Sunday, August 3, 2008

Cotes du Rhone Domaine Lafond Roc Epine, 2007

I had this at Journeyman Cafe in Fennville, MI, and the waiter told me it was a 2007, which I found hard to believe. Are red 2007 Cotes du Rhone wines ready for bottling?

The wine is certainly fresh enough, and it was very pleasant with an entree of Creswell Farms pork (belly and loin), eggplant puree, kale and snow peas with maple syrup/Bourbon glaze. The wine is a dark color with bluish tints. The nose is very ripe and pleasant with hints of black fruits but little of the varietal character (pepper, spice, garrigue) I expect from a Southern Rhone. It's also ripe and supple on the palate--a good restaurant wine with no sharp edges...but again very little varietal character of either Grenache or Syrah. Maybe this is because of the wine's youth or maybe it's because the estate has moved to an international style.

The vineyards, located halfway between Lirac and Tavel in the cooler Gard region of the Southern Rhone, were planted in 1880, and the estate says they are the oldest vineyards in the world. Yet there's not much old viney character to this wine. Is that because it's still young? Or because the style has been modernized?'s an enjoyable wine for $6.50 a glass at a small-town restaurant that is quickly gaining recognition throughout the Midwest.

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