Posts Tagged ‘Rhone’

Things are going well here in Minnesota as I celebrate my one year anniversary. School is starting up again in a couple weeks and I hope to maintain the part-time job I landed for the summer.  Concurrent to my studies, I am working as an Interior Design Assistant at a retailer of home accessories.  Interacting with clients, educating them as best I can in the art of effective home design and trying to make a place for myself with this wonderful local company.

I am still surprised at the tremendous disparity in the pricing of wine(s) between Canada and the USA; even regionally within both countries, there is a huge range of factors that determine the final sticker shock. In Ontario this bottle runs ~$16; in Manitoba ~$18, Minneapolis ~10, San Francisco ~$7, various wine shops in Paris ~€3.

Southeastern France, as we all know, is a huge producer of all sorts of vinos.  The Perrin Family owns Chateau Beaucastel, sources its grapes from many small local vineyards, and is one of the premier cellarers of Chateauneuf-de-Pape.  I have yet to sample a CdP so as soon as I am lucky enough to try one, you can bet there will be a posting about THAT!!!

This vino displays a rich garnet color in the glass and decent density of berry freshness on the nose.  The forward palate is ripe and round with strawberry and structured earthiness while on the back-note, there are hints of spice and tobacco smoke.  Finishing with a moderate length, the alcohol becomes rather evident as you swallow.

Not too bad, remarkably consistent versus previous vintages. It is mostly Garnacha/Grenache blended with Syrah and character-adjusted with various other regionally approved varieties.  Pairs well with everyday foods such as hamburgers, meat-topped pizza, and even a grilled NY Strip!




**image credit – Google Image search. makes no claim to ownership of the image and republishes under Fair Use Provisions for product review and critique.

In my studies with the Vintners Quality Alliance, there lies within Ontario several “sub-appellations”: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Pelee Island, Prince Edward County just to name a few.  Grapes from the vines cultivated in the unique soils/terroirs of these sub-appellations carry with them the essence of everything in this wondrous dirt.

The sub-appellation of Costères de Nimes within the major region of Rhône is one such example in that most southern part of France.

Your vinoboy suggests slightly chilling this wine before tasting, but PLEASE not too much.  Intensely colored, floral and herbaceous nose, powerful mouth feel and an open, refreshing airy gasp of dried lavender on the finish.

The structure and balance of this vino makes it a perfect pair for exotically-spiced grilled chicken and veggies.  We’re actually crusting our chicken breasts with the famous Saffron restaurant’s Chef Sameh Wadi Spice Trail Exotic Blend Middle-Eastern blend.

LCBO/Vintages ~$14/btl   Cheers to Summer!!!



**image credit: republished via WineAlign – makes no claim to ownership; image used under fair use provisions for review and critique

Old World to be sure; the E. Guigal Estates and its  combined 390 hectares (889 acres) of vineyards lie on some of the most anciently cultivated viticulture spaces in all of France.  The layered terraces and dramatic slopes have been growing grapes and  producing wine since the time of the Ancient Romans¹.  The 12th-century fort on the estate was made habitable in the 16th century and remains an historic site as well as the winery’s headquarters².  Indeed many of the root-stocks that still produce fruit are in excess of 100 years old³! The cellars of the Guigal estate also house vintages from several other producers; most notably the Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

For an unworthy vinoboy to find this last bottle on the shelf in the Vintages section of my favorite LCBO was indeed a treat. I’ve been tasting most of my new entries blindfolded.  I carefully ponder all the non-visual aspects of a vino and as I ramble and consider, my vino-friend takes notes.  I wasted no time in sharing this vino with my foodie- and vino- friends; and especially for this review, I was blindfolded throughout most of the meal.  (call us all insane, but I assure you, ther WAS a reason.)

I HAD been informed that tonight would be a low-and-slow-cooked (as in 8 hours!!!) venison stew.  The aromas filling the house were mouth-watering and complex as I sat with my foodies and vinos in the lounge.  The slow-cooker was producing meaty flavors of game, onions, Bay Laurel, and loads of Provencale-style herbs.  Dinner was called, the blindfold (in advance of the vino tasting) applied, to the dining table led and a glass placed in my hands.

On the nose, a combination of black fruits and spices gaves an almost peppermint bouquet to the vino in my glass.  I’m experiencing a full-bodied rich palate with big juicy salivations of licorice & earth blending yummily with opulent infusions of violets and cocoa. The linger feels modestly long without any forced intensity.  Whatever this vino is doing, its completely wonderful.  Once I’d stopped rambling about the wine, the blindfold was removed, a laugh was had by all as my seeming silliness and both stew and wine polished off in their entirety.

The Guigal’s suggest drinking the 2006 vintage now for optimal flavors and characteristics.  It has been rumored that this and the soon-to-be-released 2008 vintage can be laid down for upward of 10 years!  If  I find a bottle of either next visit to the boozatorium at ~$17/btl, I will most assuredly grab it.  It MIGHT be cellared, it might be shared – hard to say. *wink

I certainly hope to encounter the 2006 again, though and I am balancing my anticipation of the 2008 upon the edge of my glass.



**image credit – the winery; edited for space limitations and republished under fair use provisions for review and critique.

Not at all a consumer of the nasty NASTY schlock called White Zinfandel from a winery who shall not be directly named, I otherwise hold most proper rose wines in a place of reverence.  So… I search long for roses that carry a very definite mark from the wine maker. At $20, and not knowing much about this French winery, I thought  I’d give Jean Olivier’s Chateau d’Aqueria TAVEL 2009 a try. The winery, which dates to the late 1700s, is located on the upper-west slope of the Rhone River Valley about 100km north of where it enters the Mediterranean Sea.

Primarily Grenache and Syrah, the deep ruby color and powerfully sweet bouquet of this Tavel is very reminiscent of a strawberry liqueur. That’s where the sweetness ends and this rose truly bursts to life. On the palate, the wine is beautifully crisp and dry with chewy flavors of strawberry and cherry. There is a complex mineral finish that took me quite a while to put my finger on –  just a certain something that lingered so long on the tongue.

I had this with sweet and spicy bbq pork ribs. Try it also with a Veal Scallopini or Crackers & Goat cheese h’ors d’ouvres.

A Saunte!



*images credit – Chateau d’Aqueria – fair use provisions for review and critique