LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – For background, see my article, “Switzerland’s splendid neighbour: Côtes du Rhône”. In October I tasted and discussed at length with winesellers and sommeliers and other journalists a sampling of wines from the Côtes du Rhône region.
Here are my notes on the whites and rosés (reds to follow). The first three wines are from the north, the last two from the southern part of the 200-km long Côtes du Rhône region.
The appellation is followed by the name of the bottle, vintage, winery name and the village:
white: Saint Péray, “Fleur de Crussol” 2009, winery Alain Voge in Cornas
From granite hills, vines over 60 years, 16 months in oak, 100% Marsanne, a wine that will age
Nose: very round, almost honey
Comment – love the nose, a very elegant and sophisticated wine but not for every taste
white: Condrieu, “Invitare” 2010, winery Michel Chapoutier in Tain l’Hermitage
Nose: the typical expected peach, but also with apricot, making it more interesting than some and with good minerality
Mouth: light, dry and long in mouth
Comment – A very fruity and gourmand character, expressive and exuberant although Chapoutier says this will go with time. A lovely, fresh wine.
white: Hermitage, “Chant Alouette” 2008, winery Michel Chapoutier in Tain l’Hermitage
100% Marsanne, bottle is named after the terroir
Nose: honey, but second nose is interesting with richer notes of hazelnuts, butterscotch and caramel
Mouth: good complexity and fresh despite the notes of honey
Comment – A terroir wine that is distinctive and to my surprise when I looked up the technical notes on the web site, only one-third of the wine is oaked with the rest matures in vats. Chapoutier suggests serving it with foie gras, crayfish,lobster or poultry in sauces, white meats, goat’s cheese, blue cheese, spicy dishes and curry. I would have to try it with the last two to be convinced, but the nose is rich enough to support these without the wine being heavy, so he mght be right.
rosé: Tavel, “Prieuré de Montézargues” 2010, winery Prieuré de Montézargues in Tavel
Blend from very small yields of Grenache, Cinsault and Clairette
Nose: citrus, exotic fruits, light cherries
Mouth: refreshing, harmonious, rich yet dry, a great example of a Tavel, one of the classic rosés
Comment – after writing the above I came across this press review page of the wine and had to laugh because it is reviewed by several major wine writers or publications, and to read about the nose you would think it is four different wines. So trust your own judgement here and enjoy it. I like Hachette’s suggestion here of having it with white meat, as I think it deserves more than most charcuteries offer. More delicate salmon colour than some Tavels. Producer Guillaume Dugas has turned to bio, quite successfully if this is any sign.
rosé: Tavel, “Dame Rousse” 2010, winery Domaine de la Mordorée in Tavel
Grenache is the main grape here, grown on sandy soil.
Nose: flowers, white fruits
Mouth: round and full-bodied, chewy, almost has the structure of a red
Comment – A much more vivid pink than some, a clue to its stronger character. It will accept aging better than most rosés