'Jekyll & Hyde' Food Match: Balsamic Glazed Beef Ribs
Date Posted:9 September 2016
Jekyll & Hyde' Shiraz Viogner is our Wine of the Month for September.
Inspired by the book 'Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde', 'Jekyll & Hyde' is a strangely interesting wine. Similar to its namesake, 'Jekyll & Hyde' made of two distinctly different personalities, Shiraz and Viognier, married together to create a unique wine.
We asked Hugh to shed some light on this fascinating wine:
Where does this blend originate from?
The blend of Shiraz & Viognier originated in the northern Rhone region of France. Grapes in earlier times (up to the late 20th Century) were propagated from cuttings taken from dormant vines in winter. The two main grape varieties from this region were the red Shiraz grape and the white Viognier grape. (The strict AOC (Appellation d'origine contrôlée) laws are very rigid in and France do not permit a wide variety of grapes to grow in certain regions). When vines are dormant, it’s very difficult to tell the variety of the vine, so once it is planted out and matures, the grapegrower would often have a surprise with some white grapes in their Shiraz vineyard. Not wanting to waste grapes they would pick all the grapes which meant there was a blend of red & white grapes in the wine. This is known as a ‘field blend’.
Why do these wine varieties complement each other?
Fortuitously, the two grapes go well together. My own theory as to why is it is all to do with the tannins in both grape varieties. Shiraz is reasonably tannic and Viognier, unlike most other grapes is very tannic. Blended together the two tannins seem to soften the wine, plus there is the added bonus of perfume fragrance from the Viognier which seems to blend well with the plums, spice and liquorice of the Shiraz. This combination also seems to ‘fix’ the colour of the wine. The Shiraz-Viognier can often have a longer life than straight Shiraz.
What is co-fermentation?
Co-fermentation is the two grape varieties picked and fermented together. There are two other ways that a Shiraz-Viognier can be made: (1) Shiraz grapes can have an addition of Viognier skins, the Viognier grapes having first been crushed and the juice drained off for the purpose of making white wine. (2) Some finished Viognier wine can be added to finished Shiraz wine at pre-bottling time. Both of these methods do not seem to result in a totally integrated and satisfactory wine as the more traditional method of co-fermentation with whole Viognier berries.
Why is this special? Doesn’t everyone do it?
More people use Viognier in their Shiraz than you might think. We know that it is regularly used by some winemakers but they don’t always mention it on the label. The volume added is always less than 15% so there is no requirement to disclose this information. But in these cases, the Viognier isn't fully integrated with the Shiraz. 'Jekyll & Hyde' is different because the two grapes are married together right from the beginning.
What does 'Jekyll & Hyde' taste like?
This wine is rich yet balanced; plush yet firm; with an unashamed emphasis on the perfume garned by co-fermenting Shiraz with Viognier. We also like using the word ‘plush’ for the 'Jekyll'. But that doesn’t mean soft, necessarily, as our seriously good fruit has a serious structure to match. The tannins from both varieties meld together and underpin the spicy, rich fruit, leading to great length and balance. So plush means even and velvety, but not without power.
James Halliday recently awarded 93 points in the 2017 Wine Companion, here's what James Halliday had to say:
"The vivid colour reflects the co-fermentation of 9% viognier; the impact of the viognier almost changes the flavours of the shiraz from black to red, creating a juicy mouthfeel in so doing. It?s arguably a little OTT with the percentage of viognier, but even so, the result is hedonistic. Drink by 2034"
For the month of September, we are removing the two bottle limit for Black Sheep members! Don't miss out on your chance to stock up. We won't be repeating this offer so hurry and get your orders in before the end of September.
Not a Black Sheep member? Here's your chance to try 'Jekyll & Hyde'. You can purchase up to two bottles during the month of September and see what all the fuss is about. This offer is only available until the end of September so don't miss out!