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le Freak (France) Shiraz Viognier 2004
Bottled with a good quality synthetic cork, this is a new wine from the Vin de Pays d'Oc in the south of France, made with 85 per cent Shiraz and 15 per cent Viognier. The bedrock of the wine is a 20-year-old Syrah vineyard, and the wine sees no oak and partial carbonic maceration to emphasise fruitiness. It has a dense, dark ruby colour and a nose of earthy, meaty, bloody Syrah. There is plenty of ripe, spicy black fruit, and the Viognier component is not too evident . On the palate it is quite richly textured, with a mouthfilling fruitiness, and a puckering background of tannin. A sweetness of fruit, and suggestion of very ripe berries lingers n the mouth, in a very nicely made wine that integrates the two grapes well (these are co-fermented rather than blended). There's a rash of Syrah/Viognier blends around at the moment, many overpriced and of very moderate quality, but this is inexpensive, robust, fruity and harmonious. 5.99, The Co-op