I recently learned that there was a Total Wine not too far from my house so I decided to check it out this past weekend.
I love the little wine market by my house but I know what they DON’T carry and I wanted to see what I could find at Total Wine.
It was okay. I wasn’t overly impressed with a lot of the selection but I’m
a wine snob particular.
I did find a couple of bottles that interested me and I snapped them right up.
One of the cool things about stores like Total Wine and Corridor Wine Market (when we lived in Maryland) is that sometimes, they list the Wine Spectator score and give brief tasting notes.
One of the bottles I found was this Rhone that was rated at 90 points (out of 100).
I thought it was a pretty great deal at $25!
And I love wines from the Rhone region. ❤
The interesting thing about this wine is it is not a blend. It is 100% Syrah.
Now, French Syrah is much, much different than a California Syrah or an Australian Shiraz.
It’s less “punch you in the face fruit” and more subtle, earthy, chewy spiciness.
This syrah had a lovely deep garnet hue and smelled of fruit and plums and earth. Mmmm…… 🙂
The tasting notes indicate ganache and espresso notes but my nose didn’t pick any of that. I guess the espresso was probably in the “earth” smell that I got. Think of how freshly ground coffee smells or maybe how the earth smells after a good rain. It’s clean and damp and … for lack of a better descriptor … earthy.
Wow. I should really brush up on my adjectives. 😉
The tasting notes state “leaves a smoldering feel through the finish” and I would totally agree with that. It was full (of flavor), round (I could taste it in my whole mouth and not just on my tongue, a little chewy (like I really wanted to chew it!), and spicy when I swallowed.
It was pretty heavenly.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I ❤ a good California Syrah and I never turn down a glass of wine from a Barossa Valley Shiraz (Australia) but this wine was something else.
It was complex and elegant and yet simple and very easy to drink.
We paired it with some sirloin steak tips (holy. delicious.) and roasted butternut squash.
I think you definitely want to pair this with red meats and hearty stews. You could do chicken but it should be hearty like Coq au Vin or even this stew (made this quite a few times. WORTH. IT.).
Talk to me: Have you ever tried a wine that surprised you? What’s your favorite recipe you’ve ever made from a Food Network chef?