Sara’s Sommelier Selections – Feb 1, 2014
Amorous Reds for Valentine’s Day
It’s never too soon to start planning for that special day that means more to most partners then they are willing to admit.
My advice: treat your lovely to a blind tasting of some of the most exotic reds of this release. Or, plan a menu around these wines with aphrodisiac pairings.
And you’ve guessed it – all of the pairings this week have titillating appeal and are meant to result in an evening best spent at home.
Chapel Hill Bush Vine Grenache 2011
Mclaren Vale, South Australia ($26.95)
A completely seductive and compelling offer from the old bush vines of Australia’s founding wine region – McLaren Vale. Bush vines are generally older vines that were never trellised (put on wires) and grow almost wild in bush like formations. Although the wine may be named after the 19th century chapel turned parish school that now houses the winery and gallery, it is anything but pious – offering a sinful blend of exotic spice and rich fruit.
Food match: Pulled pork with mole sauce
Schild Estate Old Bush Vine Grenache/Mourvèdre/Shiraz 2011
Barossa, South Australia ($19.95)
Since I’m in a bush vine state of mind, here is another lovely example that can make for an interesting comparative tasting with the last. Although largely made up of juicy grenache, it is blended with shiraz and mourvedre, a traditional southern Rhône combination that is known in Australia as a GSM. Here is a terrific value for just under $20 that wowed me at first sip.
Food match: Beef tenderloin with vanilla-soy sauce
Devil’s Corner Pinot Noir 2012
Tamar Ridge, Tasmania, Australia ($23.95)
This release features an impressive selection on Oceanic wines and this devilish pinot noir offers a wickedly delectable from cherry to pepper with just right amount of restraint. The cool-climate island of Tasmania features an ideal climate for the picky pinot noir, delivering some surprising examples.
Food Match: Seared tuna with blood orange
Syrousse 2011 Côtes Du Roussillon Villages
Southwest, France ($16.95)
Romance fills the air with perfume and hot sunny days in the south of France and this lovely, traditional blend of syrah, grenache and carignan made in a ‘naked’ style (i.e. without the use of oak). “Rousse” refers to the colour of the iron rich soils of Rousillon but the word also means “redhead” and suggests the colour red – the colour of love, certainly fit for a valentine’s setting.
Food match: Chicken curry with basil
Thymiopoulos Vineyards Yn Kai Oupavós Xinomavro 2010
Naoussa, Naoussa, Greece ($19.95)
The Greeks love completely, as Plato once wrote: “The madness of love is the greatest of heaven’s blessings”. It is tough to find a sexier grape than that of xinomavro – it has all the intrigue of pinot noir and the intensity of nebbiolo rife with exotic spice and crushed black fruit. This progressive producer from the northern and ancient winemaking region of Macedonia strikes a fine balance in this sumptuous red that is certain to prove an intriguing new discovery.
Food match: Roasted duck breast stuffed with figs and almonds
Wishing you happy entertaining!
From the Feb 1, 2013 Vintages release:
Editors Note: You can find Sara d’Amato’s complete reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critics reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 30 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!