Monday, October 4, 2010

TN: Rhone Style Reds

I've been on a bit of a Rhone kick, and here are three Rhone blends from different regions. The most expensive at $20 of the trio, the Domaine Joncier 2007 Lirac Cuvée Classique, was also my favorite. At its core was intense perhaps slightly roasted fruit, but it had genuine structure and depth including the "garrigue" aromas of herbs like sage and lavender. This definitely has the structure to stay in the cellar for a few years which is rare at this price point. According to several sources, this is mostly Grenache with Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault and Carignan rounding it out in that order. Imported by Kermit Lynch.

The next two were less successful, however. The Alere 2006 Santa Barbara County Mourvedre was $12 on closeout. There was nothing wrong with it, but it just had very little character or intensity of flavor to it despite being grown in the hotter inland mountains of Santa Barbara County. This one had 10% Grenache and 5% Syrah added to the Mourvedre, though in the end it was rather generic. For the price, a fair value. Finally, there's the Château de Sérame 2005 Minervois Réserve du Château, which comes from the Languedoc region in Southern France. Minervois is a sub-appellation, or cru, in Languedoc that is sufficiently unique to warrant its own designation. This one was priced at $18, after some discounting. Unfortunately, it did not deliver. It was hot and bitter on the finish, though the 50% Mouvedre, 40% Grenache and 10% Carignan blend was initially quite promising.

What did I learn? Well, all these are wines from locales off the beaten path. There are some real gems like the Joncier Lirac from appellations that don't get a lot of attention. But you need some guidance. Skip the closeouts and just buy what Kermit Lynch stocks, even at full price. It's worth the few extra bucks.
  • 2007 Domaine du Joncier Lirac Le Classique - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Lirac
    Garrigue! Plus red and black fruits. A complete wine really. Sufficient acidity, red and black fruit attack, tannins and roasted herbs take over finish. A bit of dark chocolate, too. Really good wine at a very fair price! I suspect this is worth following over some time, 3-5 years if not a decade. Quite a classic French wine with the velvet glove/iron fist play going on.
  • 2006 Alere Vineyards Mourvedre - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
    Pretty much middle of the road. Medium body, med/high acid, and a bit light on flavor. A solid table wine. Some Mourvedre funk on the nose, but otherwise not much. A bit medicinal and vanilla on the finish. Not much style or varietal character, though it's perfectly acceptable as a table wine.

  • 2005 Château de Sérame Minervois Réserve du Château - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Minervois
    Problematic heat, though I like the blend of 50% Mourvedre, 40% Grenache, 10% Carignan. Gamey nose with oak spice, herbs and blackberry. Dark fruit flavor, a bit hollow in the middle, then an oaky, bitter and hot finish. Just way too much alcohol showing (listed at 14.5%). The finish is just aggressive and bad despite the interesting upfront characteristics.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Some of the best advice I've ever heard there...stick with Kermit Lynch.