|The lovely red colour of a Chateauneuf|
The Rhone Valley in France provides some of the World’s best value wines as well as some expensive well-known big name wines such us Chateauneuf-du-Pape. What would Chris manage to serve us within the tight budget of £60 for six wines? In the end she was indecisive and served us seven lovely wines.
As usual we tasted all the wines blind and scored them out of twenty. The wines are presented below in descending order of preference. Scores are presented in the order John E, John S, Jane, Jill, ?, ?,?,?. The prices quoted are what Chris paid after discount (she got 25% to 30% discount on many of the wines!).
1. Arc du Rhone, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, 2011, French Red, Waitrose £12.62.
Clear favourite of the evening with half our team voting it top and most of the rest voting it highly was an amazing value Chateauneuf-du-Pape. It tasted more mature than a 2011 and obviously had a popular taste, although for me it was a little thin. Scores were 10.5, 15, 15, 14.5, 14, 15, 12.5 and 12.5. During the 25% off season this is definitely worth considering but it is not as big a wine as some of its AOC.
2. Domaine De Trois Pierres, J.Boulard, Costieres De Nimes, 2011, French Red, Waitrose £6.92.
A wine that split the crew a little was this very reasonably priced little number from Waitrose again. Three of our team voted of their favourite but myself and some others were less impressed. This was very popular with some due to its raspy mouth feel and black cherry taste. For me it was a supermarket wine for the masses with little to distinguish it. Scores were 11, 13.5, 16, 15, 12, 18, 11 and 11.5. For most of us this was a real hit and thus you should consider buying a bottle. Certainly this AOC is known for good value wines.
3. Domaine des Garrigues, Lirac 2011, French Red, Majestic £8.49.
Five of our team had this wine in their top three of the evening. This wine had a definite astringency with some tannins and a blackberry taste that gave it a little sweetness on the palate. Scores were 13, 14, 12, 14, 13.5, 14, 10.5 and 12. Another good scoring wine from this AOC that is just across the river from Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
4. Jean-Luc Colombo, La Redonne 2011, Cotes De Rhone, French White, Waitrose £9.25.
A surprisingly good white Rhone wine at under £10 was La Redonne which was a blend of Viognier and Rousanne grapes. It fooled most of us because of its unusual tall bottle shape and taste and thus most of us thought this the imposter and some of us were convinced it was a Picpoul de Pinet. It was a real citrus tasting refreshing wine that would make a great aperitif or seafood wine. Scores were 10, 9, 12, 11, 10.5, 13, 11.5 and 11.5. A nice little wine and definitely one to try if you find many of the Rhone whites rather flat.
5. Les Hauts de Pavieres, Cave De Tain, Crozes Hermitage, French Red, Waitrose £10.44.
This was my favourite wine of the evening but half the team voted it in last place which caused much merriment! For me it was a typical 100% plummy Syrah at this price from this AOC. Although I liked it, as did the other John, the others found it boring and lacking in acidity. Scores were 14, 14.5, 13, 10.5, 10, 14, 9.5, and 10. A wine to consider if your name is John or you are a syrah/shiraz fan.
6. Chateau Guiot Rosé, Costiere De Nimes, French Rosé, Majestic, £6.92.
This rosé wine was a very pleasant cherry tasting Rhone wine that some of u thought might be a Tavel or Lirac. A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault, it was not universally loved, however, and thus came near the bottom of a very good selection of wines. Scores were 13.5, 10, 15, 8, 9.5, 16, 10, and 9.5. Definitely a rosé to consider at this price.
7. Domaine Sainte Rose, Le Marine Blanc, Marsanne-Rousanne 2011, IGP Pays D’Oc, French White, Majestic £7.99.
Five of our team had this in last place and only one person had it in their top four. Some thought it had a coconut aroma and others found it woody with little freshness. For me it was a typically flat Southern Rhone White although in fact this was the imposter and came just outside the AOC. Scores were 9.5, 8, 14, 9, 7, 14, 8.5 and 10. Not a favourite with us I’m afraid.
After this great selection of Rhone wines, it was no surprise that Chris got a round of applause. She also served us some lovely food to pair with the wine including a great cheese board, meatballs, saucisson and venison sausage.
Another great Tongham Taster’s evening and we can now look forward to our Portuguese evening on Saturday 22nd June. If you want to join us click on Wine Circle for full details. Our June evening will again be in Farnborough, Hampshire but hosted by Ian and Kathryn.
No need to thank Clive for the photos as he was on holiday! Thus you have to make to with my lesser efforts.
Thank you Chris and Andy for hosting a lovely wine tasting evening. Well done for selecting such a good range of Rhone wines and managing to afford one of the big AOCs in the ones you presented us.