Saturday, November 11, 2006

Wine Club - Cotes du Rhone

Wine Club this week was Cotes du Rhone. We didn't have as good a food pairing as we should have had for this one (I should have saved some of my cassoulet from the week before), so I expect the "with food" scores would have been higher with another pairing. All scores are averages across the group (the scores with the "/" indicate the range across the group). Notes are a compilation of the entire group's comments. Personally, I was at the high end, giving most of these wines a score of 4. The exception for me was the Les Queyrades, which I found absolutely vile. But other people in the group really liked it, so I don't think it was a flawed wine.

2003 Chateau Suzeau Cotes du Rhone FR
Light garnet, fading to brown on the edge. Pleasant cherry fruit nose. This light bodied wine opens with early fruit which fades quickly to an empty midpoint, but comes back with a strong and long mineral finish. Lots of slate, like "licking rocks." 3.1 food, 2.9 alone. 2/5 food, 1/5
alone. $14.99

2004 Domaine du Vieux Chene "Cuvee Beatrice" Cotes du Rhone Villages FR
Deep ruby, with a big nose. A little stinky, but in a good way, like camembert. Rich blackberry fruit in a full rich wine with pronounced tannins and a mineral finish. 3.2 alone, 3.3 food. 2/4 alone, 2/4 food. $18.99

2003 Les Queyrades Lirac AOC FR
Red with a hint of orange. Complex nose - pomegranate and green notes along with plenty of dark, earthy, fermented notes. Minimal fruit, peppery and mineraly, with high acidity and heavy tannins. 2.1 alone, 2.6 food. 1/4 alone, 1/4 food. $17.99

2004 Domaine Mireille & Vincent Cotes du Rhone
Red with a hint of orange. Lots of sweet red fruit (strawberry candy) on the nose plus fresh mown grass, and a little bit of barnyard. Light bodied, with unexpected citrusy flavors, some minerals, and a long finish. 3.4 alone, 3.7 food. 2/5 alone, 2/5 food. $11.99

To eat, we had a really nice English farmhouse cheese. The Lincolnshire Poacher is an aged cheese similar to a cheddar. It was a good accompaniment to the wines, as it had quite a bit of the "barnyard" stench that shows up in Rhone wines. It was certainly strong enough to stand up to the earthy elements in some of the wines. It had lots of "flavor crystals" - little amino acid crystals that are a sign of a long-aged hard cheese (you see them in the best parmesan as well) and I always love those in a cheese. Nice crumbly texture. Cotes du Rhones are considered classic food wines, so I had hoped to have some more "dinner" like food to show them with, but my food shopper hit some snags, so we just ended up with the cheese.

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