Côtes Du RhoneTwo to try!
|Mont Ventoux dominates the area and it wasn't too pleasant on top when I arrived|
A Little History
The roots of Côtes du Rhone go back to the 17th century though it was not until the middle of the 19th (both banks now planted!) that the plural came to be used. Finally in 1936, the reputation was formally recognised, and the Appellation officially made its debut on 19th November 1937.
The Mistral wind - Ventoux is the windy mountain - is both renowned and feared in Provence and was at its worst in 1956. Wind speeds of 100kph and temperature of minus 15 degrees crucified the area. The olive trees perished in their 1000s but the vines proved more resistant. After that, the farmers bet on the winners!
No less than 22 varieties are allowed in the AOC but often just three - Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre - are used. Others that may figure are Cinsault, Carignan, Bourboulenc, white Grenache., Marsanne, Roussane and Viognier.
Grenache, which offers fruitiness, warmth and body, is resistant to wind and drought, so most red wines of the southern C-d-R are Grenache based. In the AOC, it must be a minimum of 40% Grenache. Both the excellent wines below are well above that minimum.
Santa Duc Les Vieilles Vignes, Côtes du Rhone (AOC) 2012, 14%, €15.60 Le Caveau
The average age of these old vines is 40 years. Colour is between medium and dark. It is slightly cloudy but, don't worry, this is natural as the wine is unfiltered. Jammy red fruits feature on the aromas. The smooth and full palate shows big ripe fruit flavours, tannins at play here but with little bite, good balance; longish finalé and Highly Recommended.
The blend is 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre. The mix will vary from year to year. The fruit comes from the Rhone villages of Vacqueyras, Rasteau, Seguret and Rouaix and the wine is technically a Côtes du Rhone Villages in everything but name. Production is organic.
Chateau de Bastet Terram, Côtes du Rhone (AOC) 2014, 13%, €15.20 Mary Pawle Wines
No herbicides, no pesticides. This is both organic and biologique and the blend is 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah. And note that the recommended serving temperature is 14 degrees, quite appropriate as this is a delicious summertime CdR!
Colour is ruby, the liquid attractively bright in the glass. Jammy red fruits on the nose and then lively red fruit flavours on the palate, a nice light spice too, rounded tannins, fresh acidity but well balanced for sure. Very clean and accessible and Very Highly Recommended.