Set in the south of France, Languedoc does not have the name-recognition of Bordeaux or Burgundy. And what reputation it does have is as a producer of inexpensive, rustic reds. So I went expecting a fairly industrial landscape of mass-produced tannic titans.
So pale as to have almost no pink color visible. A beguiling nose of strawberry, peach, and fresh flowers. Very expressive on the palate, with delicate but assertive fresh fruit coming on and the acid kept in check. Finishes with a small flourish, yielding a really lovely wine that is refreshing yet not insipid. Pair with seafood, especially shellfish. Highly recommended.
Nose seems a bit confused. Notes of eucalyptus, fresh leather, and spinach. Not terribly complex on the palate, and a tad chewy, but still nice, with blueberry, nut, white pepper, and cassis. Finishes evenly and nicely. Would pair nicely (although clash geopolitically) with eggplant parmesan. Recommended.
In my day job I am a consultant. I obviously have heard all of the jokes and disdain that may accompany this title, but if there is one thing that we consultants know how to do, it is to offer some advice on problems about which we probably have very little to add, experientially speaking. We can also always whip up a 'white paper' to solve a loosely defined problem, often out of thin air. So while it may be unsolicited, I have no trouble offering a solution to the conundrum currently facing California Syrah.
Sommeliers-turned-winemakers: a predictable career move for restaurant wine professionals. Despite the large number of stories such as these among sommeliers, many are not vanity projects; instead, unique endeavors of true passion for a particular region or style.
Both Chile and Argentina are also producing unique wines of real character, many of them at prices that are fractions of their Old World European or even U.S. counterparts thanks their to the much lower labor and land costs. You just need to know where to find them.
Ezequiel Eskenazi, the down-to-earth founder of XumeK, is carving out a wine lifestyle destination a solid two hours drive northwest from Mendoza in San Juan, complete with a life size reproduction of a whale constructed by famed artist Adrian Villar Rojas as a tribute to the site (now upwards of 800 meters above sea level, but which used to be a submerged seabed in ancient times). The wines are fitting tribute to the stark beauty of the site, and their Syrah is a bargain—Crayola does not make a color this purple, and the big blue fruits deliver just about what you would expect from taking a look at the stunning hue of this wine in the glass, with the added bonus of some nice stony, mineral notes. Where the Syrah really shines, though, is in the mouthfeel, where it puts on a clinic for the price-point and will very likely ensure a quickly drained bottle at your next BBQ.
Clear, medium-deep intensity, plum purple in color. Clean nose with medium to medium-full aromas of dark fruit, plum, raspberry, blackberry, and savory herbs, rosemary, coffee. Dry on the palate with medium-full tannin, medium-low acidity, and flavors of cherry conserves, blackberry, sage, and oak. Needs time; pair with sautéed portabella mushrooms tossed with herbs and cooked raspberries. Recommended.