Wine editor MARY DOWEY selects a delicious red that is perfect for CHRISTMAS DRINKING …
Domaine de la Janasse Côtes du Rhône Villages Terres d’Argile 2014
One of my favourite Châteauneuf-du-Pape producers is Domaine de la Janasse. Run meticulously by brother and sister Christophe and Isabelle Sabon, it’s an estate that I’ve dropped into frequently while studying the Southern Rhône close-up over the past decade. One of the things I admire is that you don’t have to splash out on a Châteauneuf-du-Pape at the top of their range to enjoy red lusciously rich, pure flavours. Janasse Côtes du Rhône wines bear those hallmarks too at much more affordable prices – and they’re perfect for Christmas drinking.
Terres d’Argile, a Côtes du Rhône Villages heady with the scent of raspberries, cherries, blackberries and kirsch liqueur, is especially delicious. Smooth as silk with an underpinning of fine tannins, it’s a well-judged blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan that displays the depth of flavour associated with grapes grown on clay soils without feeling overpowering. A dash of Carignan is part of the secret, lifting the acidity so that the lavish flavours of the other grapes don’t taste cloying. The Janasse style is always generous.
This will make a splendid partner for a traditional Christmas dinner: all the competing flavours on the plate – turkey, ham, stuffing, cranberry sauce and the rest – need a plump, ripe red to hold its own and cushion rather than swamp them.
If you can’t find it or prefer a slightly less expensive option, then try Domaine de la Janasse Côtes du Rhône Tradition 2015 – a little less intense in flavour but still lipsmacking.
Domaine de la Janasse Terres d’Argile 2014 (alcohol: 14.5%) from Searsons, Monkstown and www.searsons.com; Lilac Wines, Dublin 3; Sweeneys, Dublin 7; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock, about €26.
Domaine de la Janasse Côtes du Rhône Tradition 2015 (alcohol 13.5%) available from the same outlets and also Drinkstore, Dublin 7; La Touche, Greystones; Ardkeen, Waterford; 1601, Kinsale, about €20.
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