Sunday, 27 January 2019

The Rhone and Rhone wines

Beautiful wines and beautifully told, The Rhone Valley.

France, and the Rhone, for so many Francophiles, and Wine Club members, the area holds some of the most enjoyable wines.  Over the years we have enjoyed many French wines, Burgundian Wines, the Clarets and now that wonderful area of France that follows the Rhone from  the South of Burgundy, The Rhone Valley.

Such a joy to have a tour and to be guided by our speaker, Toby Chiles.  Toby spent a number of years working in Lyon in the wine industry.  It's as very clear that his knowledge of the beautiful wines of the Rhone Valley was extensive.

In addition to good wine we also had some very good cheeses matched to the wines, I will give more information about the cheeses later in this blog

First a big thanks to Toby, a great job again.....

And what of the wines?

First the amount, we had 10 tastings, the first of which we enjoyed as the 'welcome wine' as we arrived. This was a sparkling wine, from the tiny AOC, officially known as St Peray Mousseux AOC.   Truth be told not a wine known outside of France and the only sparkling wine made in the Rhone Vally area of production.

The Rhone valley area under wine production  is huge,  the biggest single market the UK, we love these wines. It seems that a bottle of Rhone wine is opened every 19 seconds. a lot of wine!

After the great start we move on to Organic white Cote du Rhone  and a Voignier

Both wines were very easy on the pallet with good levels of fruit from the Voignier particularly, what was very good was the chance to  to taste both wines side by side, the comparison was a good call, this coupled with tow soft cheeses added to the wines lasting impression

Then the reds:

A mini flight of three Cote du Rhone.  And a trick up the sleeve of Toby, all the same grapes, all the same blend but what, one from Aldi and a very low price, then one from,  wait for it, Australia, and then a true Cote du Rhone blend from the Rhone valley.  The classic blend being Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, commonly refers to as GSM (See Tempus two below - Australia)

What do people think, well the Aldi came in a clear third, then the French and Oz wines were just about neck and neck in terms of appeal. As Toby said when you are not sure what you have it's clear that the results of a tasting are not predicable.

Now the big guns, the most expensive wines are from the Croze-Hermitage AOC, so we enjoyed that wine as well a Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and a Vacqueyras, all very good  but how much better they all would be enjoyed with friends and good food.

The concluding wine, a wonderful sticky, a Muscat de Beams De Venise. This available from Waitrose.

Toby chose the wines with his usual expertise, getting supplies from a number of sources, and details fo the wines and prices are attached.

The Cheeses.

At most Wine Club meets we enjoy cheese but normally bought from Waitrose, they have a great selection of cheeses and we bought from them this time as well, but also ventured into the Aldi and Lidl to test some their specialty cheeses. All cheeses were very good indeed. in fact, many comments on the cheeses and their quality.

So they were:

Vintage Red Liecster
Goat Log
Triple Cream
Low Fat Seeded

Vintage Gauda

Vintage Cheddar.

The members ;

Toby officiates one of two quizzes, this won by John Onslow.


The prospect of the second Wine Club tour to France, we hope to run a trip tho the Loire region in France, this will be in the summer, dates to be confirmed but if you are interested call me or send me an email via the Blog, see below,

Next meeting is  March 29.
The wines fo Brazil