Friday, November 21, 2014

Rhone Wines - Friday November 21st, 2014 - Hosted by Ms. Val and Mr.Rheinallt

Rhone Wines - Friday November 21st, 2014 - Hosted by Ms. Val and Mr. Rheinallt

Theme: Rhone Wines
Bring:  TWITs should bring $20 / person to cover the cost of the wines.  Our host and hostess will be hand-selecting the wines for us.
Information: The Rhône wine region in Southern France is situated in the Rhône river valley and produces numerous wines under various Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) designations. The region's major appellation in production volume is Côtes du Rhône AOC.  All things being equal, Rhone Valley offers far better value, but equal quality to Burgundy and Bordeaux wines.

The Rhone Valley terroir and varietals can be split by Northern Rhone vs. Southern Rhone.

The Northern Rhone Valley terroir is described as a Continental climate, gorge, steep limestone and shale terraced vineyards, all grapes harvested by hand.  Red varietal is Syrah (90-95%), White varietals are Rousanne, Viognier, Marsanne, (5-10%).  A lot of the winemakers use 95% Syrah and perhaps 5% Viognier in their wines.  The winemakers in the appellation Condrieu use Viognier.

The winemakers from the appellation Cornas have to use 100% Syrah.  We think this is because Cornas wasn't making very good wine until about 10 yrs ago, so they are sort of on "Syrah probation".  Cornas is a hanging valley.

Hermitage is considered the "spiritual home" of the Syrah grape, which is why wines from that appellation may cost more than wines from Crozes Hermitage (nearby appellation).  Cote-Rotie, Rotie means Roasted.  The welcome wine and the first 3 wines we tasted, were from Northern Rhone.

The Southern Rhone Valley terroir is more of a Mediterranean climate, similar to Languedoc and Provence.  Red varietals (13 allowed) Grenache (main grape 50-70%), and then the supplementary red grapes, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Carignan, and 8 others (30-50%).  White varietals are Rousanne, Viognier, Marsanne, Viognier, Clairette Blanche, Grenache Blanche, etc.  The appellation of Lirac is known for it's briny tasting wines (like sucking on an olive).  Tavel is known for it's Rose' wines.  Wines 4 through 8 were from Southern Rhone.  Cotes = slope, Coteaux = slopes (plural).

(CDP) Chateauneuf-du-Pape = The Pope's New Castle.  Not many people may know but in 1308 Pope Clement V moved the papacy to Avignon.  A total of 7 popes reigned at Avignon, all French.  They increasingly fell under the influence of the French Crown.  In 1377 Gregory XI moved his court to Rome.  This conflict gave rise to the Western Schism in catholic church, and France had a few "anti popes".  The popes in Rome wore white, and the anti-popes in France wore black. There are two different types of terroir in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  One is flat soil, the other is rocky, stony, galetes, which warms and cools quicker, and provides better irrigation also.

Cotes du Rhone AOC has 3 designations.
1) Cotes du Rhone - generic level, 100 miles, highly variable quality
2) Cotes du Rhone Villages (no name) 95 communes, better quality, rules about % of Grenache and Syrah planted.
3) Cotes du Rhone Villages (with a named village), 18 of the appellations are authorized to include their village name on the label, one of which is Sablet  (we tried one), and they have even more strict rules about % of Grenache and Syrah planted.

Garrigue - low, soft-leaved scrubland on limestone, kermes oak, lavender, thyme, white cistus, blows on the grapes.

Tasting Notes:
Welcome Wine:  2011 Crozes Hermitage les Champs Libres Blanc (13% alcohol) - $31
Marsanne varietal

1) 2012 Collines Rhodaniennes, GAEC Jamet (12.5% alcohol) - $22
butter, I can't believe it's not butter, rich, shortbread, nice nose, ground white pepper, lighter red fruits, dried fruit, silky, lighter, easy-drinking wine, subtle milk chocolate, creamy, clove spiced, pepper bomb.
good to pair with a meat that has no pepper.

2) 2009 Cote-Rotie Cuvee Classique 'Ampodium', Domaine Rene Rostaing (13% alcohol) $80
(he had this opened to breathe from 4:30p-8:30p)
fennel, tar, asphalt nose, cassis, well balanced, lingering finish, floral, chewy, delicate edges, but big! more rounded, you can roll off it.  big full flavor with delicate edges like frosting, is it worth the extra $?  TWITs say yes!

3) 2008 Franck Balthazar Cornas Chaillot, Rhone (13% alcohol) $50
herbs, pickles, dill, briny, peppery, tickles the nose, it's more bold of a wine, dry wine, like you can taste the skin of the grapes, this one you can kind of escond yourself into the cracks, it stays with you longer, torrid.

4) 2010 Domaine Saint Gayan Cotes du Rhone (14% alcohol) $15
GSM blend, traditional classic Cotes du Rhone style blend,
apples, caramel, easy drinking wine, medium fruit, bit of stinkiness

5) 2012 Domaine Les Genestas Cotes du Rhone (14.5% alcohol) $19.99
fresh soap nose, cloudy colon turbidity, viscous, thicker, toasty, olive oil, tart, bitter, marshmallow toasted, most interesting palate, heterogeneity (lots of variation), citrusy, lemony bouquet, garni, crazy different, black licorice

6) 2010 Chateau Du Trignon, Sablet, Cotes du Rhone Villages (14% alcohol) $19.99
*Rh thought this one was corked, but we tried it anyway.  you can see the photo of the cork compared to a non-breached cork below.
cake nose, nursing home hallway, wet, medicinal funk, tart, oxidized
Replacement: # 6) 2010 Domaine de L'Espigouette Bernard Latour, Plan de Dieu (14.5% alcohol) $18
Plan de Dieu means God's Plan.
garrigue, herbal, changing gear oil, black licorice, gasoline, tar, petrol, savoriness, earthy, raking dried leaves, crunchy, bitter after-palate, berry, herbaceous nose, good acidity

7) 2012 Domaine Bertrand Stehelin Gigondas (14% alcohol) $36.99
dry, musty, cloisters, leather bouquet, saddle sway, barnyard, chickens, she was a good cow, jammy mouth,

8) 2011 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Mas de Boislauzon (13% alcohol) $49.99
(castle of new pope)
rich nose, thicker, this you can latch on to, chewy, elegant, bold leathery

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