What to drink mid-week, with a tomato bolognese pasta dish? I was wondering this as I stared at the wine rack. My wife and I 'share' an everyday wine rack, which contains whites and reds we can dip into at any time. This is separate to my cabinet, containing the more special bottles. I like this wine rack because we try to stock it with a range of wines, often varieties we haven't tried before or don't drink very often.
Tonight I found a Cotes-du-Rhone. I sometimes shy away from wines from southern france because they can be a bit too peppery and chewy for me, and i find i have to be in the mood. Tonight, it seems, I was in the mood.
This wine was from VirginWines.com and probably not expensive. Their website tells me that it is made by a Monsieur Laurent Boullard at the Roques sur Ceze winery in Saint Laurent de Carnols. The grapes are bought from various vineyards in the area and the wine is bottled on site. The blend is a traditional Rhone mix of (mainly) Grenache, with Syrah and Carignon.
So, in the glass, the wine looks like it comes from the rhone. What i mean by that is, it is very light, a slightly dark maroon colour with a touch of purple, and a medium body that lets plenty of light through it. The legs are medium to heavy, but the wine flows around the glass beautifully. After a swirl, I have to be careful testing the nose, as there is such a wonderful volitility to the wine. The nose contains a bit of fruit, with redcurrents and light cherry present. To the fore though, is a gorgeous sweet, spiciness. It's full of cinnamon, paprika, cloves and even liquorice. On the palate, the wine is really smooth and soft. It floats over the tongue. The mid-palate is not complex, but pretty fruit-forward, similar to the sweet notes of the nose, but with a little added cassis and something almost tropical. The tannins are not harsh at all, almost not there, and they are balanced so well with the alcohol and acidity. The finish has a great, but not harsh or overpowering, pepperiness, that is typical of southern Rhone wines. There is next-to-no chewy aspect to it, and the finish lasts for many seconds, maybe 30 or 40!
I'm really pleased with this wine, and for a cheap-and-cheerfull midweek plonk, it's fairly awesome! I think much of this is down to the great grapes grown in the "barn-storming" 2010 vintage. I'm looking forward to the rest of it tomorrow!