Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wine Class #12- French Regions: Rhone, Languedoc, Provence

Thursday night we finished up our tasting of the major French wine regions.  The sequence of lessons started on the West coast, Loire and Bourdeaux, moved to the Middle and Northeast regions, Burgundy and Alsace, and ended in the Southern region of Rhone, Languedoc and Provence.  I feel like I've taken a trip to France in my own basement!  Well that may be a slight stretch.
We tried the following wines:
A Viognier from Languedoc
(Grape: 100% Viognier)

A red wine from Languedoc- Roussillon
(Grape: Blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carrington)

A Cotes du Rhone
(Grape: Blend of Grenache, Mourvedre and Cinsault)
A Tavel or Provence Rose (Grape: Blend of
Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Syrah, Clairette
and Bourboulenc)
A Chateauneuf-du-Pape
(Grape: Grenache Blend)

Northern Rhone Red from Hermitage
(Grape: Syrah or Syrah Blend)
So, we tried grapes from all over the Rhone Valley and I must say it was unanimous that this was the best selections of wines we'd had in our classes yet.  They were all wonderful!

The Viognier is a white, low acidic grape that is fermented in oak barrels.  Tavel (similar to Provence) is a region known for it's wonderful roses.  These are fruity, dry wines, not the sweet wines you would normally think a blush to be, and they get their color from brief contact with red grape skins and juice.  They are great to pair with many foods, but may be difficult to find.  My favorite (and a common fav among the group) was the Northern Rhone Red from Hermitage.  It smelled of rasberries and toasted marshmallows.  Syrah's tend to be my favorite and this one remained on the palette for quite a while.  The Cotes due Rhone blended wine was the most subtle. It had very little aroma and not a very strong taste, but what little taste it had was still yummy.

There is no doubt that the French, Rhone Valley aisle of my local wine store will be one I'll often visit.

Next up are wines of Northern Italy!

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