Monday, January 21, 2013

A Taste of Rhone

A Taste of the Rhone was the theme of D&W Parkview's wine dinner Sunday at the Oakwood Bistro.

The 2011 Mas de Bressades, Costieres de Nimes is a white wine--a blend of Viognier and Marsanne from an area south of Chateaneuf du Pape. Served with smoked salmon and mascarpone mousse beggar's urse with caper gremolata and extra virgin olive oil. Medium deep gold. Flowers, Red Haven peaches. Very pretty, as you would expect from Viognier, but more versatile as a dinner wine. The Marsanne adds body and richness.

2010 Domaine Ogier Le Temps Est Venu is basically a Cotes du Rhone, but it's too international in style for my taste. Darker color than a typical CDR. Sweet vanilla smells and flavors. Not much spice, pepper or garrigue. That's what happens when you put Grenache in new oak barrels. Too sweet for me, but there are those who prefer this style. The second course dish, though, was the highlight of the eveningj: deep fried poached duck egg with dressed frisee and pepper cured pork belly. WOW. The duck egg was crisp on the outside but still runny enough to coat the pork belly. Layers of flavors and textures.

2009 Domaine Santa Duc Gigondas Garancieres is another internationally styled Rhone wine imported by Bobby Kacher. I usually avoid them, but the new oak seems to work here, maybe because 60 percent of the wine was aged the traditional way, in foudres. The best of both worlds, I guess. The color is deep and dark (barriques?) Big, big, big nose--wild blueberries and lifted Gigondas fragrance. Oak is in the background, adding some complexity. Big, rich mouthfeel. Made for lovers of New World Cabernet who want a slightly gamey twist. Paradoxically, it seems to get more tannic, oaky and alcoholic as it airs. It will probably go through that stage before it opens up again in a few years. Served with lentil cassoulet with venison and pheasant. Another excellent dish and very well matched to the wine.

2010 M. Chapoutier Belleruche Cotes du Rhone. At about $10 a bottle, this is the least expensive wine of the evening, but it held up well with the main course: braised country lamb ribs with a smoked garlic flan, powdered bleu cheese and sliced, grilled Portobello. I've already bought half a case of this Cotes du Rhone and believe that it was showing better a year ago when I tried it. Smells a bit tannic tonight but eventually opens up. Black fruit, spice and light pepper. Medium bodied and basically traditional. I would come back to this in another year for maximum pleasure.

2009 M. Chapoutier Banyuls. Served with the dessert: rosemary shortbread, salted caramel and a tart cherry compote. Very dark.Black fruits, licorice and alcohol. A fortified wine; 90% Grenache. Thick and sweet.

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