Posted by: tomciocco | February 24, 2012

A COTES DU RHONE (BLANC) THAT REALLY WORKS

Whether red or white, Cotes du Rhone wines are made by the lakeful to pay some of the winery’s bills, as well as to please the broadest base of wine drinkers, and on the latter count, most do a pretty good job; sadly, some don’t…In my experience most lesser CdR reds “offend” by being completely devoid of any character whatsoever. When speaking about Cotes du Rhone Blanc, and up to and including the top some of the line Provencal whites like Chateauneuf-du-Papes Blanc, the epithets that most often stick are “hot” (high alcohol wines that show it clearly on the palate) and “flabby” (lacking in structure, especially acidity).

No such issues here. Despite tonight’s CdRB’s full, chewy texture, and an ample 14% alcohol, neither of the above flaws could ever pass the lips in the direction of this wine, and after a little poking around about how the wine is made, it became a lot clearer as to why…First, the cuvee` is 40% Clairette, 40% Grenache Blanc, and 20% Roussane. Too many CdRB’s over-emphasize the essential, but often problem-inducing Grenache because it’s easy to cultivate, but in this wine, the crisp Clairette, the fleshy Grenache, and the fragrant Roussane are blended perfectly. All of the fruit is also grown on sloped, sandy/clay composite soils that lend a certain minerally complexity and finesse to the wine, and the wine is then aged for a time on its lees (the expired yeast sediments generated after fermentation) that further deepens the complexity in a more earthy direction…

I served this not-so-run-of-the-mill Cotes du Rhones Blanc with an improvised puree` of chick peas, garlic, tuna, lemon, oregano, rosemary, and an olive oil mayonnaise on toasts, and for the main course, a couple of pieces of Lemon Sole baked in a sauce of butter, lemon zest, olive oil, white wine, garlic, olives, capers, and herbes de Provence, with some braised carrots on the side. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Domaine Pelaquie` Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2010

Bright and limpid yellow gold color. The nose has a sweet, Spring-like fragrance, and clean and intense notes of ginger, roasted corn, flint, hazelnut, and lemon curd. The body of the wine is quite full, with a pulpy but taut texture, and tidy, complex, and knit-together  flavors of apricot, lime, fresh pineapple, Enoki mushrooms, and cream soda, all balanced by a fresh, broad, and cleanly minerally acidity. The finish is quite long and evolving wit flavors of toasted almond and quinine.

 

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