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Fionn coming to you on this cold, yet beautifully sunny morning. Feels properly like January now with the temperature dropping off a cliff this week. But that means I have been craving wines with a little more oomph, things that are warm and comforting. Things that are good to drink on the sofa, next to a fire (not that I have one), with hearty food, and so on. This week I’ll be giving some love to a few of the bigger wines that are currently adorning our stacked shelves.
First up, something a little more classique. We’re going down to the south of France, to the often-overlooked Gigondas. Neighbouring Châteauneuf-du-Pape takes all the limelight in these parts, but I think these wines overdeliver on quality, and certainly on price. This guy is a grenache heavy blend and is as about as classic as they come. Big on the black fruit and peppery spice with a bit of lavender and some leather thrown in too. The tannins on show are plush and polished meaning this glides along way too easily despite its weighty frame. This would be perfect with a roast, something braised, something steaming hot straight from the oven etc...
Along the same lines, but a bit friendlier on the wallet is this beauty from Domaine de Ferrand. This ticks all the warm and comforting highs just at a very reasonable price point considering the grapes come from old vines just outside Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Mulberry fruit, a bit of olive tapenade, and a whole lot of garrigue-like charm. A long, lingering finish makes this a solid candidate for lounging around on the sofa.
Do you want something big yet with ample freshness? Look no further than the Hors Champ, Une Vie La Nuit. I remember drinking this at Dan’s pre-employment and was seriously blown away. It was a miserably cold, quiet Tuesday afternoon and I spent an eternity browsing the gloriously stocked shelves before settling on this. Yes, I was sucked in by the label, but trust me I stayed for the wine. This high-altitude Syrah is velvety soft, with a lot of black cherries and cola-like complexity going for it. This is both highly comforting and highly drinkable. So damn good you should buy 2 before I snatch them all up.
So perhaps, reds aren’t your thing. Well, why not reach for some whites with a bit of texture? Currently obsessed with this baller Chablis atm. Thanks to a LONG time on its lees, this is nicely textured yet also dangerously refreshing. Ripe stone fruit meets an incredibly persistent mineral finish here. Thomas Pico is a good mate of the esteemed De Moor’s so if you're into serious high-end gear then I highly recommend checking out his pair of '18s too. As with all the very best, these are pretty limited. I wouldn’t dwindle too much!
If whites aren’t tickling your fancy then perhaps you could be tempted by something orange? The nice middle ground when you can’t decide on red or white. A case of the cult classic Ageno rocked up today which is about as benchmark as they come. Right up there with the likes of Radikon and Gravner in terms of Italian orange excellence. If you’re into skinsy stuff and haven’t tried this then seriously what are you doing? Herbal, almost vermouthy spice dances alongside a riot of pithy citrus fruit. I recommend serving this not too cold. If you want to get the best out of this then some stinky cheese and a bit of contemplation will set you on the right path.
Think that's about enough wine chit-chat for today. Got wines to taste, boxes to pack, things to pour!
Take it easy,