|Domaine de la Grande Bellane (France) Valréas 2000
Valréas is one of the Villages of the Côtes du Rhône, and a previous vintage of this organic wine from la Grande Ballane had the honour of wine of the week. A blend of high quality grapes (75% Syrah, 25% Grenache), this wine is also vegetarian, in that no animal products were used in making it (some agents used to clarify wines prior to bottling are animal-based). The nose is just gorgeous: a melange of wild herbs, cedar, rich crumbly earth and deep raspberry fruit. There are leather and gamy notes, and spicy hints too. On the palate a great thwack of tannins instantly coats the mouth in a drying, chocolaty layer, but that savoury, mellow, spiced plum and red fruit character pushes through. With perfect balance, this wine combines stuffing and supple elegance in a food-friendly format. Terrific stuff.
£5.99 Tesco, Sainsbury's, Thresher, Bottoms Up, Unwins. (02/02)