Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Grenache and Syrah combine beautifully in this Côtes du Rhone

Grenache and Syrah combine beautifully

in this Côtes du Rhone 


Chateau de Bastet “Terram” Côtes du Rhône (AOP) 2020, 14%, 

RRP €16.00 Stockists include:  Ardkeen, Waterford / Connemara Hamper, Clifden / Little Green Grocker, Kilkenny / Quay Co-Op, Cork / Olive Branch, Clonakilty / The Vintry, Dublin / Wunderkaffee, Farran, Cork / Mary Pawle Wine Online

Organic and biodynamic; no herbicides, pesticides here

This Côtes du Rhone is made from a blend of Grenache and Syrah. The vineyard is situated close to Avignon and has been certified biodynamic for about 20 years. That’s the info from importer Mary Pawle, who adds: "I've been importing the  biodynamic wines from Chateau de Bastet for over 20 years. Next generation now with daughter Julie and her husband (Nicolas)."

Colour is dark cherry. Aromas of crushed jammy fruit, cherry and blackberry. The fruit is prominent and fresh on the palate, cherry and spice together along with soft tannins. And there’s a fresh acidity also but well balanced for sure. Very accessible and clean (no herbicides, no pesticides here). It is both organic and biodynamic and the blend is 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah. 

Grenache’s qualities enhance fruitiness, warmth and body while Syrah can bring a hint of spice, as well as depth in colour and strength to the wine enabling it to age well.

Food pairings suggested by the producers are cold cuts, barbecued meat or small goat's cheeses and also as an aperitif. In general, it goes well with beef, game or lamb. Serve at 14 to 16 degrees.

Very Highly Recommended.


Check my growing list of top wines for 2023


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Set in the heart of the prestigious Côtes du Rhône appellation (that came into being officially in 1937), the story of Château de Bastet is one of family traditions and a profound love of this land, a passion reflected in the wines made here.   “This precious ecological balance has been fine-tuned through the ages: the vines in a single, unbroken plot at the centre, with nature given free rein over the rest of the estate.”

Pope and Parker. And, in between, the Mistral

The shell of the Papal holiday palace
 remains after wartime bombing

Today, Rhone wine is one of the most popular wines in the world. It is known for its rich flavours and complex aromas.

Wine-loving France Pope Clement V moved the papacy from Rome to Avignon in 1309. Most of the wine drunk in the temporary papal palace (they also had a summer palace called Chateauneuf du Pape) was from the local area and so the fashion for Rhone wine began in blessed earnest.

The Rhone was firmly among the most respected wines in France when infallibility of another kind arrived in the 1980s. Robert Parker, the American wine guru, "intervened". He just loved the naturally ripe style and gave them very high scores and his many international "followers" took his points (mostly in the 90s) as gospel.

In between Pope and Parker, there was the wind of 1956, perhaps even more influential than the famous pair. That year, the infamous Mistral battered the region for three weeks and contributed to the temperature dropping to minus 15 degrees. The olive trees, then the big crop in the area, suffered badly but the vines resisted so well that a majority of farmers turned to vine cultivation.

Over 20 grape varieties are covered by the regulations governing the Côtes du Rhones AOC. The two used here, Grenache and Syrah, are well known, but I’ve never seen varieties such as Black Counoise, Black Muscardin, Black Camarèse (aka Vaccarèse), Black Picpoul, Black Terret in wines that reach these shores. 

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