to pick up any New World offering, so much do I fear oaky goop.