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Prince Albert
Monday, October 2, 2023
Home Opinion Wine Time with Aaron the Wine Guy

Wine Time with Aaron the Wine Guy


Hello Prince Albert! With so many grape varietals out there it can quickly get confusing; especially when grapes have different names in multiple countries. Examples of this are mouvedre (monastrell & mataro), grenache (garnacha & garnatxa) and finally shiraz (syrah) just to name a few.
This week I attended a tasting where the grape of focus was syrah. How does it differ from shiraz? First of all, shiraz is often bold, fruit-forward and full of juicy cherry and berry flavors with a hit of black pepper and gripping tannins. Syrah on the other hand, is more delicate and light with notes of floral violet, smoke and plums.
The syrah grape is blended into many wines in the Cotes du Rhone region of France as well as Portugal where it adds an element of elegance and wild flavors like forest fruit and perfumed spice. Smoked meat or traces of leather are also common markers for this grape.
The great thing about a tasting is that the participants often find their own unique style and will prefer one wine over the other. Some may prefer the $20 option while others will be drawn in by the more premium offerings.
It should be noted that we tasted all of the wines blind so that we would not judge the wine based on its price. Overall, we preferred the complexity and wild flavors of the St. Joseph from Cotes du Rhone (100% syrah) but one of the tasters enjoyed the Casal Branco red most with its intense and approachable fruity flavors.
For a softer wine, the Paul Jaboulet was deliciously fruity and extremely easy to sip on; this is a trait shared by many wines from the Cotes du Rhone region. However, it was outshone by the Laurus St. Joseph due to its more complex flavor profile.
Pairing options for these wines are varied and include a wide range of foods but each wine would suit specific styles of food in different ways.
The Paul Jaboulet would be excellent with cold cuts, charcuterie and soft cheeses. The Casal Branco is best suited for aged cheddars, dried meats and grilled steaks while the St. Joseph will pair perfectly with lighter, refined options like mushrooms, appetizers and culinary creations like crispy duck skin. Here are my wine picks of the week!
Paul Jaboulet les Jalet Crozes Hermitages: (AOC Crozes Hermitage, France). Dry red, medium ruby color. Wild scents of raspberry, strawberry and forest floor from the nose with hints of barnyard, violets and soft cheese. Red fruits are most apparent on the palate with a flourish of cherry, raspberry, plums, perfumed wild fruits and sweet cloves. Medium acidity lifts the softer fruit flavors while medium tannins provide structure. Pairs well with charcuterie, grilled chicken and soft cheeses. Very good! $30, 12.5% ABV
Quinta do Casal Branco Red Blend 2016: (DOC Tejo, Portugal). Dry red, deep purple color. There is a rush of dark fruits on the nose, from black currants, red grapes and black berries, to red currants and cooked plums. The flavor follows the nose quite well with a fruity mid palate of black currants, grape skins, plum and cherry balsamic and black pepper. As the finish kicks in, earthy dark cocoa, pepper spice and plum/black berry skins linger with a mouth-coating effect from the high tannins. Medium acidity and medium body. Demands steak, dried sausages, aged cheeses and BBQ. Very good, great value! $18, 14% ABV
Laurus St. Joseph 2016: (AOC St. Joseph, Cotes du Rhone). Off-dry red, medium ruby color. The bouquet of this wine is fine and delicate with scents of stewed forest fruits (strawberry, blackberry & raspberry), animal notes like horse blanket/leather and subtle hints of rosewater, violets, cloves, and wild mushrooms. To the taste, this red is elegant and soft yet assertive with a fruity, spicy mid palate of red fruits and spiced meat. Sweet black and red licorice follow through with oak spice and soft pepper/cloves on the finish. Hints of leather, mushroom and gentle spices. Medium-plus intensity with medium-plus body and medium acidity. Smooth, fruity, spicy and wild. Pair with brie, mushrooms on toast or crispy duck. $50, 13% ABV
Cheers and thanks for reading!