Flavors of the Rhone Valley
Full Retail: $87.97
Sampler Price: $69.99
The Rhone River Valley of France is home to a remarkable range of quantity, quality, and style of wine. Some know it for value-everyday red wine while others know it for wines like Chateauneuf-du-Pape or Cornas which can age for decades. For this sampler we’ve put together three different, but expressive, wines from very distinct regions of the Rhone.
1. Francois Villard 2012 Viognier “Les Contours de Deponcins”
Villard makes a few dozen different wines in multiple appellations of the northern Rhone. Unlike the southern Rhone, the only red grape legally allowed is syrah and the only white grapes that can be used are viognier, marsanne, and roussanne. In the northern Rhone you will find, arguably, the finest examples of viognier in the appellation of Condrieu (also the most expensive). Villard’s Contours de Deponcins is made with that same grape from just outside the appellation in an example of what viognier should be; taut, focused, floral, and driven by white peach, and that ever elusive quality of mineral.
2. Marlene & Nicolas 2012 “Les Voleyses” Crozes-Hermitage
Heading south and to the east side of the Rhone river is the appellation of Crozes-Hermitage. The wines here must be made with at least 85% syrah and can allow up to 15% of the grapes marsanne and roussanne; but for reference this wine is made with 100% syrah. This is a great example of the power of syrah to have both a delicate floral and fruit driven nose, but with considerable weight and seamless texture on the palate.
3. Chateau Mont-Thabor 2007 Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Chateauneuf-du-Pape has a history, like many French wine regions, linked to Papal history and the church. As a zone of wine production, it was the first to draw up a set of rules by which its growers would follow to elevate reputation and quality, also to combat fraud. Mont Thabor has been family owned for more than 130 years and this wine, typical to the region, is a blend of 80% grenache, 15% syrah, 5% mourvèdre & cinsault. It was also partially aged in barriques, partially aged in large vat.