Monday, September 27, 2010

Xavier, Cotes du Rhone (France)

As any Google search will tell you, Xavier Vignon ( ) is a consulting oenologist for several notable wineries in the Cotes du Rhone... what they don't tell you, is who those wineries are. I don't know who they are either (sorry I can't solve the puzzle like Rick Castle would).

What I can tell you is that Xavier is a man very intimately connected with the local industry, and in a rare position to know who is doing the best of what in any given year. He now uses this long accumulation of knowledge to create his own, reasonably priced, blends.

The Cotes du Rhone blend is a traditional Chateauneuf du Pape blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah & 20% Mouvedre. I think it's become such a stand-by and classic style of blend because those percentages (in general - any given year may change it) reflect a true sense of balance in the wine. This blend certainly achieves those goals.

2007 Xavier, Cotes du Rhone blend
$20 CAN (BC), 14.5%

  • deep bruised plum center colors with light cherry rim
  • full- intense nose primarily of black raspberries, black cherries, ripe plums, leathery oak (and a whiff of slightly hot alcohol)
  • moderate acids, moderate+ slightly gravelly tannins, moderately intense palate that mimics the nose well, but is slightly less developed and tapers off quickly. Think more green cherries rather then black.
  • moderate+ body, moderate+ structure
pair with: something with a bit of fat to it, to balance the acids. Steak with a compound butter? There's enough structure that it can handle lamb as well (once again playing off the acids)... I have it! Try a grilled veal cutlet (bone in) with a wild mushroom cream demi-glace... serve with creamed spinach, parsnip & apple puree & roast bell peppers.

This is a good wine for the money, and as those of you in the States can buy this for $15 instead of $20 - an even better buy. It certainly outperforms its very reasonable cost!


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