Word Power and The Red Daily Slosh

28 May

“When you hear the call you have to get it underway.” Ah, the 80’s and meaningful lyrics.

How many times have I glowingly recommended a red from the Southern Rhone? Go ahead think about it. Take your time scrolling through my posts. I’m waiting………… OK times up, ‘a lot of times’ is the correct answer. I love ‘em and assume that you do as well. They can be well-priced, adaptable to different situations, and, most importantly, almost always tasty. This week’s release features these wines among the 80 or so that are being featured.

Time out for a little recondite wine info. Like that word ‘recondite’? I looked up on Thesaurus.com and Dictionary.com. Recondite: little known; obscure: a reondite fact. If I use it three times, it’s mine – Word Power, baby!

The classification of wines from the Côtes du Rhone is eerily similar to that of Beaujolais. At least that’s how I try to keep all this stuff straight – by comparing and contrasting. The basic Southern Rhone appellation for reds, whites, and rosés is Côtes du Rhone. We’ve probably all had a red Côtes du Rhone. And, if we’ve had more than a couple, we’ve noticed a broad range of quality. Some truly great wines and others plonk. The next step up is the Côtes du Rhone Villages which means that the grapes come from one of 95 communes, many of which we don’t see over here. And, another step up is a village with its own terroir – a cru. They will show up on the label. The cru villages that we see most often include Gigondas, Vacqueras, Cairrane, and Rasteau. For all the reds, Grenache is dominant (at least 40%) with a supporting cast mostly of Syrah and Mourvèdre. I love the Grenache, the Granacha (Spain), the Cannonau (Sardinia). Rosé is from almost everywhere here but the best come from around the villages of Tavel and Lirac and are labeled accordingly. Recondite discussion over. Although it wasn’t really that recondite, was it? Three times!

ferme du montLet’s start in the très economical range. The 2012 La Ferme du Mont Première Côte Côtes du Rhone #251645 $14.95 is a cousin of a wine of which I’ve recommended several vintages here – La Ferme du Mont Le Ponnant. The Première Côte is smooth, jammy with moderate tannins – that’s the Grenache. Absent of any woody stuff – it’s aged in concrete tanks. I’d think that you could serve this as a red-in-the-sun wine. You know, there’s always someone who doesn’t drink whites or rosés that’s taking up space on your patio. Pour them some of this. That doesn’t mean that it can’t take food or couldn’t pass for a winter wine. I’m just thinking that it isn’t winter right now and we are all over tapas and appetizer style eating. I bet you’ll like it at this price.

ortasThe 2010 Ortas Prestige Rasteau #985929 $19.95 shows us that all Grenache dominated wines don’t have to be low-tannin, fruit first wines. This has a dry profile with Syrah pepper and spice. Great BBQ or stew wine. It’s had time to figure it all out and is comfortable with its life – kind of like me. Nice balance – unlike me.

monteslspnThe Montes Limited Selection label brings pretty good value. I’m thinking there’s probably a million cases of the ‘limited’ selection but I’ll let that paradox go. The next rung up is the Montes Alpha line and, if you’ve been playing along at home, you’ll know that I’ve recommended a bunch of Alphas. This week there’s a wine I think you should try – 2012 Montes Limited Selection Pinot Noir #037937 $14.95. Pinot Noir tends to be pretty bad at the lower price range and that’s effected a lot of people’s perception of the grape – they just don’t like it. Have to agree that cheap Pinot is pretty lame or just too thin and bitey. This one is clearly a cool climate pinot – alive with acidity, freshness and red fruit. Nice tang on the finish. A wee little chill wouldn’t hurt. Let me know what you think.

nicaloFinally, BBQ season has arrived in The Great White North. If I wasn’t suggesting below that you get the Visa out, I’d suggest that you pick up a case of the 2013 Tedeschi Capitel Nicalò #984997 $17.95 for your next mess of grilled chicken or burgers. This is a Valpolicella Superiore from the usual suspects – Rodinella, Corvino, and Corvinone. The grapes are dried out lending a deep quality to the flavours and a raisinated sense to the nose. It’s a consistent performer. The 2013 carries some tobacco and black cherries on the nose and that’s replayed on the swallow and finish. Good tannin and acidity to pair with burnt meat or those Portobello mushrooms soaked in Balsamic and grilled to perfection. Great value.

Wines that I’m picking up untasted:

pagigondas2012 Pierre Amadieu Romane-Machotte Gigondas #017400 $27.95If I had to pick one village cru that has been my favourite over the years, it would have to be Gigondas. I haven’t done the geological analysis of terroir so I’m not sure if it’s just the luck of the draw, the producers that I’ve had access to, or if in fact Gigondas is a superior village generally. I find that the best ones can be like mini Chateauneuf-du-Papes – more accessible and flowery though. Or, is suggesting that there might be ‘mini’ C-d-P’s the statement of a wine heretic? I know this is outside the Daily Slosh range but don’t you deserve a bit of a treat tucked away down below for a special moment? That’s my rationalization, anyway. And, it works in keeping my cellar moderately sated.

auntsfieldSpeaking of treats – 2012 Auntsfield Single Vineyard Pinot Noir #361246 $29.95 – I loved, loved, loved the 2011 of this label. I hadn’t really sliced and diced the appellations for Pinot in New Zealand with the exception of understanding Central Otago’s brand a bit. But, last year, when I had the 2011, I did a little taste research into Marlborough Pinots. I do this for you, my readers. It’s very gruelling work but I soldier on. For me, I found that the Marlboroughs I had seemed to be a little more clearly defined red fruit and, although they carried minerality, not near as much as Central Otago, nor as lean and powerful. I’d say a gentler, more accessible Pinot. Here’s hoping that this is half as great as the 2011.

Thanks to Jancis Robinson and Karen McNeil for fact checks.

Word Up.

Bill

 

 

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