The ‘16 of the Sixtine was life-changing wine. So much so, our dealer team has been quivering with excitement to see the next vintage come in ever since.
Buyer John Clark describes it as ‘one of the best wines I’ve ever bought’. Nobody’s going home disappointed with this. It’s generous and rich, but amazingly approachable at the same time. You’ll decant it, of course, to get every millimetre of depth and nuance out of it. But you won’t feel like you’re missing out by drinking it now. Have a couple this year, a couple in five, and a couple in ten. Then open your second case for the following decade. Go for a meaty lamb roast with this, and don’t spare the Provençal herbs.
“50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre. Tasted blind. Generous and delicious ripe red-fruit character on the nose. Combines both candied elements with freshly picked fruit. Finely sieved tannins, smooth and persistent finish. Has a sense of restraint and balance, and won't need extensive cellaring.”
It’s cool, we get it, you want to know absolutely everything about this wine. Well here you go, go nuts.
- Alcohol by Vol.
- Bottle Vol
- Blend Info
- 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre
- Serving Temp.
The winter of 2017 was characterized by a very cold January (the coldest in 5 years). The temperatures are then raised, to predict an early harvest. The summer months were very hot. The 2017 vintage is the second warmest in 20 years. The year was relatively dry, the vegetative period will have benefited from only 185 mm of precipitation against 360 mm in normal year. The grape harvests were therefore early, with exceptional health conditions, a particularly mild weather, and a beautiful late-season, which resulted in a little quantitative harvest of excellent quality.
Reasoned culture principles. Traditional hand picking into small crates. Using a sort table. Destemming. Fermentation in thermo-regulated stainless steel vats. Classic winemaking with punching and delestage. Ageing in tanks and oak barrels, light filtration.
My sister Nicci calls these "puddingstone wines", because the vines are literally grown on soils lightly covering giant boulders roughly translated as "pudding stones". Châteauneuf-du-Pape has a rich history, and the reds (usually grenache-predominant) can be a blend of up to 13 grape varieties, including some cheeky whites to round out the mix. The resultant wines are complex, brooding but usually not giant, and delicious. Especially if you call them puddingstone wines.
The rules are there ain’t no rules, but here are some foods we think will work pretty well with this wine...
Steak with quick sauce bordelaise and boulangere potatoes
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 tsp chopped thyme leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 x 200g rib-eye steaks (on the bone)
- 2 cups (500ml) red wine (preferably Bordeaux)
- Bouquet garni (a few thyme and parsley sprigs and bay leaves, tied with string)
- 2 eschalots, finely chopped
- 2 cups (500ml) beef consomme or demi-glaze (see note)
- 1 tbs red wine vinegar
- 20g unsalted butter
- Watercress or salad leaves, to serve
- Boulangere potatoes:
- 100ml each duck fat (see note) & dry white wine
- 2 small onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tbs thyme leaves
- 8 desiree potatoes, peeled, cut into
- 3-4mm slices (a mandoline is ideal)
- About 300ml chicken stock, heated
- For the potatoes, preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 2-litre baking dish.
- Heat the duck fat in a large frypan over medium-low heat. Add onion and thyme and cook, stirring, for 8 minutes or until soft. Add the white wine and simmer for 2-3 minutes until almost evaporated, then add the potato and stir to coat.
- Layer the potato mixture in a baking dish, overlapping in a circular pattern. Pour over enough stock to submerge the potatoes. Cover surface closely with baking paper cut to fit, then cover pan with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and paper and bake for a further 30 minutes or until stock is absorbed and potato is golden.
- Meanwhile, combine olive oil, chopped thyme and garlic in a small bowl, then season. Brush steaks with the marinade and set aside while you make the sauce.
- Place wine, bouquet garni and eschalots in a pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, then cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes until reduced by half. Add the consomme, then cook for a further 15-20 minutes until reduced by half again. Strain through a sieve, then keep warm.
- Meanwhile, preheat a chargrill pan or frypan over high heat.
- In 2 batches if necessary, grill the steaks for 3 minutes each side for medium-rare or until cooked to your liking. Loosely cover the steaks with foil and rest for 3 minutes.
- Stir the red wine vinegar into the sauce, then whisk in the butter to give it a nice glossy finish.
- Divide steaks among serving plates, drizzle with sauce, then serve with the boulangere potatoes and salad leaves.
The wines we remember are about the moments. The people, the places. That’s life. Here are some ideas...