Southern Rhone, tasty

Posted on January 28, 2009

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Vacqueyras is an appellation in the Southern Rhone.  It’s a few miles south of Gigondas, and has been a full AOC since 1990.  Reds must be at least 50% Grenache, plus up to 20% Syrah and 20% Mourvedre, and no more than 10% of a bunch of other varietals local to the region.

Grenache is one of my favourite varietals – it’s nose is everywhere – from black cherries, black currants, to earthy aromas like coffee, gingerbread, black pepper.  Typical flavours are strawberry, blackberry and raspberries.  

DOMAINE DE LA COLLINE SAINT-JEAN VACQUEYRAS 2004 
VINTAGES 38661 | 750 mL bottle 
Price: $ 25.95 

2004 in the Rhone valley was a good growing season, with moderate temperatures throughout the summer and no rain until late August.

This particular bad boy caught my eye, I was actually looking for a Cornas in my local LCBO, and all they had was a full litre bottle.  I know where opening a bottle that size would end, so I settled on this one.  I wish I could say I remembered the vintage notes and knew that 04 was a good year for Southern Rhone but really I guessed.  As it turns out I could have done worse.

This is a 70% Grenache 30% Mouvedre combo.  On the nose I get some brambly stuff – like stick your nose in wet raspberry bushes.  Some cherry, leather, black pepper and ginger. Its nice, but I gotta say peppery spicy noses don’t really do it for me.  Tasting is really pleasant – it runs the gamut from strawberry, raspberry, through a cherry kind transition to some black olive kind of flavours and the finish gives me this really enjoyable cherry, leather and hazelnut combo.  14% alcohol but it’s not noticeable at all.

This is really a great effort – it’s complex, well balanced and has a long finish.  Right now it feels like its in the adolescent period, and it needs a little more time to get back together.  For the price, I would actually like to buy a couple more bottles to stock away.  I think this is a wine I will really get to enjoy in another 3-5 years.

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Posted in: tasting notes