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Rhone Wine Tasting at Wine 'n' Things Store in Raleigh - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 05-06-2011 09:19 PM

This was my first tasting at this store and my first time in the wine shop. If the tastings are all this good, I will be back for more. (Unfortunately the June tasting of Spanish wines which sounds interesting is occurring while I am out-of-the -state.) We had bottled still water available and helped ourselves from a buffet of hummus and chips, vegetables with dip, Havarti, Pecorino, Asiago, goat cheese and goat cheese Brie, cold cuts of pepperoni, salami, prosciutto, and capicola, and bites of canteloupe, honeydew melon, grapes, and pineapple. The new store owner was present and Alex Gray (or Grey?), a distributor for Country Vintner.

Alex gave a good overview of the Rhone regions (North Rhone, South Rhone, major AOCs, five types of soil, etc.) You may already know these facts or be bored by them so I will just note that he said the Rhone is the oldest wine region in France with vines being planted as early as 600 A.D. (maybe Thomas P. can verify) and it is the second largest wine region in France. It also has some of the oldest vines--Vacqueray has some vines 120 years old.

We had five wines--two whites, a rose' and two reds.
The 2009 VERGET VIOGNIER is made as a negociant wine with grapes sourced from about 15 different vineyards. This wine was more austere than some Viognier I've had and I didn't pick up the peach or apricot aromas I like in Viognier. Priced at $18.99 a bottle. It tasted dry with a hint of peach on the nose but absent on the palate. It was more deeply colored than the second white. Some liked this.

2009 FERRATON COTES DU RHONE BLANC offered at $12.99. I was getting two different versions of which two grapes were blended in this wine so will not list them. From Hermitage region. Biodynamic farming with no tractors, no machine harvesting, no chemical fertilizers (only compost), etc. A strong nose which I did not find appealing.
Another person said "bland."

2009 FERRATON TAVEL ROSE' $19.99. This was more enjoyable for me. A pretty salmon/coral color with transparency. Tavel is in the south near Avignon and is known for rose'. Medium to long finish. Red berries on the palate and pssibly some pomegranate. Delicate with some elegance.

Non-vintage LITTLE JAMES BASKET PRESS COTES DU RHONE $14.99 Great QPR (quality to price ratio) in my opinion. 100% Grenache grapes. Family has been growing grapes (or producing wine?) since 1570's. Located near Gigondas. Use solera method which is unusual in CdR region. 50% grapes from 2010 added to juice from ten past vintages. Use casks or large barrels. This was one of my favorites for the evening.

2009 MONTIRIUS VACQUERAY $27.99 Frothy when first poured. Uses 60% or more Grenache with Syrah and/or Mourvedre. This vintage was 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah. I initially thought it resembled the previous wine but as I continued to sip the distinctions became more obvious. I liked the Little James somewhat better but think perhaps the Vacqueray needs some medium-term cellaring.