Showing posts with label Cotes de Rhone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cotes de Rhone. Show all posts

Friday, December 5, 2014

Jingle Bell Rhone. Two for the red stocking

Jingle Bell Rhone
Two for the red stocking
Fountain in memory of a local troubadour
at the entrance to Vacqueyras

Remy Ferbras Vacqueyras 2013 (Rhone, France), 13.5%, €10.00 SuperValu.
Colour is ruby red and cherries stand out in the inviting mix of aromas. There is a great balance between lively fruit and spices plus a hint of liquorice, impressive blend, full bodied and rounded and a good bottle to have on your table at this time of year. Very Highly Recommended.

Regulations governing the AOC allow the use of up to 22 grape varieties but the three main ones in Vacqueyras rouge are Grenache (at least 50%), Syrah and Mourvedre, hence the term GSM wine,often tossed about by experts to the confusion of us amateurs.

Vacqueyras is one of eight villages in the Southern Rhone that has its own name as the AOC name. The others are Rasteau, Vinsobres, Gigondas, Beaumes de Venise, Lirac, Tavel and Chateauneuf-du-Pape and all eight are regarded as Crus.

The village itself is small and tree lined. Indeed, when I called there a few years back, the canopy of leaves had the centre in deep shade in the early afternoon. Looked a bit unreal.

Vines in the Southern Rhone

Chateau Goudray, Seguret Cotes du Rhone Villages 2012, 15%, €10.00 SuperValu
This is another of the Rhone’s GSM wines (we’re learning fast!). Minimum ABV for Seguret is 12.5% so this is comfortably above that! Hillside Seguret, like Vacqueyras, is a village in the Southern Rhone but, unlike its neighbour, is not allowed to go solo on the label. It can only append its name to the more general Cotes du Rhone Village labels, a step down on going solo but a step up on the basic Cotes du Rhone.

This too has an inviting fruity aroma and a ruby colour. Another very handy one for the Christmas, it is fruity, spicier than the Vacqueyras, well rounded, well balanced (no hint of that higher alcohol), dry, and with a decent finish. Could be an interesting match-up with that new local spiced buffalo by Eoin O'Mahony in the English Market. Again, Very Highly Recommended.

The World Atlas of Wine says that Seguet develops quickly. You've been warned!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011




Bought this bottle after a tasting at the producer’s shop in the pretty village of Beaumes de Venise. Spent part of the morning on top of a foggy Mont Ventoux (6 degrees), seeing (through gaps in the cloud) the sunshine in the valleys below (26 degrees). It stayed fine as we drove through the Dentelles to Beaumes. It was a good sunny day and this turned out to be a good buy.

The grape variety mix in the area is Grenache 50%, Syrah and /or Mourvedre 20% minimum and other grapes authorised in the appellation 20% maximum.

In appearance it is a rich red while the nose finds a rich mix of ripe red fruits and local herbs. This is a big wine on the palate, warm and full bodied with the fruit and spices. It is an excellent mouthful, not at all shy and the team of tannins keeps it all well balanced.

This particular bottle was put to good use with some excellent local products - see the previous post.


Beaumes is one of the 8 Crus of the Southern Rhone and has been so since 2005. The grape mix here is slightly different from the Plan de Dieu and is: Grenache 50%, Syrah 25%, Mourvedre and other varieties authorised by the Appellation 20% maximum and white grape varieties 5%.

This was another very enjoyable holiday purchase that reached Ireland but didn't last for too long! It has a very rich red colour with a quite a nose of red and black fruits and spice. The palate is somewhat smoother than the Plan de Dieu and it is full bodied and well balanced with some excellent work form the smooth tannins.

Another fine example from the Rhone and a little step up on the Plan de Dieu.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


The hype on wine labels never ceases to amaze me. Take this for example, from an ordinary Beaujolais-Villages: “ a dream,...a poem, or perhaps a symphony”.
My notes for this Pierre Ponnelle 2009 Beaujolais Villages were more down to earth. Leave the orchestra out of it; the string quartet will do nicely!
Colour: Light cherry red.
Nose: Tame fruit.
Palate: Light red fruit flavours, simple, easy drinking dry wine, smooth and nicely balanced with not a bad finish at all. The grape is 100% Gamay and ABV is 12.5%. Rating: ***
They say “it is .. richer than any other types of Beaujolais”. But we don’t believe everything we read on the back label. Do we?
It didn’t always have such skilled defenders as today’s PR firm. Gamay was once banned. Duke Phillip the Bold took a dislike to it back in the 14th century. But it grew its way back. The revival really took a hold in the 1960s when local grower Georges Duboef promoted, with great success, Beaujolais Nouveau.
That usually arrived in November, still does but to much less fanfare, and was meant to be drunk young and that applies to much of today’s Beaujolais (Nouveau or otherwise) though there are exceptions.
Not overly keen on this fairly average one and you, and I, would do better to find a Beaujolais Villages with the village name on the bottle – see the map (click to enlarge).  A wine made from the grapes from one of these villages is called a Cru Beaujolais, and the AOC label will name the village.  It will be a little bit more expensive but not overly so. Must say I do enjoy one every now and then, especially in summer time.

Much the same goes for Cotes de Rhone Villages. Get one with the village name on the bottle. I hit the jackpot here with a Christmas present: Chateau de Marjolet 2009 Laudun, Cotes de Rhone Village, Cuvee Tradition, 14.5% ABV, Gold Medal winner Orange 2010 ****.
(This present got mixed with others so I don't know who gave it and canl;t ask where they bought uit. Jay Fox of  has been in touch: "its hitting Ireland in about 3-4 weeks. I'll be stocking it.")

Marjolet is “an independent producer” in the village of Laudun where some of the region’s finest reds are made. Hugh Johnson has praise for it in his 2011 writings: Most happening area, bundle of good wines,...., all very drinkable.”
On the evidence of this Laudun, I agree with him. Colour is medium red with an aroma of red fruits (strawberry and cherry). On the palate, it is peppery, juicy, medium bodied and well balanced and rich with a pleasant lingering finale.