Mistral Côtes-du-Rhône 2020
AC, Domaine de Ferrand, Charles Bravay, 750 ml
Mistral - named after the fall wind that sweeps through the Rhône valley, the cuvée presents itself delicately spicy, fresh and red- fruited. The scent of cherries, white pepper and red hibiscus blossoms puts the connoisseur in a cheerful mood. On the palate, it is fresh with a pleasant juiciness and very accessible. The aroma is reminiscent of blood oranges, rose hips and cloves.
A product of the Marc Almert Selection
With the Marc Almert Selection, the ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2019, presents you a personally compiled selection of wines that inspire and touch him.
Marc Almert about the Mistral Côtes-du-Rhône
"A cold, dry and often strong downslope wind" is how Wikipedia describes the Mistral. The wind which lends its name to this wine is critical to the survival of the vineyards of the Rhône valley, playing a crucial role in cooling the vines that are exposed to the full glare of the sun. Philippe Bravay is a fourth-generation winegrower based in Orange, and we have been serving his Châteauneuf-du-Pape with great enthusiasm for many years now. The Mistral is a fairly new addition to his range, and I was hooked as soon as I tasted it. Younger vines come to the fore here, with Syrah being the star of the show. A very dense, spicy wine made from red fruits, which is excellently suited to many of the dishes found on a traditional bistro menu but can also be enjoyed on its own.
|Origin:||France / Rhône / Côtes du Rhône|
|Grape variety:||Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Vaccarèse|
|Ripening potential:||2 to 8 years|
|Serving temperature:||16 to 18 °C|
|Food pairing suggestion:||Spiced grillades, Roasted lamb gigot, Beef Stroganoff, Wild boar entrecôte with Spätzli, Hearty stew with pulses|
|Vinification:||fermentation in steel tank, cooling period|
|Harvest:||hand-picking, strict selection|
|Maturation:||in cement tank|
Domaine de Ferrand
Philippe Bravay represents the fourth generation of the family that owns Domaine de Ferrand. The winery can be traced back to the 17th century. Philippe’s parents sold the grapes to wine merchants. But he decided to press and bottle his own wine.
7.5 hectares lie in the north of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation, 10 hectares in the Côte-du-Rhône appellation. These include very old vineyards planted by his great-grandfather in 1904, 1910 and 1920; as usual in the so-called field blend. About 10% of the vines are Syrah, Counoise, Vaccarès, Bouboulenc, Mourvèdre and others, which are blended with the Grenache.
A hint of pepper
The legend stubbornly persists that the Syrah variety came from the Persian city of Shiraz. Yet, researchers have shown that it is a natural crossing of two old French varieties: the red Dureza from the Rhône Valley and the white Mondeuse blanche from Savoy. Wines from Syrah are gentle and concentrated. They smell of dark berries, violets and liquorice, and amaze with a piquant touch of white pepper. As varietal wines, they are found on the northern Rhone, as in the Hermitage or Côte Rôtie appellations, as well as in Swiss Valais. In the southern Rhône Valley, Syrah is often wedded with Grenache and Mourvèdre. In 1832, a Frenchman brought the variety to Australia, where it became the emblem of the national wine industry. There, the weightiest versions develop with typical notes of tar and chocolate.
The red Carignan is a heat-loving Mediterranean grape. It has a bit of everything over other varieties: more colour, more tannins, more acid. It is not easy to press a harmonious wine from it alone. Hence it is most often encountered as a blend partner, as in the Côtes du Rhône wines. In Spain it is called Mazuelo and is part of the traditional Rioja recipe. It provides the wines’ acidic backbone. The most exciting varietal specimens come from the slate slopes of the Catalan Priorat (named here Cariñena), from old bush vines in Chile or from Sardinia, where it is known as Carignano. When pressed properly, this oddball generates a lush bouquet of plums and dark fruits. Its origins lie in the northwest Spanish Aragon, near the town of Cariñena. The surrounding wine area is also named after it. In order to prevent confusion with the vine, it is called Samsó there.
Grenache seldom comes alone
Spaniards and Sardinians make the Grenache contentious: both claim it originated from their country. In fact, it had already appeared in both places by the 16th century. But a large number of mutations in Spain indicates that it has deeper roots on the Iberian Peninsula. The Grenache is meaty and spicy, with a wonderful, fruity sweetness and rich aromas of blackberry, cassis, plums and pepper. Under the name Garnacha, it contributes fullness to the Rioja. In Sardinia it is called Cannonau, where it yields strong, expressive wines. But its stronghold is in France. Grenache is the star in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and streams into many other assemblages from the south. Its preferred partners are Syrah and Mourvèdre. This blend is also very popular abroad. In Australia, these wines are simply called "GSM".
Rhône: northern power, southern charm
The Rhône’s source is in Valais, and it flows into the Mediterranean 800 kilometres to the south. In the last 200 kilometres of its course, it is lined with vines which yield a range of red crus that are among the most prestigious wines in the world – for example, on the spectacular cliffs of the Hermitage Mountains, or in the gravelly terraces of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The river valley, however, is also a rich source of characterful white wines and affordable, high-quality, everyday red wines.
France – Philosophy in a bottle
According to French philosophy, wine should be an expression of the soil and climate. They use the word “terroir” to describe this. Terroir makes every wine different, and many especially good. French wine is regarded worldwide as an expression of cultural perfection. The French believe that humans are responsible for the quality of the berries, the vine variety for their character, and nature for the quantity. This philosophy can be expressed succinctly as: “the truth is the vineyard, not the man.”