Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cotes du Rhone Rule

The best value in French wines may be found in the Rhone. Eighty percent of the wine in the Rhone region are called Cotes du cdr Rhone and this term can be used for wines made anywhere in the region. The grapes used are typically Syrah, Grenache and Carignan.

Now your local wine store is making it easier than ever to purchase a taste of this classic French winemaking region. A blind tasting was held at Walt Churchill’s Market in Maumee on Saturday, October 10, and a tasting of Rhone wines is scheduled at Corks in Maumee this Thursday and Friday (October 15-16).

At Churchill’s Austin presided over a blind tasting of four Cotes du Rhone with prices ranging from $9.99 to $15.99. The four featured wines were: Grand Veneur 2007 CDR Reserve ($15.99) Wine A; Domaine le Vieux Lavoir 2007 CDR ($9.99) Wine  B; Kermit Lynch 2007 CDR 'Cypress Cuvee' ($15.99) Wine C;  and Chateau de Segries 2007 CDR ($13.99) Wine D.
The bottles were bagged and no information was available until after the flight was completed.

The Grand Veneur made a nice start to the tasting, but made no lasting impression. The Lavoir tasted of black cherry and to me and Green Dragon tasted superior to the Lavoir. The Kermit Lynch has a nice flavor of black berries. My favorite was the Chateau de Segries with its lighter body, well balanced cherry flavor.

My top two were D and B while my wife chose C and B. You can read the final results on Austin’s blog. This was a pleasant surprise on a couple of levels. My first choice was also the winner of the blind tasting. After reading the results of the blind tasting, I checked the wine rack. When I visited Churchill’s a week ago Austin had recommended a nice Cotes du Rhone, which I bought. It turns out is was the Segries. I’m looking forward to uncorking it very soon (maybe before I finish this post!).

On another note, it is great to see how affordable a nice bottle can be.  At less than $10 a bottle the Lavoir has great QPR (quality price ratio).

The upper end of the price scale is nice too. Austin served up two upper end Rhones, the grand finale being a $100 bottle of 2005 Chateauneuf-du-Pape from Chateau de Beaucastel. This is a symphonic blend of Mourvedre (30%), Grenache (30%), with lesser amounts of Syrah,  Muscardin, Vaccarese and Cinsault. This is an extraordinary wine with a soft, velvety feel and a complex bouquet.

Photo by Hajime Nakano.

1 comment:

Austin Beeman said...

Glad you were able to make the wine tasting. I hope to do another blind tasting very soon.