Varsity Liquors' Wines of the Month
As much as we all wish winter to wither and fade, a few more weeks of chilly weather does give us the opportunity to enjoy some robust red wines before spring arrives. Our selections this month focus on the grapes Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre, the trinity of southern French winemaking. All are full-bodied and rich, but range from the rustic to the luxuriant. Enjoy our selections, and as always, Salud!
Domaine Deshenrys 1997, Coteaux du Languedoc France
This blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Grenache comes from a region that you might well be familiar with. Often referred to as Vin de Pays d'Oc, it is the source of much of France's jug and supermarket wine. But no vin ordinare is this! By showing extraordinary attention to detail, only harvesting at night, and controlling the temperature at fermentation, winemaker Henri Bouchard achieves amazing levels of complexity with this wine.
Novellum 1998, Cote du Roussillon France
This wine more closely resembles the traditional, rustic style of winemaking common in the south of France. Crafted from 100% Grenache, this wine has all the spicy, peppery character you could ask for. A wine like this would benefit from between 15 and 30 minutes of "breathing" after being opened, and would pair with simple dishes like grilled meats and even that Italian favorite, sausage, peppers & onions.
Cline "Ancient Vines" Mourvedre 1998, Contra Costa California
We saved this one for last because it happens to one of our favorite wines from one of our favorite wineries. Fred Cline has been a champion of under-appreciated varieties of grapes in California for nearly 20 years. While his neighbors were tearing out 100 year-old vineyards planted to Carignane, Zinfandel and Mourvedre, all in a mad rush to plant Chardonnay, Merlot or whatever grape was "hot," he was preserving these ancient treasures. Rich, complex and with more layers than a wedding cake, this wine is a winner. Recently given 90 pts. and a Spectator Selection by the Wine Speculator, I suggest you let your own taste buds rate this one.