This is some super concentrated, sweet-sour raspberry and licorice juice here. As impressive in the glass as the bottle is. It’s got rippling, cheek-ripping tannins too, that ride like sumptuous sandpaper down the tongue. So yes, it needs some time, but it’s still effing delicious, and with much future promise. This, is the Lafont of youth. And it’s gooood.
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
- 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...
Braised shoulder of lamb
- For the lamb:
- 500 g greens, such as white cabbage, Savoy cabbage, Brussels tops or cavolo nero, leaves separated, stalks finely sliced
- 1 large bunch fresh rosemary
- 2 kg quality shoulder of lamb
- olive oil
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bulb garlic, unpeeled, broken into cloves
- For the smashed veg:
- 750 g potatoes, peeled, cut into large chunks
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
- ½ large swede, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 75 g butter
- For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 500 ml organic chicken or vegetable stock, hot
- 2 heaped tablespoons capers, soaked, drained and chopped
- 1 large bunch fresh mint, leaves picked
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- In this recipe I'm going to show you how utterly incredible a slow-roasted shoulder of lamb can be. In exchange I'd like you to buy quality local lamb that's had the appropriate amount of hanging time. I'm going to let the meat speak for itself and not add much to it, just a simple sauce made from all the goodness in the tray. You can make this at any time of year served with any seasonal veg.
- Preheat your oven to full whack. Slash the fat side of the lamb all over with a sharp knife. Lay half the sprigs of rosemary and half the garlic cloves on the bottom of a high-sided roasting tray, rub the lamb all over with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place it in the tray on top of the rosemary and garlic, and put the rest of the rosemary and garlic on top of the lamb. Tightly cover the tray with tinfoil and place in the oven. Turn the oven down immediately to 170°C/325°F/gas 3 and cook for 4 hours – it's done if you can pull the meat apart easily with two forks.
- When the lamb is nearly cooked, put your potatoes, carrots and swede into a large pot of boiling salted water and boil hard for 20 minutes or so until you can slide a knife into the swede easily. Drain and allow to steam dry, then smash them up in the pan with most of the butter. If you prefer a smooth texture, add some cooking water. Spoon into a bowl, cover with tinfoil and keep warm over a pan of simmering water.
- Remove the lamb from the oven and place it on a chopping board. Cover it with tinfoil, then a tea towel, and leave it to rest. Put a large pan of salted water on to boil for your greens. Pour away most of the fat from the roasting tray, discarding any bits of rosemary stalk. Put the tray on the hob and mix in the flour. Add the stock, stirring and scraping all the sticky goodness off the bottom of the tray. You won't need gallons of gravy, just a couple of flavoursome spoonfuls each. Add the capers, turn the heat down and simmer for a few minutes.
- Finely chop the mint and add it to the sauce with the red wine vinegar at the last minute then pour into a jug. Add your greens and stalks to the pan of fast-boiling salted water and cook for 4 to 5 minutes to just soften them. Drain and toss with a knob of butter and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place everything in the middle of the table, and shred the lamb in front of your guests. Absolutely delish!
The wines we remember are about the moments. The people, the places. That’s life. Here are some ideas...