Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Crus of the Côtes du Rhône

Crus of the Côtes du Rhône.
Take Three. More If You Like!
Vines under the Dentelles in Provence.
Dentelles means lace

Taking a look today at three wines from the Rhône. The first two are from the northern Rhone, the third from the south. All are crus of the Côtes du Rhône in the same way that Gigondas and Condrieu, for example, are. All three examples, currently featuring in the SuperValu French Wine Sale, are pretty good, though my preference is for the Vacqueyras. By the way, there are 16 crus in all along the Rhone.

Croze Hermitage rouge Etienne Barret 2012, 12.5%, €10.00 SuperValu

Hermitage is perhaps the most highly regarded of the Northern Rhône villages and Croze Hermitage is a larger area that surrounds it and covers 11 communes. You'll pay a premium for the Hermitage wines but there is some class in this one also. Fruit aromas and spice on the nose and there are clear black fruit flavours on the finely textured palate and then a good finish. Highly Recommended.
They suggest pairing it with lamb and red meats generally. We found it a great match with Comeragh Mountain Lamb. (Just pure chance that we had some handy!).

Saint Joseph Les Chapponnes 2012, 12.5%, €12.00 SuperValu
The Saint Joseph area is on the opposite bank, more or less directly opposite Hermitage and, like the Croze Hermitage above this is made from one hundred percent Syrah. Color is a deep red and there are fruity aromas. On the palate you have the darker fruits (plums and tart black currants) and some pepper in a smooth mouthfeel, the finish good and long. This bottle was tested over two nights and on the second tasting, the blackcurrant dominated as the plum had on the first. In any case, the wine is Highly Recommended.

Vacqueyras Domaine St Roch 2013, 13.5%, €12.00 now down to €10.00 SuperValu
The Southern Rhône is mostly in Provence and Saint Roch is located in front of the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains (hills really) between Vacqueyras and Sarrians and close to other famous wine villages such as Gigondas and Beaumes de Venise, all under the gaze of white topped Mont Ventoux. It is the classic GSM blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.

This dark red has fruity aromas and hints of liquorice. There is an excellent balance of fruit and spice on the palate; it is full-bodied, round and robust, with a nice texture and a good finish and is Very Highly Recommended.

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