The red with a big heart from the Rhône River Valley
The red wines of the southern half of the Rhône River Valley reflect the gentle and relaxed mood of their landscape: rolling hills ambling towards the Mediterranean Sea. These are warm and big-hearted wines, easy to enjoy and full-flavoured.
It's all about the blend. The fleshy, strawberry character of Grenache gives a full body with gentle tannins, powerful alcohol and quick to mature.
Often supported by the backbone of the blackberry and peppery personality of the mighty Syrah (aka Shiraz) whose firm tannins are slow to soften. While the polished leather of Mourvèdre and red berry fruit of Carignan are just a few of the different grape varieties that help add complexity to the Southern Rhône reds.
Match with rich dark meats - duck, venison, lamb and beef with peppery or fruit based sauces.
1) L'Ameillaud 2011, Principaute d'Orange, Vin de Pays de Vaucluse 14pc
Exotic perfume of lavender and oak. Intensely flavoured with ripe black berries and creamy dark chocolate wrapped in a velvety smooth texture, finishing with a peppery spice.
€13.99 at The Cheese Pantry, Drumcondra and online: jnwine.com
2) La Griveliere 2012, Pere Anselme, Cotes du Rhone 13pc
Very ripe fruity pastille aromas. Granite mineral palate supporting juicy black berry flavours. Firm tannins, rounded and balanced.
€12.99 in Dublin at the Corkscrew, Chatham Street; Deveney's, Dundrum and The Vintry, Rathgar.
3) Parallele 45 2010, Paul Jaboulet Aine, Cotes du Rhone 14pc
Berry aromas. Warming palate of ripe berries, smooth and mellow. Rounded and classic.
€12.99 at Molloy's off-licences Dublin citywide; Sweeney's, Glasnevin and Carpenter's, Castleknock.
4) Maison Plantevin 2012, Cotes du Rhone 14.5pc
Fruity bouquet. Exotic chocolatey rich style and full-bodied with firm tannins and a cocoa finish.
€14.95 at Wines Direct Shop, Mullingar, retail outlet in Arnotts, Liffey Street, Dublin 1 and online: winesdirect.ie
5) Domaine du Vieux Calcernier 2012, Chateauneuf-du-Pape 14.5pc
Full-bodied warm and spiced berries with an earthy note. Richly flavoured with deep layers of black fruits and mineral notes to balance the potent alcohol.
€14.99 at Aldi nationwide.
6) Jardin Secret de Camille 2011, Cotes du Rhone 14.5pc
Intense minerally palate of gravel and granite. Firm tannins with a granite mineral finish.
€14.99 at Dicey's, Ballyshannon. In Dublin at McHugh's Off-licences, Kilbarrack Road and Artane; Baggot Street Wines; Redmond's, Ranelagh; Red Island Wines, Skerries; Martin's, Fairview and Deveney's, Dundrum.