MCF Rare Wine

BBQ Wine, Southern French Style
I know that I start a lot of my emails this way...

'I'll never forget the first time I tasted...'

I know it sounds a little corny, but your senses (for me, it's taste and especially smell) can really cement memories into your mind - they can mark an experience like nothing else.

So, that's why I do it, especially when referencing a wine that really stood out as just so perfect for that moment.


The first time I tasted today's wine, Faillenc Sainte Marie's 'Syrhconference de Presse', was back in the days when I was working at my Uncle's shop in CT.  He'd tasted this wine and had committed to a large chunk and he was very excited about it.

I kept hearing him recommend it to people who were looking for a bigger red and he kept saying 'You know, the best wine in the store right now is that Corbières Syrah over there...perfect with a hearty meal.'

I took him at his reco and tried to sell as much as I could to anyone whose tastes or meals required a big, spicy red (but one that was also a nudge in balanced and terroir-driven direction).

Back in those days, spending $15 (or whatever it was at the time) was a bit of a splurge for my 22 year old self, so it wasn't until much later that I got to taste it.

I was at my parents' house, and my dad was just about to pull a bunch of ribs off of the grill after 8 or so quiet hours in the smoke.  He told me to grab some wine.

Knowing the incredible amount of flavor that his ribs deliver, I knew I needed something substantial.  I glanced over the wine rack and there were 2 bottles of the Syrhconference, which I excitedly grabbed.

The wine was just perfect.  It had more than enough size and breadth to handle all the smoke, spice and sweet that were being thrown at it, with deep red and dark fruits and plenty of spice of its own.

What was so perfect about it, though, was the balance it retained thanks to its fresh acidity.  It still had the ability to keep your palate rather refreshed - which is an attribute you should never overlook.

Ever since then, this has been one of my favorite wines to recommend for cookout season.  The price is right, and the wine will rise to any challenge that the grill can throw at it.

French Syrah begins in the Northern Rhone where, yes, it's most noble and sought-after incarnations come from.  Up there it's all about structure and the loads of savory, feral, intensely mineral character.

As you head South into the Southern Rhone, the red fruit begins to emerge, though the spice, leather and mineral structure remain.

Once you get down into the Languedoc, the dense fruit really begins to speak the loudest, but, again, what makes Syrhconference so lovely is the fact that it's not just another sticky fruit bomb from the South.  It's powerful, but also has life...and plenty of spice and pungent earth, but at the edges, there is an airy, perfumed sense of beauty to it.

So here's an easy pick no matter if you're diving into a stew when a chunk of bread in the winter, or you're showing off your grilling skills on a Summer evening.

Actually, it's also a continuation of the 'Age-able-for-Under-$20' concept, so the best thing to do would be to buy a quantity, drink some with your fired foods this Summer and then work your way through the rest come the rich foods of Winter.

It'll only get better over the next 3-5...

Matt Franco
MCF Rare Wine, Ltd
249 West 13th Street NYC 10014