So after a short festive hiatus, our Find Your New Favourite series is back.
And whilst we're in the depths of winter, we thought it would be a good opportunity to showcase some bigger reds - absolutely made to be opened alongside a hearty meal with family and friends.
Syrah's native home is in the Rhone valley of France. The famous Hill of Hermitage and the steep slopes of Cote-Rotie produce some of France's finest wines, whilst down the river it plays a key part in the blends of the Cote-du-Rhone and famous village wines such as Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas.
Syrah is grown throughout the new world - notably in Australia's Barossa Valley which is home to some of the country's most famous wines (from the likes of Penfolds for instance). Grenache often plays the perfect foil, giving a boost of bright fruit to the peppery spice of Shiraz. South Africa too has some fantastic Shiraz to offer. We love the Mitolo, Jester Shiraz with it's aromatic raspberries and blackberries, rich mocha and white pepper spice!
We've picked out a few of our favourite wines to branch out with if you usually enjoy Syrah/Shiraz. You can also purchase them as a case of six which includes free delivery if you wanted to try them all. You can find that here.
Monastrell or Mourvedre in France is a big, meaty variety. It's often blended in the Southern Rhone to add a little extra oomph to the wines. Here it thrives in the hot climate of Jumilla, southern Spain. Full of ripe dark berries and a rich, full bodied texture that's verging on chewy, this is great with a roast beef dinner or a rich stew.
A classic Portuguese blend from Alentejo with a number of varieties including Touriga Nacional, Aragonez and Syrah itself. Silky smooth and full of juicy black forest fruits and toasted oak. The Portuguese diet is fish heavy, but a wine like this would do the job perfectly with a smoked meat sandwich.
La Sarabande, Misterioso Grenache/Syrah
Organic blend from Faugeres in the Languedoc-Roussillon. This area just south of the Southern Rhone is a little more Mediterranean in climate but uses the same classic varieties. A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, it's full of baked dark cherries, freshly cracked black pepper and leathery tannins.
Pinotage is sometimes seen as a crowd splitter of a grape. However, when it's done well as it is here, I think it's a great alternative to Shiraz. Created by merging Pinot Noir and Cinsault, it's full of vibrant red and black berry fruit. At Painted Wolf they use oak to add a spicy, toasty note to the wine. Great with chilli dishes.
Cab Sauv is one of the world's most popular red wines. Renowned for its dense cassis character and grippy tannins, Bodega Sottano hit the spot perfectly. The fruit is backed up by a lovely mocha and tobacco spice character. An ideal pairing with steak.
A rich, well-balanced, classic Aussie blend! Plush dark fruits with liquorice, oaky spice and a smooth, velvety finish. This hits the spot when you're after a solid fruity wine to open with friends over dinner. This would work really well with a rich, earthy dish. Something like an aubergine, mushroom and lentil chilli would be spot on.