I’m quite lucky that a sizeable chunk of my job involves drinking good vino for free, but this isn’t just because there’s no greater pleasure than complimentary booze: as a wine adviser, it’s also my job to know about wine in a way people can relate to, i.e. not out of a textbook, but out of a glass. The fun way.
Every week we taste new wines, and sometimes – like today – we get all squibbly because we’ve found one that we love that we’d never have tried otherwise.
This week, it’s the turn of the Aussie wine Domaine Terlato Chapoutier Shiraz-Viognier 2007 – well, I say it’s an ‘Aussie’ but it’s actually a collaboration of two renowned wine families: Chapoutier from the Rhone and Terlato from Napa Valley, California. The label, as you can see, is pretty bland (I wouldn’t look twice at something like this amongst all the other pretty lizards, flowers and giant squids you usually find on kooky Australian labels), but thankfully the wine is far from boring.
This wine is an intriguing warm ruby in colour with a healthy grip on the glass, but it’s really the nose that knocks you off your feet: it explodes with fruit you can sniff a mile off. It is thick with dark, jammy, sticky plums and sultanas, with blackcurrants thrown in as well, all laced with some sweet perfumed spice. The palate is remarkably smooth and succulent, with bags of juicy fruit and creamy spice. The power of this wine is in its balance, with velvety tannins perfectly complemented by an alcohol level that is warming, but not too much. All in all this is perfect for cold winter evenings in on the sofa with a lamb stew, feeling all smug that you’re warm with a charming glass of red in your hand.
You can buy this wine in Australia and the US as well, however if you’re in the UK like me you can get it from Harper Wells for £14 per bottle/ £82.50 for a case of six. If you want it cheaper, The Wine Society stocks it for £12.95 per bottle / £77.50 per case of six, but you do need to be a Member as it’s a Co-operative Society (hence the slightly more reasonable price). A lifetime share in the Society is £40 (a savvy buy if you like your wine. I’ve been a member for four years now…)
I’ve not done a wine review before, but I hope this makes even a vague amount of sense. Otherwise my four years training as a wine adviser might seem a bit silly.
I nicked the picture from The Wine Society’s website. I hope they don’t mind.