Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Foncalieu 2017 Réserve de l'Abbé, Côtes du Rhône

Yearn for tasty wine but have a tiny budget? Check out the immensely satisfying Côtes du Rhône region.

Reserve de L'AbbeA River Of Wine

The Rhône Valley in France is our type of place. Ninety-five percent of the wine produced is red, mostly from Syrah and Grenache.

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There are famed wines coming out of the region, especially from the Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie appellations. More than half of the Rhône Valley’s wine production, though, comes from Côtes du Rhône.

The Côtes du Rhône (CDR) covers a wide area, mostly in the south. That means the primary grape is Grenache. Other red grapes produced in the region are: Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Carignan, Counoise, and Picpoul.

We judge Côtes du Rhône wines to be quite delicious. They also can be had for a very nice price.

The Abbey’s Reserve

We found the Réserve de l'Abbé at Great Grapes in Cary. I was restocking our everyday wines, looking to score wines with high QPR (Quality Price Ratio). Knowing you almost never go wrong with CDR, I snagged the bottle. The price for the Réserve de l'Abbé ranges from $9 to $14 and is a great value.

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The vineyards for this wine are on the right bank of the Cèze River. Before the 18th century, the Catholic Church owned a large proportion of the vines and the cultivation and production was in the hands of the monks in the monasteries.

The abbé or abbot is in charge of the monastery and the best wine was reserved for church leaders. Foncalieu sells much of its wine to bulk merchants, but like the abbeys of long ago, they save the best for themselves. This nice reserve bottle blend of Grenache and Syrah is the result.

If you want to age your wine, head to Bordeaux or Burgundy. Like most CDR wines, this is ready to drink now. It has pleasing red ripe berry flavors and nary a tannin in sight. It’s easy drinking. It will work well with a variety of light entrees, but we find it to be an ideal sipper all by itself.

Réserve de l'Abbé  is light and breezy – a good “pop and pour” wine but with a plentiful dose of French class. We rate it highly on value and taste.

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