Portalis Wine Club – December 2007: The Rhône Valley

dscn0667_blog_21The last wine club of the year features wines from the Rhône Valley in southeastern France. Wines from this area are exceptional food wines and match well with many traditional holiday dishes including duck, turkey, lamb and beef.

The Rhône Valley is one of the oldest wine growing regions in the world and is divided into the Southern and Northern Rhône Valleys. You can find thrilling, world class wines in Cote Rotie, Condrieu, Hermitage and Cornas (Northern Rhône) as well as in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and Vacqueyras (Southern Rhône). Wines from the Northern Rhône appellation are mainly made from the Syrah grape, sometimes blended with Viognier and tend to be drier and more structured, with flavors of minerals & earth, while the Southern Rhône appellation produces an array of red, white and rosé wines, often blends of multiple grape varietals.  The reds from the Southern Rhône are earthy and spicy and tend to be fruitier than those from the north end of the valley.

The 2 bottle wine club features two wines from the Southern Rhône appellation.  The 3 bottle wine club adds in a wine from the Northern Rhône appellation.

Domaine des Espiers was founded in 1989 by Philippe Cartaux and is located in the village of Vacqueyras. This red is a blend of 65% Grenache and 35% Syrah from the Gigondas appellation. This wine is unfiltered and fermented 6 months in French oak. Tasting notes: Very aromatic. Refined fruit and flavors of dark berries, blackberries, with some herbal and spicy components. Elegant, complex and well-balanced. Great acidity. Still a little young. Needs some time. Up to 2 years

This producer is also located in the town of Vacqueyras. The appellation area covers the two communes of Vacqueyras and Sarrians within the “Vaucluse “department”, at the base of the Dentelles de Montmirail hills. The Vacqueyras appellation received Grand Cru status in 1990.  Tasting notes: Well-made Rhône wine with rustic, dark fruit, blackberries, herbal and earthy notes. Shows tar and mineral notes on the dark, long finish. Great acidity and body. A wonderful wine.  Drink now, up to 2 years.

Emmanuel Darnaud is one of the most talented young winemakers in the Northern Rhône Valley. After working for 4 years for Bernard Faurie, he made his first vintage in 2001. The winery is located in La Roche-de-Glum. Tasting notes: Seductive bouquet. Dark and racy, with lots of blueberry, olives, violets, tar and iron notes. Medium-to full-bodied, with a firm structure. Long, smoky finish. Drink now, up to 3 years.

Enjoy & cheers,

Note:  If you are interested in joining our wine club, read more at http://www.portaliswines.com/wine-clubs/index.php


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