“ Brand: J.P. Chenet „
So everyone be honest, how much red wine did you drink over Christmas? Well I can safely say I had a good few glasses, ahem, yes and the rest. So over Christmas I sampled various red wines, some bought by myself, others ones that other people had brought to places I was drinking and we shared. One of these wines was this one, J.P. Chenet Classic Cabernet-Syrah. I had a few glasses of this and took note of exactly what it was I was drinking so I could give it a review.
I often think that many people buy a bottle of wine simply due to the picture on the label or in this case, the shape of the bottle. The Chenet red wine comes in a rather funky looking bottle that has a sloping neck. I must admit I have seen it in the shops before and be tempted to buy it simply as it looks rather interesting. So having been impressed with the look of the bottle, what about the wine contained inside?
Well the wine is made up of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes and so the taste is quite deep and fruity. I quite enjoy Cabernet Sauvignon wines but am not overly keen on Syrah wines. The two mixed together create an interesting taste that is not unpleasant at all. At first taste the wine gives a nice fruity flavour, but the aftertaste is not all that nice. I would say it is slightly bitter and not really that great. After drinking the wine for a while the bitter taste seems to disappear at it becomes quite mellow.
This wine is not over powering and I imagine it would be quite nice with a Sunday roast. Drinking it on it's own though it seems to get a little bland and is not something I would buy if I was looking for a wine to drink on my own. When it comes to price this one is usually quite reasonable, I have seen it for less than £5 on a few occasions although if you buy it at standard price it would probably cost around £6.
Overall then the J.P. Chenet Classic Cabernet-Syrah is a decent wine without really being anything special. For the price you pay it's not overly priced and it's a decent enough wine if you are drinking it with food. For people who are quite new to drinking wine then this one would probably be a good one as the taste is quite mellow and the wine is certainly an easy drinking one. For people who have been drinking red wine for longer though and have developed a taste for certain kinds of wine, then this is probably one to avoid more often that not, unless of course you are a fan of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
J P Chenet Cabernet-Syrah is a fruity and nicely balanced red wine from the south of France.
Until relitavely recently I wasn't the biggest fan of red wine. Under the persistent tutelage of my French girlfriend and her family I have developed somewhat of a taste for it.
J P Chenet Cabernet-Syrah comes from the Languedoc region of France, close to Marseille. At 13% abv it is towards the heftier end of the scale for wine. The initial taste is quite a strong, dry, alcoholy one which quickly mellows out to reveal subtle notes of dark fruit, blackberries, blueberries and grapes (of course!). I usually prefer a soft drink to accompany a meal, but this wine goes excellently with steak or other beef dishes.
The wine has a slightly syrupy feel to it, so much so that I usually add a dash of cool water to mine (much to the disgust of my girlfriend and wine buffs everywhere, I'm sure). I actually think you can taste the composite flavours of the wine better with water, as it takes the treacle like edge off the wine. The fruity tones seem to come through stronger like this.
J P Chenet Cabernet-Syrah comes in quite a quirky and original bottle with a crooked neck and a dimple in the side of the bottle. This is to aid ease of pouring allowing you to pinch your thumb and forefinger into the dimples at the bottom and side of the bottle and pour easily with a one handed motion. Sounds complicated but is actually quite easy and looks quite impressive when you are serving guests.
Price wise J P Chenet Cabernet-Syrah is actually pretty reasonable. It is usually around the £4.00 mark in Sainsbury's and for the money is a very nice drop indeed.
One final thought as we approach summer: J P Chenet Cabernet-Syrah is excellent for making a summer wine cooler. I have concocted my own and include the recipe below, give it a go!
100ml of J P Chenet Cabernet-Syrah
25ml of Crème de Mures (Blackberry liqueur) or Cassis (Blackcurrant liqueur)
50ml of water
Plenty of ice
It's a simple enough concoction and gives Pimms a good run for its money in the summer drinks department. Cheers!
My fiancee and I have recently moved house, before we even made our beds we had bought a new wine rack that houses sixty (count them 6~0) bottles of wine. This was important to him because he feels he is somewhat of a conoisseur. I try to tell him that being in a wine club doesn't make you Jilly Goolden but he won't have it.
So anyway, we decreed that in order to keep the rack full, every weekly shop we did, we should buy three bottles of wine (on special offer only) to supplement the quarterly case delivered from the wine club.
So, three weeks ago, the weekly shop fell to me and JP Chenet was on offer, three bottles for a tenner or six for £19, not bad I think!
I bought one red, one white and one rose. I really have to say I enjoyed every one of them. For a £4 wine (when not on offer) this really is a decent drink. If you're a true wine sniffing, swilling and spitting purist, then I imagine it's probably not for you. However, if you just enjoy sitting on the patio with a chilled bottle of something not too special or fancy a night in front of the fire with a red that didn't break the bank, this is perfect.
The wine itself is fruity, you can drink it with food or without. (The white and rose are lovely but I'm mainly talking about the red) It is mellow and easy on the palate- not like a rioja which is strong tasting and not to everyone's taste, "easy drinking" which is a term I dislike but seems to describe it well.
We have chosen this wine for our wedding for the simple reason that most people will find it pleasant, the hardened wine fans among our guests may find it a little bland, but those who would normally drink lager or somesuch will find it inoffensive.
If red wine is my passion, then mass producing wine companies are the oversized cotton pyjamas that kill it! Chenet is an example of such a company, who seemingly relish in the destruction of everything good about wine. Gallo, Blossom hill, they all do it. You see, the creation of wine is an art. Winemakers are paid obscene amounts of money to create their masterpieces, and it has long since been my opinion that these mass producers undermine what they do.
A winemaker knows his grapes, knows what the current years crop are like, and creates a wine based on the characteristics that this seasons fruit have taken on. By this, I mean that different weather conditions, for example, create a different tasting fruit. Warm weather will create a sweeter fruit, with fuller flavour. Colder seasons will create shorter, more bitter fruit. The key to the art of wine, is to know what to do with these to create a great drinking wine, not just to bung them in a vat and produce gallons of offensive muck.
Chenet is probably one of the better ones, though. J.P. Chenet operates out of the Languedoc, in the south of France. Although they produce many different types of wine, the cabernet-syrah is probably the best. It rises majestically, like a pheonix from the ashes, to sit proudly on the top branch of the mediocre tree. It is not a great wine, but it is in the very least drinkable.
Why do we mix a few different grapes together to make a blend? To understand this, we must first take a brief look at the grape types involved.
Sauvignon is derived from an old French word for savage, or wild. It is known as a colonizer, as it takes over wherever it is planted. And it grows almost everywhere. The grapes are small and thick skinned, and the thickness of the skin directly effects the type of wine it creates. Thick skinned grapes are very rich in tannin. It is this that creates a dryness, and is essential to create a full bodied wine. It naturally creates flavours of blackcurrant, and tobacco.
Syrah is the french term for this grape, hence Chenet uses it. It is also know as shiraz. It is a grape that adores heat, and has a very deep colour. This is noticeable in the wines it creates. It, too, is thick skinned, and tannic in nature. It compliments Cabernet well, due to this and has been used to create some of the most complex, and exquisite wines in the world. It naturally gives off spicy flavours, as well as red fruit. It gives a wine a very good nose.
So, we blend grapes to give a wine characteristics of both grape type. In this case, we get a fuller bodied wine, with a deeply complex mix of flavours. The Shyrah is added if nothing else, to give these wines a fantastic aroma.
The Chenet definately achieves this fantastic bouquet. When you pop the cork, you are instantly hit with a rich, and fruity nose. Deep, and enticing, it has definite notes of red fruit, and a slightly peppery hint too. As we pour, which is made easier by Chenet's funky shaped bottle (its the one in the shops that looks like it has melted.), we see the Syrah's, deep ruby red colour.
It is in the drinking, that this wine is let down. And given that you most likely bought it to drink, rather than smell, this is a major fault. We know that the grape mix is a classic, and makes for a great wine. But for some reason, it just doesn't work. I think it it is because these poor little grapes have been robbed of all there complexity, having been grown in such a ferocious manner. It is drinkable, without being stylish. First swallow is a bit of a chore, as you do taste the alcohol first. Not a good thing, as you should be tasting the fruit. As you get past the first few swallows, you start to notice the flavours. Blackcurrant, such a feature of both grapes, is highly noticeable, as are the spicy notes given by the syrah. It is a very earthy wine.
The wine does not deliver the ummph that it should. It is no more than a medium bodied red, when it should surely have been full. I believe Chenet has purposely over-ripened the grapes, to make them sweeter, and therefore more widely saleable. It is a crime to compromise the wine, in order to make the wine softer, and easier for the novice to drink.
As a wine, this promised so much, and delivered so little. Yes, it is pretty cheap. You should not pay more than about £4.50 for a bottle of this. But there are so many better examples, for little or no extra. For only a pound more, you could have a go at the rather excellent Kumala cabernet shiraz. The chenet just does not do enough for me, and although it may do far BBQ drink, that is not why I drink wine. I drink wine to enjoy it, and if I don't think I will enjoy it, I dont drink it.
If you do buy this wine, it would be best served at room temperature, and served as an accompaniment to grilled meat, or curries. Anything that has a bit of spice to it, will be complimented by the syrah of the wine.
Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon (70%) and Syrah (30%). Origin: Vin de Pays d'Oc, southern France in Languedoc-Roussillon. Colour: Ruby red, intense and clear. Nose: Notes of cherries, blackcurrants, green peppers, licorice and spices. Taste: A round, pleasing wine with powerful aromas.