Monday, April 22, 2013

Terrace View - The Most Overlooked Great Red Wine

It's interesting, Côtes-Du-Rhône reds are some of the most popular wines in the store. There's a perfectly good reason for this, the wines are full and juicy, spicy, and offer nice complexity and structure for under $20. It's really all you could want in that price range. On the other hand, when customers decide to spend big bucks for a more serious red wine they look away from the Rhône, feeling more comfortable with Burgundy, Bordeaux, and California.

That's a shame, because that same flavor profile in a bigger form with more complexity is available from Châteauneuf-Du-Pape and the prices are excellent. We have bottles of Châteauneuf-Du-Pape on the shelf at anywhere from $25-$85. The wines are ripe and full-bodied, with a core of luxurious fruit, wrapped in overtones of opulent spices, baked herbs, and earth. I think that for as famous as it is, it's perhaps the most overlooked great red wine in the world.

Old vines
Of course, with all wines there is a variability and with Châteauneuf-Du-Pape there are many. First off, it's hard to generalize about style because there are many soil types in Châteauneuf and winemakers are producing wines in a variety of styles. Add to that the fact that there are thirteen permitted grape varieties for Châteauneuf-Du-Pape rouge. The most important by far is grenache although syrah, mourvedre, and cinsault can me major supporting players. A well made Châteauneuf-Du-Pape is arguably the greatest expression on grenache in the world.

It's important to be selective and to let us know what you are expecting from the bottle. Some wines are ready to drink upon release and others require years to show their stuff. As for food partners grilled and roasted red meats are excellent, as are strongly flavored Mediterranean foods like olives, aged cheeses, and spreads like hummus and baba ganoush.

If you have any questions, as always, just ask! I really hope that you get to try one of these great wines.

Cheers,
Michael


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