Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chateau Maris Organic Syrah 2007

Waitrose is running their French Wine Showcase at the moment, where a selection of French wines are being sold at 25% off. I went in to see what was available, and there are a few interesting ones - notably a few from the Languedoc.

This is actually a Syrah/Grenache blend, from the biodynamic estate Chateau Maris. It's claimed on the website that this is from the Minervois AOC, but it's labelled as Vin de Pays d'Oc. I guess this blend doesn't satisfy AOC regulations, which is absolutely fine.

There is a lot of wine here for the price. It's very fruity, lots of alcohol (15%), a bit grapey (their website includes ' stewed fruit' in their tasting notes - accurate I'd say), but backed up by some good tannins. It's obviously a warm-climate wine and it's really enjoyable. I'd say it's the first red I've enjoyed for a while (although I've hardly been drinking any reds recently). My budget is tight these days, but maybe I can squeeze in a couple more of these.

Organic Syrah 2007 Vin de Pays d'Oc
Languedoc-Roussillon, France
£6.74 (£8.99)


  1. Just had half a bottle of this - it's pretty good, and I agree is a decent mouthful of fruit and astringent tannin. It has virtually no unpleasant aftertaste, always a good sign. I'd mark it down to 3 as it lacks balanced depth/complexity - a little too young/fruity tasting on the one hand, a tad sharp on the other if you see what I mean.

    Got this in the Barbican Waitrose French promotion along with a couple of the Alsaces and a fizz. Was tempted by some other reds – Gigondas and Jaboulet Rhones, and also a Chinon. Loire reds can be pretty special I think if you get the right ones and I do like a good Rhone, although I've not been able to replicate a fabulous heady Gigondas we had on holiday in the French Alps a while ago.

  2. Marc,

    I tried the Chinon and didn't like it. I've never been a huge fan of Loire reds, although I did have an interesting Bourgueil from Oddbins - it was very tannic.

    Which fizz did you get? I had the Samur - it was pretty good and the Cremant de Bourgogne my favourite non-Champagne sparkler.

  3. OK Tim - will steer clear of the Chinon. Got the Cremant de Bourgogne - had various versions before and it is good. My wife has decided that fizz is the main thing (for her) to drink now and keeps coming back from Lidl with a box of cheap Prosecco. She will drink a good white though and Alsace/Riesling is preferred but pricy.

  4. By the way, I had the other half of the Maris tonight - I try and discipline myself to half a bottle a day particularly if it's strong. It tasted better than yesterday - the tannic edge was softer – and is another wine of several reds I've had recently that has this pleasing quality the day after. I used the vacu-pump thingy to get most of the air out though.

  5. Marc,

    Do you think the vacu-pump thingy makes a difference? Isn't it the air contact that would actually soften the wine?

    Let me know if any of the other Waitrose wines you got are any good. I'm going to try a couple more but not as many as I'd like!

  6. I reckon if you just recork a red it can go off pretty quickly. The vacu-pump takes a lot of the air out but not all, and obviously the bottle has been open for a while, which is enough to soften it up a bit for drinking again say 20 hours later.

    I think it may also be a good idea to decant wines such as the Maris and let them breathe properly for an hour or two. But who has the time...

    I remember my father often played a clever bluff with us - he'd open one very good and one less good red, and put them in two decanters. Then he'd pour himself a bit of one. Of course we all went for that too, but he'd craftily switch to the other when we weren't looking...

    The others we have are whites - I'll keep you posted.

  7. The Maris has a brief review in today's Observer that gives a not so subtle hint about drinking it with a solid meal:

    'This is a big syrah... it is monumental stuff: heat-baked and fruit-driven, it needs a large piece of roast meat or a hearty vegetarian stew to show its best.'

  8. Marc,

    Interesting read. Have you tried the Lillian Ladouys? It's pretty good and it is a good bargain...