some 2007 Côtes du Rhônes
French wine is tricky. For one, the labels are confusing. Unlike California and other New World wines, the names on the bottles usually don’t reflect the type of juice inside. I like a lot of them but a fair amount of the French stuff tastes like crap. Prices can be so outrageous that you’re constantly trying to convince yourself that the swill’s good no matter how it tastes to you. Reading wine magazines and books helps a bit, at least with sorting out regions and grape varieties. They also have good tips about what to try. I don’t completely get the whole number-scoring thing. I’ve been fooled too many times by that sinister number “90.” Aren’t the ratings some weird attempt to make wines look more sexy in an athletic or financial kind of way, like the NBA playoffs or the Dow Jones? Sorta like a game that you could bet on and maybe even win?
Don’t get me wrong. I love French wine. It’s just that I’m not loaded down with tons of extra cash to buy these crazy-expensive bottles that need to be aged for twenty more years before they’re even ready to try; that may in fact turn out to be crap after all. I’m often mixed up by all of the various appellations, regions, grades of wine, unusual grape varieties, blends and how long to hold the final product.
All I want to know is, “what can I drink now that I will like and can afford?”
Fortunately, the French have thought of this; marvelous planners, the French! There’s this whole group of wines, called “côtes de” this-and-that from all over the French countryside. Most of these are cheap (for French) and are widely available in the US. Problem is there’s so many that it’s tough to sort them all out. And the regular guides, like wine magazines, often leave you in the lurch because they don’t usually bother with the cheap stuff.
St Cosme, a great 2007!
So today, the weirdcombos tasting crew offers our notes for about a dozen 2007 Côtes du Rhônes. First, we’ve chosen these because they’re inexpensive. All of the wines here retail for less than $20. Second, the magazine critics are all trumpeting the greatness of the 2007 southern Rhônes, so some of this stuff must be good. But most importantly, to me at least, Rhône wines can be paradise in a glass!
I like the funny names for some of the regions: Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côte-Rotie, Hermitage. They all sound so weirdly religious and beachy at the same time. The labels are neat, too, all covered with angels or dead popes or ancient castles that are falling apart. Some of the bottles have odd shapes, with these huge crests and stuff sticking out of the base of the neck. And a lot of the time they’re physically heavier than regular bottles of wine for some reason. The added weight makes them seem more serious to me, somehow. But the truth is the wines are simply delish! The reds that I’ve enjoyed tend to be deep, dark and brooding; the whites, thick on the tongue, yet refreshing and surprisingly, for a white, memorable.
So here’s the list, in no particular order that we randomly selected from a couple local shops. They’re a mix of red and white. Almost all of them are blends. I’ve also listed what we paid per bottle. Since all of these are relatively affordable, the crew encourages you to get out there and drink for yourselves! Send us your reactions and tasting notes, too. Salut!
2007 Côtes du Rhône, Perrin & Fils “Reserve” $7.99
We brought this one to a party at Fabiola’s house. It had a refreshing “red” flavor. We would pay for more.
a sampling of 2007 Rhones
2007 Côtes du Rhône, Delas “St. Esprit” $9.99
This bottle had a large projecting glass crest and was recommended by the wine shop. Hegui thought it was “not good.” Stevie found it a bit non-descript. Would not have again.
2007 Costières de Nîmes blanc, Château Grand Cassagne “Cassanus” $10.99
Hegui did not like this “flat” white. Stevie also found it flat and unmemorable.
2007 Côtes du Rhône Villages, Perrin & Fils $10.99
Hegui liked the “deep ruby red” color but thought that it was a “little spicy.” Stevie had a plumy, fruit forward taste, with supple tannins and a longish finish.
2007 Côtes du Rhône, St Cosme $14.99
The wine shop claims this is 100% syrah. We loved it and after tasting ordered a case. It has a rich, complex flavor with tobacco notes and a long, lingering finish.
2007 Côtes du Rhône blanc, Guigal $11.99
We tried this over dreadful experimental Chinese food that I put together from scraps in the fridge. Hegui thought “it’s good; it’s not bad.”A bit like Domaine de la Bacassone. Stevie thought that it was “a bit dull” Fruity without definiton.
2007 CdR Villages, Perrin et Fils
2007 Côtes du Rhône, Daniel et Denis Alary “La Gerbaude” $14.99
Hegui thought that it was flat but that maybe the wine was served too warm. He liked the “beautiful ruby color. Stevie thought that it had medium body but without much complexity. We would not order this one again.
2007 Côtes du Rhône blanc, Domaine de la Becassone $13.99
This one has great depth of flavor, with honeysuckle notes and thick taste that is very agreeable. We liked this better than the 2006. We bought about two cases over the past six months.
2007 CdR blanc, Domaine de la Becassone. Mmmm!
2007 Côtes du Rhône, Domaine de Cristia $12.99
This one in 100% grenache. Hegui thought that it was “good” with a light creamy taste. Stevie thought it had medium body, chewy tannins. We’d both have this one again.
2007 Côtes du Rhône blanc, Perrin et Fils “Reserve” $7.99
Hegui says “it smells like nothing.” It’s not sweet at all. Very full body. Stevie thought that it has a round middle flavor. Tastier than the Guigal. More minerally and less alcohol.
better with more drinking!
2007 Côtes du Rhône, Domaine des Escaravailles “Les Sablieres” $12.99
Hegui finds that it “smells like pinotage.” It needs to breath. “The taste is not as bad as the smell.” Stevie thought that it had a dusty ruby color, had a slight metallic taste and a long finish. Both agree that “it’s better when you drink more.”
2007 Côtes du Rhône, Domaine Rouge Bleu “Le Mistral” $17.99
Hegui thinks this one “smells like mulberry and ginger.” Also notes of black pepper. It has a very distinct flavor. “I like it.” Stevie finds the taste a bit “spicy.” The wine has good legs and a depth of flavor.
2007 Côtes du Rhône blanc, Château de Montfaucon “Comtesse Madeleine” $15.99
This had a straw color. Hegui thought that it was “not bad.” Stevie felt that it was flat initially but that it gradually opened up. It had a clean taste, not much body. We’d try this again but not rush to find it.
2007 Côtes du Rhône Villages, Andre Andrieux et Fils $13.99
This was a very dark red, almost purple, color. It had a lot of tannin which gave it a somewhat bitter taste but a creamy texture. Also a bit sour but with notes of butterscotch.
2007 Côtes du Rhône blanc, M Chapoutier “Belleruche” $15
David brought this wine to a party at our house. It has a cool label with long cursive writing and a bunce of raised dots that looked like they could be in braille, telling us a secret message, maybe “this wine is great.” It had a pale yellow color. D thought the aroma of lychee. It tasted creamy, had a long finish. Basically it was very good. I’d tried the 2006 version but it was insipid. I’d buy this one.
2007 Costières de Nîmes blanc, Château L’Ermitage $10.99
Thisone is a pale golden yellow color with an apple-y, honeysuckle aroma. Hegui thought that it was “yummy!” It had flavors of stone fruit: apricot, peach and nectarine. The wine had a wonderful feel on the tongue and lingered. Unfortunately by the time we opened this bottle, our local wine store had already sold out. It makes sense. This wine is amazing and the price is right. If you happen across it, don’t wait! Open your checkbooks immediately.