Jingle Bell Rhone. Two for the red stocking

Jingle Bell Rhone
Two for the red stocking
Fountain in memory of a local troubadour
at the entrance to Vacqueyras

Remy Ferbras Vacqueyras 2013 (Rhone, France), 13.5%, €10.00 SuperValu.
Colour is ruby red and cherries stand out in the inviting mix of aromas. There is a great balance between lively fruit and spices plus a hint of liquorice, impressive blend, full bodied and rounded and a good bottle to have on your table at this time of year. Very Highly Recommended.

Regulations governing the AOC allow the use of up to 22 grape varieties but the three main ones in Vacqueyras rouge are Grenache (at least 50%), Syrah and Mourvedre, hence the term GSM wine,often tossed about by experts to the confusion of us amateurs.

Vacqueyras is one of eight villages in the Southern Rhone that has its own name as the AOC name. The others are Rasteau, Vinsobres, Gigondas, Beaumes de Venise, Lirac, Tavel and Chateauneuf-du-Pape and all eight are regarded as Crus.

The village itself is small and tree lined. Indeed, when I called there a few years back, the canopy of leaves had the centre in deep shade in the early afternoon. Looked a bit unreal.

Vines in the Southern Rhone

Chateau Goudray, Seguret Cotes du Rhone Villages 2012, 15%, €10.00 SuperValu
This is another of the Rhone’s GSM wines (we’re learning fast!). Minimum ABV for Seguret is 12.5% so this is comfortably above that! Hillside Seguret, like Vacqueyras, is a village in the Southern Rhone but, unlike its neighbour, is not allowed to go solo on the label. It can only append its name to the more general Cotes du Rhone Village labels, a step down on going solo but a step up on the basic Cotes du Rhone.

This too has an inviting fruity aroma and a ruby colour. Another very handy one for the Christmas, it is fruity, spicier than the Vacqueyras, well rounded, well balanced (no hint of that higher alcohol), dry, and with a decent finish. Could be an interesting match-up with that new local spiced buffalo by Eoin O'Mahony in the English Market. Again, Very Highly Recommended.

The World Atlas of Wine says that Seguet develops quickly. You've been warned!