Wine by Leslie Williams

THE last week of November was Rhone Wine Week organised by the ever busy Simon and Emma Tyrrell of Tyrrell and Co. who import a range of wines from the region, including one that Simon himself makes called Les Deux Cols which featured here a few weeks ago.

Among the events were wine tastings in places like l’Atitude 51, Donnybrook Fair and Ely Wine Bar, as well as tasting dinners in the Tannery and Donnellys of Barna 

The Wild Goose Grill in Ranelagh created a menu to match the wines of Domaine de la Janasse, which had many highlights, including Dublin Bay Prawns with Creamed Leeks paired with Janasse’ Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc and goose breast with the spicy cherry fruit-driven red version.

The Rhone Valley is a tale of two distinct regions formed and influenced by the river Rhone, but also by other regional factors, most importantly Le Mistral — the famed wind that can blow ferociously through the region.

Many winemakers would credit the Mistral as the great moderating force in their vineyards as it blows away fungal diseases, cleans and concentrates the grapes after rain and generally keeps the vines healthy. The wind blows at least 120 days a year, and if you ever get to climb the hill of Hermitage or Cote-Rotie, trust me you will know all about it.

In the north the hills are steep and the river flows fast and reds are made with Syrah and a tiny amount of white is made using Marsanne, Rousanne and Viognier.

The river mellows as it flows south and the weather gets warmer so you will find Grenache as the main grape along with some Syrah, Mourvedre and other grapes such as Carignan and Cinsault. The whites are made with Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Viognier plus others.

Viognier was once only grown around Condrieu, but is now found everywhere. Recommending good viognier is never easy but this week I think I found a couple of gems.

The wines this week are from a selection of the producers participating in Rhone week and are all from the south. I will feature more in the coming months.

BEST VALUE UNDER €15

Chateau Pesquié “Le Paradou” Blanc, Pays d’Oc, France — €13.99

Stockists: www.thewinestore.ie, Ballymaloe Pop-Up Shop Brown Thomas, Cork, Lettercollum Kitchen Project Clonakilty, Wine Shop Limerick, Jus de Vine Portmarnock, 64 Wine Glasthule, Drink Store D7

All the wines from this producer were excellent. Intensely fragrant viognier made purely using stainless steel so in a crisp fresh style.

Cotes du Rhone “Les Amies Chanteuses” 2012 Les Vignerons d’Estézargues — €13.99

Stockists: www.thewinestore.ie, Ballymaloe Pop-Up Shop Brown Thomas, Cork, Lettercollum Kitchen Project Clonakilty, Wine Shop Limerick, Jus de Vine Portmarnock, 64 Wine Glasthule, Drink Store D7

This wines from this small (10 grower) co-op is everything you hope for in a Cotes du Rhone (but rarely find)

Cotes du Rhone “Les Grand Vignes” 2012 Les Vignerons d’Estézargues — €14.99

Stockists: www.thewinestore.ie, Ballymaloe Pop-Up Shop Brown Thomas, Cork, Lettercollum Kitchen Project Clonakilty, Wine Shop Limerick, Jus de Vine Portmarnock, 64 Wine Glasthule, Drink Store D7

Given a little bit of age the vines can produce attractive fragrant wines for early drinking. Aromatic berry fruit aromas, sweet red fruit flavours with a touch of spice.

BEST VALUE UNDER €25

Chateau Pesquié Terrasses 2011, AOC Ventoux, France — €16.99

Stockists: www.thewinestore.ie, Ballymaloe Pop-Up Shop Brown Thomas, Cork, Lettercollum Kitchen Project Clonakilty, Wine Shop Limerick, Jus de Vine Portmarnock, 64 Wine Glasthule, Drink Store D7

Terrasses is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah this is beautifully soft and fragrant, packed with fruit and with a wild berry character.

Dom. de la Janasse Viognier 2011, Vin de Pays d’Orange — €18.50

Stockists: www.thewinestore.ie, Ballymaloe Pop-Up Shop Brown Thomas, Cork, Lettercollum Kitchen Project Clonakilty, Wine Shop Limerick, Jus de Vine Portmarnock, 64 Wine Glasthule, Drink Store D7

Rich sweet pear and white peach aromas and flavours with a hint of orange peel and a crisp, spice tinged, finish.

Domaine la Bouïssieère Vacqueyras 2011 – €23.95

Stockists: www.thewinestore.ie, Ballymaloe Pop-Up Shop Brown Thomas, Cork, Lettercollum Kitchen Project Clonakilty, Wine Shop Limerick, Jus de Vine Portmarnock, 64 Wine Glasthule, Drink Store D7

Bouïssieère’s wines are made by the Faravel brothers who favour low yields and focused fruit flavours in their wines. I found this a ripe but elegantly structured wine with complex red fruit on the nose and palate.


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