Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Vacqueyras, by Xavier

Vacqueyras; a small place, off to the side of the giant known as Chateauneuf-du-Pape. It really is just up the road, perhaps a 30 minute drive, depending on who's driving...

With it's sleepy-town feel, and quiet way of life, one might never know the passion, the ardor, the fervor with which these Provencals work with their vineyards. Vineyards that until 1937 had no official recognition from the French government, and in 1971 were only classified as vins-du-table. Small glory for the cousins of the mighty wines down the road. Finally the time came when even the French must change their way of thinking, even about wine, and Vacqueyras was declared its own D.O.C. in 1990... only 500 years after the first records of wine cultivation in the area.

Enter the wine guru Xavier Vignon ( www.XavierVins.com ) who as you may remember from an earlier post was a brilliant blender of Champagne, was a consultant for wineries on 3 (or is it 4?) continents, and is intimately connected with a multitude of wineries in the southern Rhone. Which is where one finds the town on Vacqueyras and it's red wine blend (red wine is 97% of total production for the area) of 50% or more of Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre (at least 20%) and Carignan (no more then 10%). Well now you can't say I never learned you nothing.


2007 Vacqueyras, by Xavier Vignon
14.5%ABV, $25 CAN (BC)
  • visual: deep plummy garnet centre with cherry rim, slightest amount of brickishness
  • nose: fully intense nose of stewed figs, light anise, backbone of southern Rhone terroir and its rare roast beef qualities, slightly hot alcohol, candied blackberries
  • palate: moderate+ acids, moderate++ tannins, moderate++ intense palate; mimicking the nose well, but with slightly less finesse... fruit is driving the palate, with a solid undertone of oak. Honestly, at this point, the oak is overwhelming the terroir. Strong structure and moderate+ body.
  • PAIRING: tannins like this need meat, and I would serve it (and did!) with a classic bolognese. Any braised beef or lamb will do well, as this wine has power to spare (if little delicacy). Consider Spanish or Portuguese spices! Either would enhance notes in the wine and balance the wines aggressiveness.

A good wine, if you serve it with the right food. On its own, right now, the tannins overwhelm the palate (IMHO) - but then - I know guys who drool over wines like that. To each their own!


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