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Cant find a red wine I like!


Abbaye

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Hi folks, it has occurred to me that possibly the only things I miss from the UK are fresh cream and Shiraz wine.  The cream is no big deal, but the wine, well thats another story.  I have tried and tried to find a French alternative but I cant (Minervois seems the closest) ... any suggestions ... I like my wine as dark inky purple as possible, the fuller bodied the better, smooth and strong!  All suggestions enthusiastically tried out!

Bon Annee!

Mandy

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You can buy Australien shiraz at the big supermarkets.  The French version, syrah, is about too in blends.  If you look back to the post about beaujolais I believe it was Will who mentioned  a wine he didn't like....well, they do the syrah blend which OH says isn't bad.  J.P.?????? or something.

When I go shopping tomorrow I will look.  Is it JP Bladet?

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Hermitage.

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JP Bladet sounds familiar ... I will investigate .... is the Hermitage, Crozes Hermitage?  Its a Cote du Rhone isnt it?

Since posting this it has occurred to me that a little tripette to a wine cave might be the go ... there is a big one in St Malo i see and no doubt numerous others, some of which can be visited in time .... ooh I feel a little fun on its way!

Keep the suggestions coming folks....

Thanks,

Mandy

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Crozes-Hermitage is a much larger appellation than Hermitage; the wines are not as concentrated. They are indeed in the Rhône Valley.
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As said above, Shiraz in the New World and Syrah in France are the same grape under slightly different names. From your description I think you'd enjoy a good Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but that's rather expensive; some of the cheaper ones aren't really up to much. You'd probably do better for everyday drinking going for a Côtes-du-Rhône Villages from a village near Chateauneuf-du-Pape (i.e. the Avignon area), many of these have a very similar flavour and body. Make sure its from a nominated village or estate bottled, many of the standard Côtes-du-Rhône are much lighter and of inferior quality, some are blended.

Pucette's recommended Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage (from a little way up river from C-d-P) are definitely well worth trying, they are not cheap either but probably contain more Syrah grape than any other French wine (most of the rest of the Rhône, including Chateauneuf-du-Pape, is strong on Grenache, a similar but paler grape). However, none of the French wines apart from a few of the most expensive have quite the same strength and weight as the Australian Shiraz varieties.

Rioja is certainly rather similar, made from the Tempranillo grape (which only seems to occur in Spain and Portugal), very full bodied and heavily oaked in its best versions. You do see it occasionally in Northern France, often as part of a 'Spanish food' promotion.

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The closest to Australian Shiraz you are going to get from France are the Languedoc and Rousillon Syrah dominated blends. These will be closer in style than anything from well known areas of France such as Bordeaux and Burgundy and better value than northern Rhone wines (Cote Roti, Hermitage, St Joseph, Cornas etc.).

The big difference is that these wines only meet the new world half way. While they can have the equivalent ripe concentrated fruit the big difference is that the Australian and other new world wines tend to have much riper tannins. As a broad generalisation this makes Ozzie Syrah softer, sweeter and appear fruitier with the French wines being a touch harder.

Graham

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If you like shiraz, then I would bet you would also like malbec, many of the Cahors wines have this grape as a base, and good ones are still cheap: my favourite is Chateau du Cèdre , but there are many others.  I think you may be finding the French wines have a different character to those of the New World, both are an acquired taste, but stick with it.  Vive la difference!

Regards

Simon

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The JP whatsit that you mentioned is almost certainly J P Chenet who do a very quaffable vin de table in characteristic squiffy bottle.  One version contains a Syrah/Cabernet sauvignon blend.  I dont know if it is fruity enough for you.  Bog standard supermarket Cote du Rhone is a another reliable quaffer but you would find that not fruity enough.  Try one of the C de Rhone Villages - Gigondas or Vacqeyras for instance.  Alternatively go for a Chateau Neuf du Pape.

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Keep em coming ... keep em coming .... this is great. Thanks folks for all the suggestions.  I am of the opinion that Im not going to find a similar substitute and not being an anglo foodie (ie. my cupboards are full of french food, not english), I will no doubt have to moderate my taste around to a french equivalent.  As one of you said, although it is possible to find a full bodied French red, most other than the very expensive will be harder than the New World versions.  I agree that Cahors and Minervois are full bodied and gutsy, have not tried the Hermitages but will.  I bought a Chilean Cab Sav the other day ..... yuck! vinegar!

Its a case of hitting on something that suits you isnt it.  Rest assured, I will search high and low!

Sante,

Mandy

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JP Chenet is actually France's biggest-selling wine brand, though it's nearly all for export, and you see less of it in France itself than many other brands. I believe it goes down well in the USA. It's a blended wine, like the much maligned Piat d'Or, Vieux Papes etc, hence looked down on by the wine buffs. But as it's so cheap it has to be worth trying - you might just like it. From what I know about the reds I don't think they would match your wishes. I don't personally like the red Chenets. Before I'm identified as a snob though I think the Chenet whites are actually very good, and the rosé isn't bad either, so don't write off the brand.
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Yes, it was Chenet.  Wonder where I got the other name from?

I am not a red drinker and Gilles drinks Cote de Rhone usually.  It is me who buys the vin though and I have found that the Super U recommendations are usually very good.  Or so he says!

Keep on looking ..... you won't be wasting so much money here if you don't like it....and there is always casserole.

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 have not tried the Hermitages but will.  I bought a Chilean Cab Sav the other day ..... yuck! vinegar!
 
In the UK Chile offers some of the best value at the moment so perhaps you were unlucky.
 
Hermitage is expensive because the land is hard to work (it's a steep hill) and the yields are low (or should be!) and there isn't much of it. If you buy some be prepared to splash out and, most importantly, choose a good grower or producer. Most Hermitage is also made to age so will be quite hard if drunk too young. It's also an area where vintages are important, at least compared to Australia.
 
Graham
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Yes, I also think Languedoc Roussillon wines are more likely to be what you would like. They are also my favourites, but in England I tend to buy South American Malbec. This summer we found a really nice wine with the label Roche Mazet and it tasted more like a South American Malbec than any I had tasted before - but I'm afraid I can't remember what the grape variety was - either Cabernet or Syrah, I think.

(This wouldn't post with a quote, so I'll do it without a quote and see what happens.
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