2014 Joan D’Anguera Montsant

A bit of lacklustre googling suggests this might be equal parts Grenache and Syrah. Señor D’Anguera’s website is not exactly comprehensive. The wine in the glass leaves no doubt it follows the trend for less extraction, less ripeness, less oak and lots of stems. More Montsant Morey St Denis, sort of. Starts a little reductive, sulphur and rocks, opens out to sappy cherry and strawberry and some distinctly savoury yeasty lees and old wood. Over a day or two, the struck flint persists and the fruit darkens to almost a dried fruit sweetness. The chalky acidity and stalk tannin sit high. It’s all almost too wild, savoury and stalky acidic but given the amount of good olive oil in Spanish cooking, it makes itself useful. So differed to the oaky ripeness of the recent Can Blau. Such lovely crisp red fruit, sort of Etna Rosso for another odd comparison, probably more Montsant in its own right.

13.5% alcohol. Cork. 548 gms of glass. $28 at auction.

A wild spread of 91 to 94 points.

2016 S C Pannell The Vale

Going back to the blends of Grenache and Shiraz that would have been labelled Burgundy last century, this one shows itself more than the sum of its parts. Spiced poached cherries, dark brandy soaked fruit cake, tar, aniseed and chocolate. Plums galore as it sits in the glass, not for long though, delicious. The structure seems naturally grippy and large enough to handle the generous ripe blast of fruit. Big heart, broad shoulders, firm handshake and no artifice.

14.5% alcohol. Screw cap. 593 gms of glass. Clearance special at Dan’s for $27.88

93 very solid points.

2016 Celler Cecilio Negre Priorat

60% Garnatxa Roja, normal Grenache not Alicante Bouchet I think, and 20% each of Caranyena, or Carignan, and Syrah, thought the Catalans would have their own name for that too? Opens a bit sulphur reductive which never completely clears lending a not disagreeable meaty edge, not too bitter. It’s in the mouth though where things really take off. There’s what seems to be typical Priorat kirsch and sooty fireplace, all so soft and comfortable. Sweet roasting pan juices, some woody herbs and a twist of liquorice too. It’s the rich but not leathery fruit and the cushion of cocoa tannin on a bed of juicy acidity that makes these wines from the near unpronounceable llicorella soil so good and full of character. What I can say, delicious.

14.5% alcohol. Cork. 416 gms of glass. Not sure of the price as it was part of a multi bottle swap, sadly not cheap but compared to Bdx and other Bs relative value.

94 points.

2018 Guillaume Gonnet Le Hardi Côtes du Rhône Villages

Opened ready to go, bright and clean. 80% Grenache, the rest Syrah. Overlay of peanuts, crisp red cherry, pomegranate, woody herbs on a firm bed of acidity and tannin that’s maybe a bit stalky. Medium of body, astutely avoiding over extraction. Deepened after twenty four hours, very squishy ripe raspberries and some chocolate made dark with a soupçon of bitter sulphide. Enough good fruit, particularly with food, to dream of Châteauneuf du Pape. Bit of a bargain really.

14% alcohol. Screw cap. 532 gms of glass. $17 Dan Murphy’s member special.

Solid 92 points.

2018 Jericho GSM

A blend of 85% Grenache, 12% Shiraz and 3% Mourvèdre which means it could be simply labelled as Grenache under Australian labelling rules which apparently allow 15% of something else without having to declare it. Not much chance of real ingredient labelling anytime soon then. Nonetheless, kudos to the Jerichos for being this concise. The label also says it’s from the Blewitt Springs sub region where nearly every McLaren Vale Grenache I’ve enjoyed seems to come from. Smell and flavours thus, leather, earthy, dried cherry and a sort of clove or nutmeg feel. It comes alive on the tongue with really bright rich raspberries, florals, hot cross bun spice and leathery dried grape skins. Good whack of natural feeling, stalky acidity cleans up nicely. Second day and the rich fruit’s quite lolly sweet to the point of almost cloying but that stalky cut organises it well. Delicious but you have to like that youthful power of full throttle sweet Grenache, honest, rich and probably typical of the Springs of Blewitt.

14.20% alcohol. Screw cap. 548 gms of glass. $26, good value.

93 points.

2017 Tardieu Laurent Les Becs Fins Côtes du Rhône Villages

Fat, rich and warm hearted Grenache. Clean and deliciously very ripe raspberries, cherry liqueur, brown spices and those woody herbs that scent the air on a warm Mediterranean afternoon. All these things impact well as it slips through like molten chocolate with just enough life giving acidity to suggest another mouthful. The sort of fruit quality you’d be happy to see in a loftier appellation. Tardieu Laurent know how to source their grapes. For once the wine stained label was not my fault but maybe from a breakage in the case in the auction house storage. The chunky looking chap on the label looks a bit miffed about it. If I drank this regularly, I’d end up with Obelix’s belly. Lush, the wine that is.

14% alcohol. Cork and not the best. $22 win at auction.

93 points.

2017 Guillaume Gonnet Le Rêveur Côtes du Rhône

Another value direct import from Woolworths. A whiff of sulphurous reduction to start which airs away to allow flowers, cherry preserve and a slap of sweet leather to emerge. Not huge or deep but gentle and pure in flavour. Over a couple of days, things cleaned up even more and some Southern Rhône shrubbery smells popped up amongst the very ripe fruit. 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah with the former’s ability to hang on to natural acidity very much on show, refreshing and binding the fine tannin. Such value imports are becoming the best reason to visit the shelves at Dan’s. The cheerful and good natured frontline workers braving retail every day in such times are another.

14% alcohol. Screwcap. $18.10 in a six.

90 points.

2013 Sons of Eden Kennedy Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre

Accidentally typed Soms of Eden, appropriate typo perhaps as this is just the sort of real Barossa that I like to drink. A few years rest in the bottle have rounded and sweetened the beautifully rich flavours. Blackberry, perfumed with cherry, plums and aniseed underpinned by Barossa carbon and coal dust. A veritable symphony that swells with deeply meaningful fruit in its last movement. The blend again is more than the sum of its parts, Grenache the treble, Shiraz the middle and spicy too, Mourvèdre the bass. Warm, rich and generous Barossa at its best. Old Joe in the hat on the label would be as happy as if that were a jazz roll up.

14.50% alcohol. Screwcap. About $27 on release.

94 points.

2016 Mas de Libian Côtes du Rhône Bout d’Zan

Organic and Biodynamic Grenache for the most part and some Syrah. Opens with a whiff of matchstick reduction which happily lifts to show the brightest raspberries and sweet green Mediterranean shrubbery. Really pure scents and flavors, bouncy across the tongue as fresh mouthwatering acidity and a rasp of fine skin tannin balance things up. It takes some patience to let it sit in the glass but the reward is some extra depth of stewed cherries, aniseed and a calm earthy energy. Zan was the nickname of the maker’s father. He’d be proud to see it on the label of what the importers call a high country freshness from the western slopes of the Rhône, both kinds of C&W good.

14% alcohol. Cork. Lucky win at auction.

93 points.

2018 Famille Marcel Richaud Côtes du Rhône Les Buisserons

Sigh, last of the Paris buys worth a mention. From a caviste tucked away on a one way street close to Place de la Republique, overdue a visit and full of good choices like Richaud and Gramenon next to each other on the Rhône shelf. Despite some reservations about the former’s alcohol levels and ripeness in recent years, Marcel Richaud has often won this heart with the sheer depth of some great fruit turned into a rich, deeply flavoured mouthful. This one’s from a tricky hot year and neatly avoids overdoing it. Dry leathery skin flavours that seem almost Barossa like lead into still crunchy raspberry and cherry bright fruit. Maybe it’s the Carignan helping out the Grenache and Syrah with some good acidity? Real fruit weight, clean and naturally satisfying tannin and cut, honestly tasty. My visit on a atmospherically gloomy late afternoon in November interrupted the carving of a grand wheel of good Comte. Happy to stop and share warm thoughts about good bottles. Bonne adresse, as they Parisiens say. Delicatessen Cave, 136 rue Amelot 3er. Another visit please.

14.50% alcohol. Cork. 12 euros.

93 points.