Syrah * 75cl * 13.5% ABV * Côtes du Rhônes, France
Cave de Tain are one of France’s best known and most modern co-operatives. Once a byword for cheap, mass-produced bistro wines, modern co-operative wineries are, in fact, beacons of excellence in both their member relationships, modern winemaking equipment and quality of winemaking. The Crozes-Hermitage appellation is really the Cave de Tain specialty, since the co-operative produces nearly 50% of all Crozes-Hermitage made. That sounds like a recipe for ‘large volume, low quality’, but the reverse is the case – the Co-op actually benefits from being able to choose grapes from such a wide area in a notoriously inconsistent appellation. Aged in oak barrels for twelve months with around 30% of those barrels being new, this is a delicious, peppery, smoky Syrah that is immediately recognisable as a classic Northern Rhône wine.