Blend: 90% Grenache Noir, 5% Mourvèdre, 5% Clairette.
The 2012 Gigondas les Terraces de Diable is outstanding. Made from roughly 85% Grenache and the balance Mourvedre and Clairette (which also makes its way into the Racines) and coming all from the upper, cooler terraces of the appellation, it exhibits ample garrigue, dried spices, dried soil and toast to go with medium to full-bodied richness, beautiful depth and richness and building, fine tannin. It picks up a salty minerality with air, and while already drinking nicely, will benefit from short-term cellaring.
The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.
Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.