Saturday, August 18, 2012
This is exactly the sort of red I like to drink in summer - well, to tell the truth most times of the year.
We ordered it on our way back from France when we stopped another night at the Auberge de Chassignolles from which we seem unable to keep away.
It's a sign, I suppose, of how much our tastes have changed that Harry Lester, the proprietor, wasn't sure if we would like it and offered to open another bottle if we didn't. (He said he would drink it himself as it was one of his favourite wines.) But it had that vivid life-enhancing fruit that natural reds - especially Syrah - tend to possess and I loved it. No sulphur though which may mean it varies from bottle to bottle - and Harry decanted it which I suggest you do too.
We drank it with buckwheat pancakes, stuffed with chard and goats cheese, with slow roast lamb shanks and a deconstructed, less-oily-than-usual ratatouille and with a selection of cheeses to which it stood up very well.
The producer Gilles Azzoni of Mas de la Bégude doesn't seem to have a website but there's a good account of his winemaking philosophy here. He's based in St Maurice d'Ibie in the Ardèche just west of Montélimar. You can buy it in the UK from Gergovie Wines at I'm not sure what price but it shouldn't be too expensive. Just 16€ on the Chassignolles list.
Rating: Amber (see right)