Rhone & the Sud -
Results from a Rhone and Languedoc tasting - Saturday, January 22, 2000, at the Wine Exchange in Orange, CA. Nineteen wines were poured for a tasting fee of $12.
The wines, in the order tasted:
'98 Domaine des Aspes Viognier Cuvee la Mouline - St. Chinian.
$11.99. Faint lemon-yellow color. Nose of lemon, lime, peach and pear.
Substantial mouthfeel, slightly tart fruit, nice finish.
'98 Domaine Sorin Rose - Cotes de Provence. $9.99. Salmon
color. Nose of strawberry and cinnamon. Slightly tart fruit, long finish.
'98 Chateau Rouquette sur Mer - Coteaux de Languedoc. $7.99. Violet
ruby garnet color. Jammy nose of black raspberry, shoe polish, and anise.
Moderate, fruity mouthfeel. Mouthwatering finish.
'98 Chateau Negly La Cote - Coteaux de Languedoc. $8.99.
Very dark purple color. Nose of black raspberry, plum, black cherry, and
lots of a shoe polish quality. Big Zin-like mouthfeel and taste, and lengthy
'98 Mas de Aveylans Syrah. $9.99. Very dark ruby purple color.
Nose of black raspberry, cedar, rose/violet floral notes. Sweet mouthfeel
and taste, off-sweet long full finish. The fruit never quits and the mouthfeel
'96 Domaine Guy Sauvanes Faugeres. $7.99. Dark violet purple color.
Nose of jammy black raspberry, with some shoe polish and floral qualities.
Tart or sour fruit, medium-long finish. Syrah, Grenache, Carignan. Has
an interesting nose, but the fruit seems too tart or green.
'98 Domaine de la Martine - Cote du Rhone. $6.99. Almost an aged
ruby garnet color. Sweet toasty fruity nose. Warm and fruity mouthfeel,
but only medium palate coverage. Medium-long toasty finish
'98 Font de Michelle - Cote du Rhone. $11.99. Medium ruby garnet
color. Phew! Something borrowed here from Cloudy Bay - loads of sweaty
lemon and cat pee in the nose. Tastes of cedar and oak, with a slight
'98 Le Gramenon - Cote du Rhone. $10.99. Light ruby garnet color.
Nose of perfume, raspberry, and flower stems. Fleshy off-sweet fruit,
and slightly thin mouthfeel. The color and extraction level tells it all.
'98 Domaine le Brunely - Vacqueyras. $9.99. Medium garnet ruby
color. Nose of blueberry, blackberry and onion - sweetly pungent. Oaky
and coarse mouthfeel, but with mouth coating fruit, and long toasty finish
'97 Domaine Sainte Anne - Gogondas. $14.99. Medium dark garnet
ruby color. Sweet juicy nose of raspberry, black cherry, vanilla, and
toast. Toasty soft fruit on the palate, with an earthy, leathery warmth
to it. Doesn't quite deliver what the nose promises.
'97 Chateau Valcombe La Sereine - Cote du Ventoux. $19.99.
Dark ruby garnet color. Complex, earthy, herb-driven nose. Semi-sweet
mouthfeel, juicy and stemmy tasting fruit. Sweet mid-palate, and long
toasty and tannic finish. Very nice. Mostly Syrah, with a dollop of Grenache
'97 Paul Avril Clos du Papes - Chateaunuef du Pape. $23.99. Medium
garnet ruby color. Nearly closed nose with slightly steely aromatics.
Sweet toasty mouthfeel, soft and smooth on the palate, with a nice grip
at the finish.
'97 Brunel Les Cailloux - Chateaunuef du Pape. $21.99. Medium
dark garnet ruby color. Warm raspberry and strawberry tart nose. Sweet
gripping mouthfeel, some raisin and prune that gets sweeter and toastier
with time. Nice and tasty, but with a noticeable overripe quality to it.
'97 Chateau Beaucastel - Chateaunuef du Pape. $34.99. Medium dark
garnet ruby color. Sweet, jammy and fruity nose. Warm off-sweet fruit,
with slightly grainy tannins. Long powerful finish, but the best of the
fruit seems left behind.
'97 Alain Graillot Crozes Hermitage. $14.99. Violet ruby garnet
color. Nose of black raspberry, shoe polish, and Gerber strained carrots.
Waaah! Tart sweet-sour mouthfeel and fruit. Gets sweeter tasting at back
palate, with an unmistakable carrot taste through finish. Bet this wine
helps you see better after dark.
'97 Alain Paret Saint-Joseph Rochecourbe. $16.99. Dark
violet ruby color. Nose of blackberry, and raspberry. Off-sweet blackberry
fruit, nice palate coverage and long finish. Just a bit too tart.
'97 Saint Cosme Monstalier - Cote Rotie. $44.99. Dark violet
ruby color. Quite herbaceous nose of carrots, stems, overripe plums, and
floral notes. Blueberry and blackberry fruit on palate, decent mouthfeel,
long finish. The melange of aromas and flavors seems to work quite well,
and the components are generally integrated nicely. But the mouth is merely
average, the nose wanders a bit, and I expected "...more of everything"
from a $45 Cote.
'94 Paul Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle . $47.99. Dark
garnet ruby color, with some noticeable age at rim. Nose is a mass of
cocoa, bittersweet chocolate, shoe polish, and Ovaltine. Flavors of black
raspberry, blueberry, with lots of stemminess. Huge long mouth-coating
finish, with lots of fruit and acid hanging on for dear life, unsuccessfully
avoiding being swallowed.
Overall impressions: with all the hype about '98 Rhones, I had
to try the current crop of wines available from the North, the South,
and the Languedoc. Well, they were all good-very good, although nothing
was really excellent or outstanding. The first "whoa" in the tasting came
from a $10 Syrah. The Mas de Aveylans has substantial fruit and
is an incredible bargain. And, the Negly shows that it can be a
dependable wine in each vintage, at an incredible price. The Font de
Michelle has to represent a new low - cat pee in a red wine. Bah!
Here is my relative ranking, by tier and in order of preference, of the wines tasted.
'94 Paul Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle . $47.99
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