The Père Anselme also went well with some dark chocolate

What makes this wine great?

November 3, 2020
2 mins read

The first in a regular series where amateur wine connoisseur PETER GRIFFIN introduces us to some of the wines he loves – and explains what makes them great.

What makes this wine great? – Père Anselme Reserve De L’Aube Rouge 2018

The Domaine Grosset vineyard of Chateauneuf-du-Pape winemaker Brotte


I was standing in Moore Wilson’s wine section in Wellington, scanning the shelves for a cheap bottle of red to go with some lamb shoulder slowly roasting away at home.

A permanent resident at Moore Wilson’s is the Caravan Durif/Petite Syrah from Australian winemaker Quarisa, a favourite of mine and clearly many others too (Vivino rating of 3.7 with 7517 ratings). I was about to reach for a bottle of this great wine – which I’ll feature in an upcoming instalment – when I noticed the man standing next to me.

He was taking bottle after bottle of a neighbouring wine off the shelf and putting them in his basket. He noticed me watching and gave a sheepish grin.

“My wife loves the stuff,” he said. “She’ll kill me if I don’t pick her some up.”

He headed for the check-out and I picked up a bottle from the depleted stock he left behind. It was the Père Anselme Reserve De L’Aube Rouge 2018 made by Brotte, a winery based at Chateauneuf-du-Pape in the southern Rhone Valley. The label told me that it was a Syrah, Merlot and Petite Sirah blend from the Languedoc-Roussillon (Pays d’Oc) region of the South of France.

The place of popes

The region spans a famously beautiful stretch of the Mediterranean coast from near Avignon, the home of Popes for much of the 14th century, all the way west to the Pyrennes and including Montpellier and Perpignan.

The perfect accompaniment to slow-roasted lamb

It’s a region known for its affordable and quality red blends with the likes of Cabernet, Merlot, Mourvedre, Grenache, and Syrah used in various combinations.

The De L’Aube Rouge is a Vin de Pays, which means it is a step up from French table wine, but beneath the Appellation d’origine protégée (AOP) classification that tightly controls where the grapes of wine are grown. The grapes are grown on young vines.

At $13.95, the price was right. I got home to the mouthwatering smell of slow roasting lamb, paprika and cumin and uncorked the wine straight away to let it breathe.

I poured a glass. The Père Anselme has an unusual light red colour, almost like an aged pinot noir. Straight away, on the nose, you get a hit of raspberries and maraschino cherries. There’s also a hint of tobacco and pepper.

The Père Anselme also went well with some dark chocolate

Raspberries and toffee

On the palate, it is sweet red fruit and this delicious toffee note from the French oak. It isn’t as fruity as I was expecting, particularly given the age, but is beautifully balanced with a medium finish. I wouldn’t say it has much complexity, just a satisfying mellowness to it.

Someone I shared another bottle of it with said it tasted like candyfloss. It isn’t as sweet as that to my palate, but that rich caramel taste is what makes the Père Anselme stand out as a classy wine and fantastic value at that price.

I love that feeling when you discover a wine that you instantly love, but which doesn’t cost a bomb. Sure, I could drink Te Mata Bullnose every night, but at around $50 a bottle, that’s not an option.

2018 was a great year for Rhone Valley Syrah. Photo: Brotte



I bought a case of Père Anselme at $12.95 a bottle and have enjoyed it with steak, pizza and roast chicken as well. It is particularly good with spicy food. It’s also great drinking on its own. 2018 was an excellent year for grapes in the Rhone Valley and it shows in the Père Anselme, which gets a 4.1 star rating on Vivino from 552 ratings.

My rating: ****½

Bottom line: If you are looking for an easy-drinking budget Syrah with more going on than your typical French table wine, this is one to check out.








Avatar photo

A longtime science and technology journalist and advocate for rational evidence-based debate, an innocent glass of pinot noir sparked Peter Griffin's 20-year love affair with wine, a badly catalogued wine collection and pilgrimages to some of the world's best wine regions. Read more on Peter here:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Give a little to support Witchdoctor's quest to save high quality independent journalism. It's easy and painless! Just donate $5 or $10 to our PressPatron account by clicking on the button below.

Witchdoctor straight to your inbox every 2nd week


Advance Paris - Designed with French flair. Amplifiers, Streamers, CD players and more
Previous Story

Klipsch The Fives Powered Speaker REVIEW

Next Story

Time for NZ to ban telcos from phone locking?

Latest from Food & Drink

Korero Te Reo

PHIL PARKER is all for embracing diversity, especially when it comes to wine varieties from all over the world.
Go toTop