I might just geek out a little bit over this wine and the process in which it was made. You may have to excuse my nerdiness, but I hope in the end you find it charming. This weeks wine is a great wine that is widely available and I hope you love it as much as I do. You might have noticed I didn't denote a particular year for this wine and you would be correct! For this week I bring you a non vintage wine from one of the Rhône Valley's notable producer, Saint Cosme.
|Label shot courtesy of Saint Cosme|
I'll first begin with the region that this wine comes from before I dive into the real uniqueness of how it is made. This wine is coming from the greater Rhône Valley. It is a pretty larger area in itself with different styles and grape varietals grown in each sub area of the valley.
|Map courtesy of Sunshine Estates|
As you can see from the map there are many sub areas that make up the Rhône Valley and each is important for producing their own different style with notable producers and different nuances. For the purpose of this wine we are not going to dive into all that. Why you ask? Well, this wine is a lower tier wine from the greater Rhône Valley made up of multiple vintages. The Rhône valley is really split into two major areas: Northern Rhône and Southern Rhône. Northern Rhône wines only allow the production of Syrah for red wine in order to be named from the Northern Rhône area, but also produce whites from Roussanne and Marsanne. However, Southern Rhône is usually made up of blended grapes including Grenache (most planted), Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault and Mouvèdre as well as whites from blended varietals.
|Rocky soils of Souther Rhône. Photo courtesy of Wine Cellarage|
The Rhône Valley snaking along the Rhône River is most notable for its rocky soils. The rugged landscape of both North and South help to protect the vineyards against from the Mistral, a very cold, dry wind pattern that blows through from the Mediterranean. Wines from this region tend to be powerful, bold dark fruit with tobacco, cedar, spice and floral aromas.
What makes this wine truly unique is that it is a non vintage wine. Saint Cosme has set up a solera system, which is a fractional blending process when making beer, wine, brandy or vinegar. Simply, it is comprised of multiple vintages that you pull from and blend together. This wine was bottled in 2011 so it is a blend of 50% 2010 vintage and the other 50% pulled from every vintage dating back to 1999. While it is not an expression of a certain vintage or a particular area it doesn't need to be because it is meant to be an early consumption, pleasant drinking wine consistent of a certain flavor profile. This wine is 100% Grenache sourced mainly from the South.
Little James' Basket Wine had aromas of barnyard, cherry, cedar, vanilla, lavender and clove with flavors of stewed cherry, clove, all spice, and cedar. We are great fans of the Rhône Valley in this house and found this wine to be a great value (less than $12) for the Rhône. While it's not something to hold it makes a great accompaniment to winter meals including roasted/grilled vegetables, pizza, pasta, roasted/grilled meats and stews. We enjoyed this wine with skirt steak over a mushroom, red wine reduction and sautéed bokchoy and broccoli. C'est magnifique!