Wine Talk

Snooth User: zufrieden

The Humble Côtes du Rhône and copies thereof throughout the globe

Posted by zufrieden, Nov 28.

One of the few real bargains left in France are found in the southern Rhone and Bouche du Rhône and fall under the appellation Cotes du Rhône and Cotes du Rhône-Villages.  These wines are delicious whether red or white, and are still affordable at good price to quality ratios.  Their copies in Australia, South Africa, Australia and North America are also worthy.  What are your favourites in this category and why?

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Reply by zufrieden, Nov 28.

It is that time of year... a month before Christmas, plus or minus a day or two.  I often buy CdR-Villages as gifts because such wines are relatively accessible to anybody of modest means.  You don't need a fat wallet to buy and enjoy these wines, and it is always good if you buy something of high quality that can easily be found and enjoyed again by the recipient of your largesse.  I note, for example, that Gabriel Meffre Plan de Dieu 2016 is on sale nearby, and I just might stock up for friends and, of course, yours truly himself!

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Reply by RandyFisher, Nov 29.

CdR is a staple of mine and I drink several styles of it. I am a Costco member. Each fall Costco releases a Kirkland CdR Villages and each fall I place three in my basket. The wine is nicely done if slightly modern at a very attractive price of $7. For something more classic in nature, I buy JV Fleury bottlings. These wines always contain garrigue notes for the traditionalist in me. Another regular buy is St. Cosme CdR, It's 100% Syrah made in a more modern style. Tasty stuff. And lastly if I were away from home and went into a store to purchase a CdR, The Perrin CdR Villages would be the first label I looked for. Dependable at moderate pricing.

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Reply by zufrieden, Nov 29.

Yes, even the mass-produced CdR is usally very quaffable - although it all depends how much you drink.  If you have wine with most evening meals, there are excellent whites and reds from the southern Rhone for any occasion - the quotidien or the extraordinary.  I like the whites as well - many of which have expensive, tasty grape varieties in the mix such as Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier.  These grapes are far superior to the rather flaccid Grenache Blanc or Bourboulenc one gets from warmer vineyards - especially if the grapes are harvested too late to preserve the citrus flavours and acidity associated therewith.  With the whites, one needs to be more selective as the ordinary red CdR is fairly predictable descriptively.  The Syrah/Mourvedre components are getting more prominent, though, and this helps quality move upward - though there is nothing wrong with Grenache at all... just that it needs to be properly cropped and harvested on good sites like any other grape.  My bias, however, is toward Syrah in the long term, but that is just a taste preference.  

Costco does not carry wine as yet in Canada, although I have found good Kirkland wine brands in the US.

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Reply by GregT, Nov 29.

It is a good go-to. The CdR is unique though, and while there are copies all over, and good ones, somehow they don't generally have that same garrigue or whatever it is.

Hewitson Miss Harry's is from Australia. A GSM, modeled on the CdR style, and it's good but clearly Australian with very forward and very clean fruit that has that "Australian" definition I can't quite describe. There are a few others from down there - Yalumba Bush Vine Grenache for example. Haven't bought that for a while, but picked up Miss Harry's for 12.99 recently and it's a great deal.

Some of the CdRs I've liked are from Barroux as it has that black cherry profile with earthy undertones, another we had recently was Famille Lancon Solitude. There's a Kermit Lynch wine - Barroul, that is pretty good and their white is nice too. I guessed it blind as Roussanne/Marsanne and that's what it was but a good iteration of it. Dirt cheap and really nice was Cave les Couteaux du Rhone VV - I think it's a co-op but it was a classic CdR with that earthy and fruity mix and it was dirt cheap. Another inexpensive and pretty good wine was Jean David CdR Villages - not overly fruity but still had that combination of dark cherry with earthy overtones that makes those wines so nice.

Spain has a lot of these kinds of wines, which makes sense as that's where Grenache and Carignan and Mourvedre come from in the first place. Widely available and pretty good for the price is Tres Picos and the winemaker, or former winemaker, also made a CdR in France, I believe Janasse but I'm not 100 pct on that. In any event, that wine can be a ringer for a CdR.

One I wasn't crazy about was Domaine la Milliere Unique - it just lacked interest.

There should be some in the US but I'm blanking at the moment. The idea isn't just inexpensive good wine, but for me, I want to have the dark cherry fruit with an overlay of earthy, savory notes.

 

 

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Reply by zufrieden, Nov 30.

Nice wrap-up of some tastings with a bit of experience added in.  I have to agree that places like Oz actually do better imitating Provencal wines with Mouvedre base (e.g. Spinifex), and that Rhone wines tend to keep a certain uniqueness due to the scrubland the grapes grow amongst and betwixt.

And of course there are wines with somewhat similar flavours from Spain - the home, as you rightly point out, of Grenache (Garnacha) and Carignan (Cariñena) and Mourvedre (Monastrell, I think).  I have never had the opportunity to try Janesse (my misfortune, given the brand's reputation), but will try to seek it out in my travels.  But I think we all agree that CdR has a special flavour that is most pleasing - especially for the price... both red and white.

Price is not usually the main driver for me (except it helps you share with others whose wallet may be a little lighter, or who cannot participate in tastings), but I like to get good deals; without that urge to save I might not be in the position to buy wine at all.  And that would not be good.

Thanks for the great information; we all appreciate it.

Cheers!

 

Z. 

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Reply by RandyFisher, Nov 30.

As far as domestic producers go.  Tablas Creek, Cline, Hahn and Estancia off the top of my head. I would recommend the Tablas (it is Syrah dominate) and the Cline (it is Mourevedre dominate). I have seen discusions on garrigue in Paso wines coming from chaparral. 

Looking around I did find this.

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Reply by zufrieden, Nov 30.

Those Paso Robles wines are pretty darned close to southern Rhone, aren't they?  The same for some of the other producers you mention.  The style of Hahn (which is high quality, moderate, even low prices) meshes well with the concept of CdR, altough their wines tend toward the Northern Rhone, in my opinion, given the emphasis on Syrah.  I will search out some examples from Cline and Tablas Creek to refresh my momory... it has been awhile.

Z.

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Reply by zufrieden, Nov 30.

Just so you know, I did try the wine I plugged for in the heading for this topic.  You can see the review under Gabriel Meffre Cotes du Rhone Villages Plan de Dieu Saint-Mapalis 2016.  My interest in the wine is that it is available in sufficient quantity for my entertainment requirements at Christmas as well as a good small gift for friends and associates.  I will try the white (a Cotes du Rhone without the village designation) a bit later.

Z.

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Reply by rckr1951, Nov 30.

Le Ferme Du Mont made a bevy of good wines in the Southern Rhone from the 2016 vintage.  Gonna snag as many a possible from them.

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Reply by zufrieden, Nov 30.

The 2016 is definitely worth snagging.

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Reply by GregT, Dec 1.

Tablas is definitely up there and their Grenache is a very good iteration of that grape in CA. I agree that there are a lot of them in Paso that are really tasty, and some good Zin as well. There are plenty of people making it from Dusi Ranch and it's a special place for sure.

But hands down the best version of any Spanish wine I've had comes from a producer named Bodega de Edgar. It is the old Hug Cellars and when Auggie Hug retired, he pretty much just turned the place over to his wine maker, who had started his own label. He's doing both now, but his label is based on Spanish blends. He has one called El Priorato that is a ringer for Priorat and is quite fantastic. I believe it's a blend of Carignan, Grenache, Syrah and Tempranillo. He has another based on Monstant, with a bit more Grenache, and while not CdR, they can hold their own against any. Really nice stuff.

The acidity of Priorat wines is what makes them stand up favorably against a number of S French ones, and it's what makes his wines so good. I asked him how he gets it up there and he said it's just the climate and last year he actually had to de-acidify some grapes for the first time.

The article on the chapparal is interesting. I suppose she has a point, but really, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Whatever we call it, the wines from Paso can be quite good. Not all too be sure, but that's like the CdR isn't it?

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Reply by rckr1951, Dec 2.

I like the Daou wines from PR and I also think the use of syrah that is done is good..  I like Bon Niche, Linne Calodo, ,Peachy Canyon has really done well lately and Saxum is tough to beat.

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Reply by dvogler, Dec 4.

I'm going to buy the 2015 Jaboulet La Chappelle soon (really).  To keep for when I'm old.

I had a 2004 Chateau Cabezac Minervios Cuvee Arthur on Sunday.  I'd fixed a friend's boiler (he's a doctor and doesn't really drink much) so I asked him what wine he has instead of payment.  He pulled this out of a cupboard and I thought it would be dead.  It's from Langeudoc, but it's a GSM.  I had no idea, as the bottle said nothing and I thought, "damn, this is more like a Rhone".  It was fabulous.  It opened up after an hour and blew me away.

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Reply by rckr1951, Dec 4.

Nothing better than a nice surprise.  How have you been? Haven't heard from you much.

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Reply by dvogler, Dec 5.

Hi Paul, I explained in the flogging a dead horse thread ;)

Just got tired of the spam mostly, as I think many did and it just seemed to dry up.

My enthusiasm for wine is the same, but I think I got to the point when I realized talking about it a lot wasn't something I felt compelled to do anymore.  It's tougher for me because wine from British Columbia doesn't get to your markets in the USA, and so if I want to talk about it, I'm better off with locals.

My routine in the morning before work is quite regimented and so if I spend fifteen minutes on Snooth, I don't have time to walk the dog, then she suffers!  (kidding).

Anyway, I'll be around!  Don't let Snooth rob you of quality of life!!

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Reply by Really Big Al, Dec 5.

I bet that  2004 Chateau Cabezac Minervios Cuvee Arthur was decent.  DV, you should talk about your BC wines in other wine forums...no spam...cough cough...but at least keep posting and keeping us up on the latest offerings from British Columbia.

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Reply by zufrieden, Dec 5.

Well, I am back on line myself.  Will visit somewhere else (colugh, cough) a bit later...  I could comment on my own extensive record with BC Wines - which is filled with much truly world-class juice - but the majority is over-rated at best and pedestrian to plonk at worst (as is the case in all wine regions - the difference in BC being that the supply of decent land is very, very limited and so the industry is tugging at the margins now for more production).

With climate change, however (and folks, I know most of you realize it is here) some reasonable expansion may also be expected.  Stay tuned.

 

And DV, maybe we can discuss over an Unsworth sparkler some time.

;-)

 

M. aka Z.

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Reply by dvogler, Dec 5.

Haha, Zuf I've been telling people that Vancouver Island may yet produce merlot and Cab sav!

You should consider coming to Parksville Uncorked, Feb 21-24 (2019).  One evening is a formal dinner hosted by La Stella, including their wines.  I'm going.

 

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Reply by zufrieden, Dec 6.

I just may.  Consider attending, I mean.  La Stella makes some very good Italian-style whites and more eclectic, but still Italian-influenced reds.  They are pricey, and you usually need access to a good VQA store (for those who don't know, this is the Vintner's Quality Alliance - a so-called Canadian quality control and marketing device - mostly seen in Ontario and BC).  Our local VQA went out of business once a larger liquor mart moved into the small mall about a kilometre away from our current residence.

I have attended Uncorked events in Port Coquitlam (not far away from us - we live in Coquitlam), but not recently.  There seems to be an upsurge in the beer festivals of late - perhaps crowding out the wine events.  

We shall see.  I may also use the time to suss out some possible places to live.

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Reply by dvogler, Dec 6.

Not sure if you're still toiling away at gainful employment, but if you're now reaping the rewards of retirement, Parksville is a great retirement town.

Jimmy Pattison bought all the VQA licenses so that Save on Foods could sell BC wine.

I've had plenty of La Stella and it's great, although I won't buy the Maestoso again. 

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