Many of the best wines of the world are blended wines. Blending wine is both a culinary art and a scientific undertaking. Blending wine improves the taste of the final product by bringing together varietals that complement one another, that provide balance and finesse and that help to define a particular style of wine. Red Bordeaux wines for example are typically a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Not all Bordeaux red wines contain all of these varietals but all are composed of some sort of mixture of two or more of these varietals.
Similarly, the Southern Rhone is famous for blending varietals, with Chateauneuf-du-Pape immediately coming to mind. Up to 13 different varietals are permitted in the assemblage in this famous appellation. Two other well-known blends that find their original home in the Rhone are Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre (affectionately known as GSM) for red wine, and Roussanne Marsanne for white wine. Both of these blends are magical; a full range of styles can be produced depending upon the characteristics of the constituent parts and the imagination of the winemaker.
South Australia, and in particular, the McLaren Vale is blessed with a Mediterranean climate. Summers are hot and dry while winters are cool and somewhat damp. These are ideal conditions for the culivation of the wine varietals of the Rhone: Grenache, Syrah (Shiraz), Mourvedre, Roussanne and Marsanne.
On offer this week are the 2014 Gilligan wines, made by my good mate Leigh Gilligan and his son Sami. To produce the red, they blended Shiraz, Mourvedre and a small portion of the white wine Marsanne (to help lift the fruit aromas). They were not pleased with the Grenache and decided to exclude it from the blend. The white wine produced is a blend of Roussanne (83%) and Marsanne (17%). Both of these wines are finely crafted – rich in the mouth and delightfully satisfying. Both wines are truly an artisan effort: hand-picked grapes; hand-sorted bunches; use of small basket press; skilful use of oak, and very limited production.
The 2014 Gilligan wines are available for immediate delivery. There are only 30 cases of red and 20 cases of white available. To order, simply e-mail or call 416-463-4677.