With Richard Slater & Grant Foulkes
2015 E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône
14%, Southern Rhone, France
Away to sunny southern France for this consistently respectable blend of Shiraz and Grenache – plus a splash of Mourvedre (Mataro), -made with careful fruit selection by Guigal’s quality wine-making team. This blend is now common in McLaren Vale, and can be artfully assembled, not just from “leftovers”.
The wine suits Australian drinkers – awash with ripe blackberry flavours; bright and fresh where the soft palate has fine talcy tannins that sneak up. It offers a rich savoury (not earthy) profile, and a pronounced twist of dried herbs and spices. It’s just the ticket for a winter night – casseroles, stuffed peppers, or grilled meats appeal. Unlike most “cheap Euro” wines , this fault-free example owns charm, and integrity yet is very widely available for a modest price (corkscrew needed)!
Conclusion – definitely worth a foreign detour, with a pleasurable outcome guaranteed.
2017 Harcourt Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
13.5%, Harcourt Valley Victoria
On a beautiful, sunny, still Autumn day, my wife and I found ourselves at Harcourt Valley Winery amongst the yellow vine leaves which were yet to fall.
At the cellar door, we were greeted by Barbara who was more than happy to run us through the whole kit and kaboodle, ginger beer included. While every sample delighted, we both agreed, the cab sav was the stand out.
Medium bodied, yet full of flavour, expect black forest berries with hints of cocoa and coffee beans. Low tannins and a slippery mouth feel allow for a lifted aniseed finish.
Overall, it’s fruity and savoury characteristics were so well balanced, I couldn’t help but feel the grapes were picked at just the right time.
Conclusion – Pair with pan-fried lamb chops on a bed of rocket pine nut salad.