Saturday, July 23, 2011

Delas Cotes du Ventoux, 2008

This Delas Ventoux reminds me a lot of the 2008 Pesquie La Terrasses Ventoux I had recently. That's to be expected: they both come from the 2008 vintage and the same appellation. Ventoux is in the hills just to the east of the Cotes du Rhone, and the blend of grapes is the same as for most Southern Rhones--mostly Grenache and Syrah, sometimes with blending grapes such as Cinsault or Carignane. This Delas Ventoux is 80% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and it's made by traditional methods with no new oak influence. Most Ventoux are a bit cheaper than Cotes du Rhones, and, as far as I'm concerned, that's all the more reason to buy them. Yields are low in Ventoux, and, because of the higher altitude, the growing season is usually cooler than in the rest of the area. Why the wines are cheaper I've never figured out, but I'm not going to ask too loudly or someone might start raising prices.

The color is a deep, dark ruby, and I get aggressive black pepper and spice aromas from the first sniff. Now some blue plums and berries and the proper amount of Provencal herbs. On the palate, the same aggressive peppery, spicy flavors come through. Like the Pesquie La Terrasse, it's plenty tannic for a Ventoux, but there is no alcoholic heat (the 13.5% alcohol content seems just right). I suspect this wine will get deeper and more complex over the next three years, but there's no need to wait. It drinks well with a vegetable meal or a strip steak (I've tried both). Good acid, ripe tannins and plenty of multi-dimensional fruit flavors. I love it.

I bought the Delas Cotes du Ventoux for $9.99 at D&W Markets in Michigan. It's a few dollars less expensive than the 2009 Delas Saint Esprit Cotes du Rhone on the shelf beside it, but the major difference between the two wines is personality rather than quality. The Saint Esprit is 80% Syrah, 20% Grenache. I bought both and may go back for more.

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