The Date and Time: Monday May 16, 2022 11:30AM to 2:30PM
The Event: Taste the Essence – Cotes du Rhone
The Venue: 1 Kitchen (inside 1 Hotel)
The Target Audience: wine sommeliers, wine press.
The Availability/Catalogue: there were 8 wines, and we had full notes and some prices, plus other material about the Cotes du Rhone wines. 25 of us attended the seminar on one long table plus some booths.
The Quote/Background: Sara d'Amato, via Powerpoint preentation, led us in the seminar, discussing microclimates and types of grapes (23 varieties!). It's a winemaker's paradise with multiple chances to blend varieties together to produce multiple spectra of aromas. 75% of its AOC wines is "Cotes du Rhone" (88% of these are reds, 5% are white and 6% are rose), and more and more of them are moving to SNOB – sustainable, natural, organic and/or biodynamic.
The Wines: Some of us tasted the Southern Rhone wines separately, but ultimately it was a food and wine pairing lunch, with pours of 8 wines to try against the foods. See below for the menu.
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Lavau La Decelle AOC Cotes du Rhone Villages Valreas Blanc 2020, $18.95 SAQ through Connexion Oenophilia. [firm, good finish, apricots, vanilla, honey, even garrigue. 50% viognier, 50% marsanne, 13.5% ABV]
-Brotte Bord Elegance AOC Cotes du Rhone Villages Laudun Blanc 2021, agent in Ontario is Mark Anthony [higher acid levels for dryness apricots, orchard fruit, citric fruits, almonds, 80% grenache blanc, 13.5% ABV]
-Maison Gabriel Meffre Laurus AOC Cotes du Rhone Villages Rouge 2017, $21.10 SAQ through Trajectory [low yields, tight tannins, fruity garrigue of rosemary and blueberry, one to lay down more. 60% grenache, 35% syrah, 14% ABV]
-Cave de Cairanne Le Chene Noir AOC Cotes du Rhone Villages Rouge 2019, agent is Signature Wines & Spirits.[grenache 50%, carignan 30%, syrah 20%, dark in colour with red fruits in aromas (raspberries, strawberries, red currants), peppery finish. Good character. 14.5% ABV]
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Vignerons de l'Enclave Chasses Nurges AOC Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2019, $16.20 at SAQ, repped by Divin Paradis in Quebec. [delicious, aromatic freshness of apricots and vanilla, light finish, 14% ABV]
-Cellier des Dauphins Les Dauphins AOC Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2020, $14.05, agent is Churchill Cellars.[convenient twist top, bright and smooth with some caramelization, anise, vanilla. 13.5% ABV]
-Chateau Le Grand Retour AOC Cotes du Rhone Villages Plan de Dieu Rouge 2019, $17.95 at Nicholas Pearce Wines.[grenache 70%, syrah $20, mourvedre 10%, typical GSM with red stone fruits, dark fruits, anise, spices. 14.5% ABV]
-Les Cassagnes de la Nerthe AOC Cotes du Rhone Villages Rouge 2019, agent Woodman WS [syrah 50%, grenache 30%, mourvedre 15%, violet and pepper notes, soft tannins, but a hot finish. 15% ABV]
The Food: The menu was very important, to show off the wines, and that it did admirably. We began with the Chasses Nurges as aperitif, moving on to the La Decelle which accompanied charcuterie boards of meats (one smokey, one spicy, one air cured, along with baba ghanoush bites on crisp breads and with tomatoes). The second course had individual fiore pasta from Queen's Pasta with nut free basil pesto. The Bord Elegance was the wine, and it met the flavours of the pasta. We had three wines with our bison striploin (Les Dauphins, Laurus, and the Chateau Le Grand Retour) so it was a better comparison with the wines and accompaniment of truffled rutabaga puree, crispy kale, and broccolini. The fourth course was a platter of cheeses, including the awesome Black truffle Mountainoak Gouda [cow], the Ash Goat, and a smokey Blue Haze. Wines were: Les Cassagnes de la Nerthe and Le Chene Noir.
The Downside: I had to do a massive food shopping just before the tasting, but I did get there just as activities began.
The Upside: a chance to taste some new-to-me Cotes du Rhone wines, especially the whites.
The Contact Person: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92