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Castelmaure Corbieres Grand Cuvee 2014
Blend: Made from 50% Grenache (30 year old) and 50% Syrah (30 year old).
The AOC Corbières was created in 1985 and measures 23,000 hectares (56,810 acres). The appellation requires a minimum of two grapes in a wine blend. The co-op farms 350 hectares (868 acres) around the tiny hamlet of Embres et Castelmaure. The 760 parcels are inspected and the characteristics recorded on computer. Each parcel is supervised individually by a technician who dedicates his time to this task. They have re-learned to prune, plough, check yields, sort, select, with a permanent focus on the respect of the environment. All of the grapes are harvested by hand. In the cellar, vats hygiene, temperature control, ultramodern pressing contribute to a better expression of the terroir. The soil is made of schist, limestone, alluvial river wash and argilo-calcaire.
A significant appellation in the Languedoc region of southern France, Corbières produces impressively dense red wines from Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache and often very old vine Carignan. While rarely mentioned, the region’s fresh dry whites and rosés shouldn’t be overlooked.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, red Rhône blends originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley. Grenache, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre typically form the base of the blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. With some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in Priorat, Washington, Australia and California.
In the Glass
The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit and a plush texture. Syrah supplies dark fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy and earthy notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume and earthy flavor as well as structure and a healthy dose of color. New World examples tend to be fruit-forward in style, while those from the Old World will often have more earth, structure and herbal components on top of ripe red and blue fruit.
Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. These can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes, playing equally well with beef, pork, lamb or game. Braised beef cheeks, grilled steak or sausages, roasted pork and squab are all fine pairings.
Some regions like to put their own local spin on the red Rhône blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.