Tuesday, May 08, 2007

2005 Les Jamelles Syrah

A few weeks ago I exchanged a few comments with Alder at Vinography about French wine. My studies in finance have instilled a deep sense of 'reversion to the mean', and it is my contention that just as the wine media and blogosphere are together predicting the 'death' of French wine, we are actually seeing the start of a French renaissance.

Of course, the French wine doomsayers never really referred to the First Growth Bordeaux or Premier Cru Burgundies, but the 'Vin de Table' - the sea of inexpensive, and largely forgetable, jug wine. With the wine world chugging Yellow Tail by the gallon, the French have had two choices - uproot the vines or compete. Hence the introduction of Fat Bastard, Red Bicyclette and the like - wines that are heavy on the fruit and oak, and mention the grape on the label.

And so we come to tonight's wine, a simple Vin de Pays (see the Doktor for some recent commentary on VdP). The 2005 Les Jamelles Syrah is a 'Vin de Pay d'Oc'. With its Mediterranean climate and long history with Syrah, how appropriate then that this region should lead the French counter-assault with inexpensive, quaffable Shiraz and Grenache-based wines. This wine was an attractive purple/cherry red, and exhibited a nose far beyond its modest price - spicy, with liquorice, cinnamon, pepper, and tea, enveloped in an earthy, oaky aroma - some blackberry and green pepper as well. On the palate it was light to medium-bodied, smooth and balanced, with big fruit and agreeable tannins. Hearty, interesting, but a short finish - drink now. A perfect after-dinner sipper, it would also make a great party wine. Outstanding at this price, I think the French have learned their lesson, Oz. Even more amazing, only 13% alcohol. Well done.
Score: 15.5/20
Price: C$12.45 (SAQ)

My wife raved about Les Jamelles before she saw the price, so it was good fortune that I happened upon this wine tonight. I have had the Les Jamelles Sauvignon Blanc and it was such a nice value that I thought I'd give the Syrah a try. Remember the name - I have seen it on a few restaurant lists.



Brooklynguy said...

Very nice post. I will definitely keep my eye out for this wine. Everyone needs a good under $15 beauty. This one sounds like a find.

Joe said...

If you are a traditionalist, you may be disappointed, but if you can appreciate a more modern-styled wine for what it is, this is a winner. Should be easy to find - Cheers!

Marcus said...

Hey, now I feel bad for disallowing under $15 wines in WBW 33 (which is less than a week away, by the way). In fact, one of the original limitations on WBW 33 was going to be no international varietals on the label -- no "anodyne vin de pays" varietal wines. Glad I didn't go that far! Les Jumelles Syrah sounds like a case in point for Midi varietals (maybe you could say you were overcharged and submit it to WBW 33).

I just retasted the Domaine Campradel Merlot. Unbelieveably good. I did my original review here and I would add on a few superlatives after this week's tasting. And I know your wife will like this: only $11.85!

Joe said...

Funny you should mention that - after I posted it I realized I should have referenced WBW 33, but then I realized it was ineligible. I have not tried the Campradel, but (like the Monplaisir) I will get to it.
As for my wife, cheap is good, but even better is not buying at all. She thinks we should run down the cellar a bit...

Anonymous said...

Having stumled across the Les Jamelles Syrah 2006 I am snapping up every bottle I can find (can't it selling by the case anywhere?). For 4 quid it's a stunner.

Joe said...

4 quid sounds like C$9-ish - a bit cheaper than here, but no tax at our shops so maybe the gap is not so bad. At either price it is a great find, and a wine to buy by the case...thanks for your comments.