Friday is a great day to check out the Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art, the site of the Wine By the Glass Pavilion wine tasting series. Toledo may be the only place you can sample a tasting of fine wine while enjoying a glass blowing demonstration.
All the grapes are hand-harvested and pressed. The main grape is Grenache but others include Syrah, Counoise, Cinsault, and Carignan. Grenache produces medium bodied wine with a raspberry or strawberry tones. It is very easy to drink and is popular in Spain as well as southern France. The Piaugier wines are made from whole bunches. Leaves are removed but the bunches are not destemmed. Most of the red wines are not filtered.
Four wines were on the tasting menu, the first was Sablet Côtes du Rhône Villages Blanc, made with fairly equal parts of Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Roussanne. Our wine host, Adam Mahler, said he got flavors of kettle corn from this unique wine. The wine was enjoyable, but wasn't remarkable in our opinion.
Next up was Les Ramieres,this is an easy drinking and affordable blend of Grenache and Merlot. It had a slight tannin structure and I got some nutiness in the glass.
La Grange de Piaugier Côtes du Rhône was our next sample. This is a field-blend, which means that the different grape varieties are grown in the same field as opposed to being harvested from separate vineyards and blended at the winery. This wine is primarily Grenache, along with Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Carignan. This was my first sampling of Cinsault. Adam informed me of something that sounded odd -- but tasted delicious. This wine was aged in a cement tank, which apparently is a traditional Grenache method. The wine had medium body, was very pleasing and reminded me of Malbec. It had a jammy (but not sweet) flavor. My wife commented on the long finish.
We wrapped up with Sablet Côtes du Rhône Villages Rouge. This is 75% Grenache and 25% Syrah from 40-year-old vines. The Grenache is aged in a cement tank and the Syrah in barrels. My wife (aka Green Dragon) got floral notes on the nose. This was medium in body with little tannins yet a bit more tartness and cherry. This seemed less dry than the other reds and had a perfect balance.
It was a nice way to cap an artful evening.