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Follow the Buyer! Paul Bressler
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Paul's Wine Selection - Charles Helfenbein La Syrah 2011 VdP Collines Rhodaniennes

Food PairingWhy I Bought ThisThe Story

I recently served the Helfenbein La Syrah alongside a slow braised dish of Lamb Osso Buco. I seasoned the lamb with dried herbs and used red wine as the braising liquid, cooking the meat in a slow cooker for four hours on low setting. Syrah is a very traditional accompaniment to lamb, and Helfenbein La Syrah is an excellent pairing. The flavors are big enough to stand up to the intense flavors of the dish, and also have enough acidity to cut through the unctuous texture that comes from braising meat on the bone.

Have you ever heard of the expression, “a wine tasted of a particular place”? That's what this wine did, and the place it expressed is the Northern Rhone. Helfenbien La Syrah is the real deal, with an Old World classic texture free from any flab. It's a medium to full-bodied wine that is taut, electric, and bright. Helfenbein's wine is full of flavor, with modest alcohol, deep in black fruit, black pepper and anise flavors, as well as soft tannins.

I believe the Helfenbein La Syrah is perfect for our customers. Here, we have a true Northern Rhone Syrah that can hold its own against the more prestigious appellations of the region, but without the high price tag. It's super with food, and can be drunk on its own as well. I've been buying this wine for my own enjoyment ever since I brought it into the store.

Charles Helfenbein is a Rhone Valley native, and has been making wine since 2007. He started the domaine from scratch with rented vines. Since then, he's purchased 150 acres, mostly in areas zoned for Cotes du Rhone. Eric Asimov recently lauded Helfenbein’s Brezeme Cotes du Rhone in his “20 Spring Wines Under $20”. I have tried all of Helfenbein's wines, and I found the La Syrah to be both a great value and fit for the store.

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