A monthly review of an easily obtainable wine that’s had a recommendation somewhere in a National newspaper. Always posted just before the usual monthly theme, this may be the latest post for only a few days… [see note at end]

Syrah de l’Ardeche IGP 2014  –  12%  –  (M&S – £7.50)

This month is focused on my favourite wines (although you’ll have to wait another 3 or 4 days to find out why – and what!) So, as counterpoint, I thought I’d concentrate on a very popular style that is much lower on my list of favourites than for many people: Syrah.

That’s a bit of an exaggeration and most of my objection relates to Shiraz (New World) more than Syrah (Old World) and comes from my sensitivity to salt. Although the grape is known for blackberry and pepper flavours I often find a salty tang in the wine that I dislike, rather more brackish than a, somewhat related, mineral flavour which I find quite pleasant.

This example is obviously light-bodied with a nose of red fruit, garrigue herbs and an olive note later. The fruit deepens a touch to give stewed blackberry and damson.

The palate has a sharp attack – almost citric – with a sweet bramble fruit. The acidity gives the grip with only slight dry, woody, herby tannins. The wine is light and simple with sweet fruit and sour acidity separated. With food (Roast Lamb) the wine is improved (rather than improves!).

Overall a light, slightly thin, cheap (actually very cheap) and reasonably cheerful summer tipple. It has little Syrah character (if I had had to guess I might have thought of a Southern French quaffing Carignan made in a light style – from a local VRAC in Roussillon?!) but for this money what can one expect?

Ratings:     Quality:  13/20   Value:  14/20

This will be the last “Wine of the Month” in its present form – i.e. posted at the beginning of the Month and concerning an easily available Wine. From now on there will be occasional “review” postings of individual wines, but they may be at any time and indeed more than one may appear in any one month. Just follow the Corkmaster!