A Distinctive Rhone Double by Mas Théo
Mas Théo “Griffon” Grignan-les-Adhémar (AOP) 2014, 14%
€22.95 Taste in Castletownbere; Manning’s Emporium, Ballylickey; The Little Green Grocer in Kilkenny; Mary Pawle.
This is a Rhone GSM, with the emphasis very much on the Syrah, with its forward flavour and boldness, and which accounts for 90% of the blend while Grenache has 7%, leaving three for the Mourvedre.
The nose of this dark ruby wine is rich, ripe red fruits and a whiff of spice. The aromatic power continues into the flavours on the palate and the spice is not shy either. Complex and robust, full bodied with soft tannins, it is balanced. Harmonious to the long finish with notes of vanilla. Quite a mouthful. Two thirds of the wine has spent 12 months in barrels. This outstanding combination of strong character and smoothness is Very Highly Recommended.
The label tells us that the best serving temperature is 16 degrees (you’ll also see 14 mentioned elsewhere on their social media) and suggests matching with match with lamb tagine, mushroom tournedos, lamb puff pastry, game (deer, venison), buffalo with foie gras sauce, boar stew…
You, like me, may be wondering about the name of the wine. Griffon, for me, is a legendary creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion that you often see on religious buildings. There is also a breed of dog, the most popular of which seems to be the Brussels Griffon. But the griffon on our bottle is of a humbler origin, merely “a tool used to work the land to eliminate weeds but also to aerate and invigorate the life of the soil”.
Mas Théo is located in the north of the southern Rhone, quite close to the town of Montelimar (the nougat capital of France) and here they grow typical Rhone grapes.
|Les Caves Cathedrales, huge cavernous caves that were formerly used for quarrying stone, now contain the Mas Théo winery. Pic via Mary Pawle Wines|
Mas Théo Gemeaux Vin de France 2017, 13.0%
€18.50 Taste in Castletownbere; Manning’s Emporium, Ballylickey; The Little Green Grocer in Kilkenny; Mary Pawle.
This “delicious and crunchy” wine is a blend of Carignan (60%) and Mourvedre (40), is organic and biodynamic. Recommended serving temperature is 12%.
It has a dark red colour and you’ll find dark berries and hints of the garrigue (local scrubland) in the aromas. It’s nice and smooth on the palate, has excellent acidity, is medium to full bodied, tannins are smooth and there’s a good finish. Highly Recommended.
Planted among fields of lavender and thyme or olive groves, on land long famous for its truffles, the vines in Mas Théo soak up the scents and aromas distilled by the generous sun of the Drôme provençale.
Pairing suggestions, obviously from the French side, are snails with parsley, ostrich fillet with morel sauce, couscous with lamb, lamb pie, and steak with Roquefort cheese.
Staying local, it should go well with duck, roast pork shoulder and the upcoming turkey, also Gouda style cheese (Ballinrostig, Coolea and Hegarty’s Templegall). And Steak with Cashel Blue, pourquoi pas?