Updated: Apr 14
In the wonderful days of my youth, I would eagerly wait for the ‘Top 40 Hits’ radio program on Sunday afternoons. When I got my bright red stereo cassette player, I would record the full show, and listen to the songs over and over again during the week.
This memory came back to me today, when I discovered that this week’s wine is from an area in northern Rhone Valley that used to be called ‘Vin de Mauves’ – basically, ‘the place of purple wines', maybe because of the dark, inky color of Syrah, the local grape. I immediately started to hear Prince singing “Purple Wine” in my head, and that's how I ended up listening to hits of the 80's while writing this email.
But, back to the wines...
Vignobles Verzier Collines Rhodaniennes Syrah 2018 ($23) is from a family winery that has small lots across many of the appellations of the Rhone Valley, all the way up to the famed Cote Rotie. Their Syrah, from just outside Saint Joseph (250m to be precise), is just the most alluring red (or ‘purple’) wine. It is full of spice and ripe peppery fruit, and it slips down so easily it just makes you want to do a little dance.
Aging this in tank rather than barrel allows the fruit to really surface and creates a wine you can enjoy while still young. At the same time, it has great character, as the vines sink their roots into granite and schist, which gives the fruit some structure to hang onto. I found myself sipping this while nibbling Manchego cheese topped with spicy redcurrant jelly (as I hummed along to Prince, of course). It would also be great with a chicken casserole or lamb and lentils - both would really harmonize with the fruit, spices, and earthiness of the Syrah.
NEW! Wine Friends Mix Cases – Monthly Selections
With many of you regularly asking us to select your wines, it came to mind that it might be helpful to offer a 12-bottle selection each month to alleviate some of the pressure of choosing and help you explore some of the exciting wines we’re drinking (think of it like the Wine Friends top charts). To that end, we have put together the first official Wine Friends Mix Case – a wonderful selection of wines from Spain, Austria, Italy and France, including the Basque region. It will see anyone through a couple good weeks of titillating experiences.
Drinking tip: For the best experience, try the Austrian wines while wearing your Lederhosen.
APRIL MIX CASE
2x Bogehas Cava ($18) – These bubbles, made exactly the same way as a French Champagne at 1/3 of the price, are just thing to lift the spirits.
2x Txakolina ($18) – Roll out the shellfish and seafood for this zesty fresh and vivacious white wine from the Basque region.
2x Moric Hausmarke ($32) – a cunning blend of Chardonnay and Gruner Veltliner made by one of our favorite young winemakers who is taking Austrian wines to a whole new level.
2x Fabio Motta Pieve ($29) – Pizza, Spaghetti, or Calzone, this is a quintessential Italian wine from Tuscany that will bring your table to life.
2x Goisot Les Mazelots ($46) – If you want sexy, this wine is it. Pinot Noir as it should be; more appealing that the Sirens calling to Odysseus.
2x Chateau Leroy Beauval ($30) – A wine of amazing quality from Bordeaux. Merlot and Cabernet Franc blend. Steak Frites anyone?
Well, the knees are getting a little chilly, so I have to go and put the lederhosen back in the closet and get something warmer on.