Some gems for celebrating International Grenache Day, which is today.
2007 Domaine Saint-Gayan, Côtes du Rhône-Rasteau
Big, ripe, peppery, grenache-dominated southern Rhône red, with a fistful of stony, spicy, nutty flavours set against succulent, sweet raspberry and cherry fruit and ripe tannins. 80% grenache, 12% syrah and the rest mourvèdre and cinsault. 15% abv. If you’ve got good storage, you’ll be able to enjoy it over seven or eight years.
£10.50, Yapp Brothers
2008 Domaine of the Bee, Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes
A powerful, rich red with intense black-fruit aromas, edged with sweet garrigue herbs and smoky oak. The palate is rich-textured with fresh black-pepper, dark chocolate and coffee-bean flavours, together with a mineral note and the sort of underlying acidity that give the wine essential freshness but which will also keep it going for years to come. The 2008 is the second vintage of this roughly 50:50 blend of grenache and carignan (grenache over 50 years old and carignan over 80) from the Maury area of Roussillon. 14.9% abv. It’s produced by Justin Howard-Sneyd MW, better known as the global wine director of Laithwaites (next step interplanetary director, presumably), but it’s nothing to do with the day job and he’s selling it himself.
£20, £18 if you buy 6, £16.67 if you buy 12, www.domaineofthebee.com
2003 Domaine Font de Michelle Cuvée Etienne Gonnet, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc
The quality and character of this mature white châteauneuf may owe more to its old-vine roussanne than its 50% grenache blanc, but nevermind: it’s a terrific wine. Rich, honeyed and perfumy with quince, citrus and herbal flavours and a long, dry finish. 13.5% abv. It’s no on the Wine Society’s website, but it’s in the October–January list (ref code C-RH240710 which will be with you shortly, if it isn’t already.
£21, The Wine Society
If you want a white châteauneuf to lay down, I recommend 2009 Domaine de Nalys Les Dix Salmées, which has a youthful herby nose, fresh peach and quince on the palate and lots of depth and freshness. It’s just over half grenache and just over a quarter bourboulenc with clairette and a smidgeon of roussanne. 13.5% abv. It’s perfectly drinkable now, but will develop much more within a couple of years. Laithwaites showed it at their tasting in London this week, but it’s not on the website yet. It’ll be £17.99 any time now.
And a reminder that Noel Young Wines still has the lovely grenache blanc-based 2009 Domaine Lafage Cuvée Centenaire, Côtes du Roussillon (£10.49) which was a Wine of the Week here on 30 July.