I can imagine myself in a wine bar drinking this wine with an appetizer and commenting about how enjoyable it is. As I sit here tonight at my own table, with knowledge of other Southern Rhones I could have brought up from the cellar, I am glad I bought only one bottle of Patrick Lesec Cuvee Aurore Cotes du Rhone.
For a nine-year-old Cotes du Rhone, this wine is amazingly well preserved. It's a medium ruby with fresh lively scents of strawberries, kirsch and minty oak. On the palate it's smooth as silk, and the flavors are well delineated. It's very sophisticated with no embarrassing off notes--a good face of new oak in a Southern Rhone wine. But the strawberry Grenache character is a bit riper than I like and there is less of the pepper, spice and earth to provide structure and balance. There's nothing wrong with this wine, but the more I drink, the less I like it.
Patrick Lesec is a Frenchman who owns a restaurant in California. Believing that his restaurant customers do not like traditional Rhone wines, he has contracted with various domaines to produce wines more palatable to Americans. He has succeeded admirably in that task. But here is one American who likes the real thing better than the international version.