Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rhone Tasting at San Diego Wine Company

I was looking for my notes and realized I had not written about the last tasting I attended at San Diego Wine Company. On Thursday, 11-Dec-2008 I met up with my friends Elbert and Cory for a selection of Rhone wines to be tasted (well mostly Rhone... there were a couple of exceptions). While primarily known for its reds the Rhone Valley is home to both reds and whites. The Rhone Valley is roughly divided into a Northern Rhone and a Southern Rhone region with more of the whites coming from the Northern Rhone and made from Viognier, Marsanne, and Rousanne (the last two typically blended together). For interesting Viogniers check out the Condrieu and Chateau Grillet appellations. As for reds (which was the object of this tasting) the star of Northern Rhone red is Syrah (check out the appellations Cote-Rotie, Hermitage, and Crozes-Hermitage). For the Southern Rhone the reds are blends, typically Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre (with others). Here the powerhouse appellation is Chateauneuf du Pape which is allowed up to 13 different varietals to be blended.

For this tasting the following wines were tasted (along with a few notes of mine):

  • Les Deux Rives 2006 "Corbieres Rouge" - not a Rhone wine but from the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Made with traditional Rhone grapes (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre with a dash of Carignan). While this wine has a spectacular pedigree it just didn't do anything for me.

  • Domaine Grand Nicholet 2006 "Rasteau Villes Vignes" - Yum! Double the price of the Duex Rives yet still under $18 this was a wonderful wine. Inky-black in color and juicy, big fruit, this wine seemed like a cross between a French Grenache and an Aussie Shiraz. This came home with me.

  • Domaine del la Charbonniere 2006 "Vacqueyras" - again didn't do anything for me. Next.

  • Chateau Fortia 2006 "Chateauneuf du Pape" - Now we're talking again. Beautiful dark red wine, hints of violets, raspberry and spice on the nose, wonderful fruit and tannins. Beautiful wine for under $30.

  • Bosquet des Papes 2006 "Chateauneuf du Pape" - Nice. Hints of cherry and pepper with a medium-bodied delivery on the tongue. I prefer the Fortia though, especially at the better price.

  • Pierre Usseglio & Fils 2006 "Chateauneuf du Pape" - I was really looking forward to this, but after a beautiful nose it was like a flash in the pan. In my handwritten notes I have "All talk, no action".

  • Domaine de la Charbonniere 2006 "Chateauneuf du Pape" - Wonderful wine, like biting into ripe fruit. A broad mouthfeel, soft tannines and low acidity makes this a fantastic experience, though we're getting out of my usual price range.

  • Cuvee de Vatican 2006 "Chateauneuf du Pape" Reserve Sixteen - Beautiful nose, promise of dark berries and vanilla, oak, and a touch of lavender. Soft, silky tannins and a lovely long finish. Stellar.

  • Le Vieux Donjon 2006 "Chateauneuf du Pape" - We're really hitting some consistency with the wines at this level. Cedar, current, black plum with an undertone of earthiness that I loved. Juicy.

  • Domaine du Pegau 2005 "Chateauneuf du Pape" - concentrated, almost rustic at times. Interesting on the tongue, almost as if there was a dry center wrapped in a sweet, juicy layer of fruit. Wonderful experience, but at $75/bottle I have to say I enjoyed others at least as much for quite a bit less. Maybe it just needs a little time for me to pry open my wallet at this level.
  • No comments: