Really? The Rhône? Why?

Social media hashtag of the moment #Rhoneweek17; interest you or not, you probably haven’t managed to avoid hearing about it such is the drive and enthusiasm of followers and organisers alike.

Do you think the shamrock is actually a vine leaf?

Do you think the shamrock is actually a vine leaf?

So what is it? Why do we, as a nation have such a love affair with the wines of the Rhône Valley? The juiciest ‘myth’ is that St.Patrick himself bought Syrah to the Northern Rhône… We know he had a talent for dispensing of snakes, but distributing Syrah?!

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Perhaps our love of the Rhône is simply down to the range of styles. From the rich, warming Grenache based wines of the South to the austere, age worthy peppered Syrahs of the North. If red’s not your game the whites are as varied. Vigorous Viogniers lending peachy appeal and engrossing complexity to the North. Rounded Roussanne reminding us of our native gorse flowers and blended with a host of mineral led structuring varieties in the south. There is something for everyone.

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Some say the best wines of the Rhône from producers like Clos des Papes in the South and Ogier or Clape in the North can age as well as those of Bordeaux. Fans of the region’s most famous wines advocate the abilities of the great Syrahs to open like a flower after years in bottle, lending spicey complexity from grape and terroir rather than oak at maturity.

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From Friday on and off trade establishments across Ireland are holding tastings, events and dinners for 7 days. Producers, winemakers and Rhône enthusiasts are flying in to take part. Look it up here https://rhonewineweekireland.com . The events cover all tastes and budgets. Don’t always be pulled in by the big names; The Château Pesquié tasting at Greene’s in Cork promises to be an evening focussed on firm terroir talk and fantastic food. Simon Tyrrell is spicing up customer’s lives at Monty’s of Kathmandu whilst pairing wines from the Rhône with Nepalese food. Pepper and spice and all things nice…..

Highlight for wine aficionados has to be the big tasting at Ely on Thursday 9th. After those who ‘taste wine for work’ have finished there’s the fun-filled, merriment of a consumer bash in the evening. Though rumour has it this has already nearly sold out!!

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Having been offered a decent stash of wild venison this morning, one thing’s for sure; there’ll be an autumnal celebration of Rhône in this house… the only difficulty being; which commune to chose?!

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