A brilliant, affordable Syrah from the Ardèche


This is one of the best affordable wines I’ve had in a long time. It’s a Syrah from the Ardèche, and it’s just so brilliantly drinkable. Made by Cave Saint Desirat for Marks & Spencer, it manages to capture that northern Rhone Syrah quality. This is what M&S wine buyer Belinda Kleinig had to say about it when I asked her:

The Syrah de l’Ardèche comes from Cave Saint Desirat, where we also source our fabulous Gamay de l’Ardèche. The winemaker is Jean-Luc Chaléat – his speciality is Saint Joseph, and he applies the same winemaking to this wine  as his premium Saint Joseph. All of the grapes are hand-picked, and come from a mixture of terraced vineyards on the slopes, and 30 year old vines grown on the plateau. In the winery it has 2 weeks carbonic maceration in a mixture of concrete and stainless tanks, and controlled fermentation at 25°C. No oak at all. I like it (obviously!) but what I particularly like is its restrained alcohol. It’s only 12%, yet it’s very juicy and forward with peppery spice. The restrained alcohol lends it a refreshing finish and leaves you wanting another glass.

Belinda is right. Here’s my note:

Syrah Vin de Pays de l’Ardèche 2013 France
12% alcohol. This is fabulous. It’s so fresh and alive with lovely peppery red cherry fruit and a delightful green sappy note. Fresh, peppery and bright, with a nice granite-like minerality. 90/100 (£6.99 Marks & Spencer)


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