Raymond Usseglio is a biodynamic Châteauneuf-du-Pape maker with a cult following and a bit of an outlaw, and this is signature outlaw wine. He’s gone so wild and crazy with it that he can’t state the vintage on the label, so it has to be labelled Vin de France even though it’s probably all from the Rhône Valley. Put it this way: the Usseglio fam don’t bother making for the masses, and they have a 100-point rated red. So no big deal. Semantics aside, this is packed with super fresh berries - raspberry, strawberry, loganberry - plus distinctive chinotto and blood orange. There are even stone fruits on the palate. It’s lovely a fresh with medium-to-full weight, grippy and fruit-driven without being too serious or too flippant. A glorious interpretation of grenache-based red with no affectation, but will yield lots of affection.
It’s cool, we get it, you want to know absolutely everything about this wine. Well here you go, go nuts.
- Rhone Valley
- Alcohol by Vol.
- Bottle Vol
- Blend Info
- Grenache Blend
- Serving Temp.
The Rhône Valley is a dichotomous beast. The North is ruled by Syrah (=Shiraz), with or without a touch of Viognier for perfume, while in the South you'll find all matter of blends such as those of Chateauneuf du Pape (about thirteen varieties in these on average, at last count...) and the origins of the GSM (heard of Côtes du Rhône?). The Northern Rhône is Australia's ultimate sparring partner in the 'we say Shiraz, you say Syrah' fencing match. With such famous names as Côtes-Rôtie, Gigondas and Crozes-Hermitage (remember when Grange was called Hermitage...?), you can bet your bottom dollar - and the few hundred that go with it - that you'll need to be ticking off a few of the better ones before you kick it. Don't discount the whites though. Some of the finest whites you'll ever try come from Condrieu (the most sensual Viognier you'll try, at a price), and the lesser (in cost, at least) blends, often based on Grenache Blanc or Viognier. And watch out for dry, Rhône rose - it's become so popular that the industry bodies are warning the region not to over-produce. Look out Kiwi Sav Blanc!
The rules are there ain’t no rules, but here are some foods we think will work pretty well with this wine...
- 12 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 600g lamb leg steaks
- 1 lemon, rind finely grated, juiced
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 700g orange sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1cm-thick slices
- 70g rocket leaves, trimmed
- lemon wedges, to serve
- Remove leaves from rosemary sprigs, reserving 2 tablespoons leaves. Soak rosemary skewers in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain. Chop reserved leaves.
- Cut lamb into 2cm cubes. Thread onto rosemary skewers. Place in a ceramic dish. Whisk rind, honey, garlic, reserved rosemary, 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a jug. Pour over kebabs. Turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Place sweet potato onto a microwave-safe plate. Cover. Microwave on HIGH (100%) for 6 to 8 minutes. Drain. Drizzle with remaining oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat barbecue plate on high heat. Reduce to medium. Lightly grease. Cook sweet potato for 2 minutes each side. Transfer to a plate. Cover with foil. Add kebabs to barbecue and cook for 2 minutes each side for medium.
- Place sweet potato onto serving plates. Top with lamb kebabs and serve with rocket and lemon wedges.
The wines we remember are about the moments. The people, the places. That’s life. Here are some ideas...