We’re excited about this offer, our first mixed case, and a comparison of style from France and Australia. When we offer mixed cases, it will always be with a theme, so you can have a look at wines from across a region, country or a comparison of styles from different regions of the world.
This week it is Cotes du Rhone, or Grenache based wines, that are referred to as GSM’s (acronym for the blend Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre) here in Australia. We have chosen two producers that we think are lighting it up with Grenache and are great starting points for getting in to the style. You’ll receive three bottles of each in your case of six.
Firstly, from a producer based and made famous for their Chateauneuf du Pape, Domaine Charvin. Charvin are an incredible producer, with 20 hectares in and around Chateaneuf du Pape. They farm their vineyards organically, and take a very traditional approach in the cellar, trying to capture the power and elegance that the Southern Rhone can deliver. The effort goes in to managing vineyards well and not interfering in the cellar. Ageing is all in large, concrete tanks, with no oak influencing the wine.
The wine is ‘Domaine Charvin Cotes du Rhone Le Poutet 2017’. It is from a 15-hectare vineyard just to the North West of the Chateauneuf border. It’s 80% Grenache with the rest made up of Mourvedre, Carignan, Shiraz and local variety Vaccarese. The vine age averages 60 years old, some are 90 years, and the soils are sandy (Grenache looooves sand) with some clay and the famous Chateauneuf pebbles ‘galets roules’. Considerable vine age on Grenache can tone down any intense, wild, juicy fruit, and add a warm spice, earthy character and a more mellow feel.
Charvin expresses what we think is best about Grenache grown in the Southern Rhone. You get the dark sweet fruits and richness that the warm and dry region offers, but it is wrapped up with a pure, elegant frame. There is some dry herb, meaty character and aniseed that is common in the best wines of this region. It’s a full-bodied wine but with length and elegance.
The second wine is home grown and is a cracker. It is from a rising star of the wine-making scene, Robert Mack. We met with Rob earlier in the year after tasting some of his wines and hearing a bit of buzz. There is a lo-fi feel to Rob’s wines, unpretentious, generous, alluring and they all rate very high on the drink-ability scale. A lot of people agree, as Rob took out the 2018 Young Gun of Wine award.
Aphelion’s wines are made in extremely small quantities, as with the ‘Affinity’ GMS 2018 where only 300 dozen were made. The wine has less Grenache than the Charvin, dialing in at 45%, followed by almost even proportions of Mourvedre and Shiraz (there is a touch more Mourvedre, hence the M comes in before the S, resulting in GMS and not GSM).
The Grenache is from the renowned sub-region of McLaren Vale called Blewitt Springs in the northern tip of the region. Blewitt Springs is famous for its white sands that are beach like, though high on a hilltop kilometres from the surf. Reminder again, Grenache loves sand because of the open aromatics (think dried lavender) and silky red fruit the palate delivers. The Mourvedre and Shiraz here play a big role in this wine, providing serious substance with meat, leather and licorice coming in droves. Some black plums, pepper, bush herbs and cedar follow. It is a very complex wine, on the nose and the palate, and evolves over the hour or so that you enjoy it. There is no new oak, just old hogsheads barrels (300L).
Think classic McLaren Vale but with more personality, structure and earth driven flavours that complement the intense fruit.
We have chosen to put these together because they are wineries with a similar ethos and approach, though from regions in either hemisphere. Both regions are warm and dry, providing suitability for these varieties though you will see the uniqueness of the regions show through. More sun and coastal influence involved in the Aphelion delivering a darker, denser and more generous style; while the Charvin offers slightly more freshness, earth and minerality.
Both wines are made in a minimal sense and could carry some sediment. If drinking young, decant them 30 minutes before opening and let the wine settle. They will also both show excellently on day two if you don’t get through the bottle.
We hope you enjoy the wines and comparison. As always, let us know what you think, we’re enjoying hearing how you go with some of these newer bottles.
Tom & Dan