I love barbeque season - so many new recipes and wine:food matchups to try! After a few successful experiments, I have found Shiraz and BBQ Lamb to be a fabulous combo, and this evening the wine matches were spectatular! To serve with a boneless butterflied leg of lamb (Weber's Big Book of Grilling, pg. 195), I chose the two following wines:
2001 Chateau de Cazeneuve "Le Roc des Mates" Pic Saint-Loup (Languedoc, France)
2000 Elderton Barossa Shiraz (Aussie)
Ok, so I cheated on the Roc des Mates - it was 80% Syrah, 10% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre. Close enough. The Roc des Mates (the second Cazeneuve wine I have tasted) was sumptious and well balanced, with boutiful fruit, a good backbone, and velvety tannins. I suspect that this wine, the younger of the two, will get better, but it will be hard to wait! It was the favourite of my wife and our guests, but I was indifferent between it and the Elderton (in fact, it seemed the more 'Aussie' of the two). I highly recommend this wine. I paid approx. C$27, and I just ran out and bought the 2003 vintage.
On the Elderton, I have never been disappointed with the Elderton Shiraz, or any Elderton wine for that matter (the CSM is stunning). This wine was extremely elegant and well balanced, but (surprisingly) not as 'fruit-forward' as the French wine. I found the elegance of this wine made it a better foil for the lamb, while 'the Roc' was a better drinking wine. Note that this Elderton is now peaking, while 'the Roc' still has a few more years to go. I paid approx. C$29. I can't find this anywhere, but I will keep looking...
It should have ended there, but we had a friend drop by for wine after dinner, and we opened two more wines:
2001 Domaine Clavel "Les Garrigues" Coteaux du Languedoc
2000 Santa Duc "Les Garancieres" Gigondas
Overall, I was disappointed with the Gigondas - ratings of that wine are high, and it seemed a little unbalanced to my taste. The tannins were very firm - perhaps they will soften up over time - I will open my other bottle in two years. The Clavel was a great drinking wine, my last bottle of the 'Garrigues'. This is always a well-rated, inexpensive wine and worth seeking out.