Tonight I let North and South duke it out, in this case the Northern and Southern Rhone Valley, and in particular the appellations of Beaume de Venise and Crozes-Hermitage. I went for 7 euro value plays and since I was in a rush I headed to Nicolas, the most commercialized wine merchant of Paris.
So here’s the run down…
Although most famous for its dessert muscat wine, Beaume de Venise also makes some worthy red wine. It was awarded AOC status in 2005 and has 580 hectares of vineyards, located in the village of Vaucluse in the Côtes du Rhone. The grape blend in red wines must be a minimum of 50% grenache and 25% syrah. Additionally up to 20% of the following red grapes is permitted — mourvèdre, brun argenté, carignan, cinsaut, counoise, muscardin, piquepoul and terret. And up to 5% of the following white grapes is permitted — bourboulenc, clairette, grenache, marsanne, roussanne and viognier. All grapes must be hand picked.
Crozes-Hermitage has 1,400 hectares of vineyards and is located 20 kilometers north of the town of Valence in the Northern Rhone. The grape blend for red wine is typically 100% syrah however technically up to 15% of the white grapes marsanne and roussanne is permitted. In the case of Cave de Tain l’Hermitage, which I tasted tonight, the wine is aged for 6-8 months in oak. Compared to the much smaller and more expensive Hermitage AOC, the Crozes tends to be softer and fruitier due to richer soils (clay-limestone) and less barrel fermentation. Nonetheless, Crozes tends to share the solidity of an Hermitage, more so than a Saint-Joseph, for example. And occasionally an identifiable burnt rubber smell will be exhibited.
I hate to crush the suspense but unfortunately I don’t recommend either of the two bottles, although the Crozes-Hermitage did perform a lot better.
2007 Vignerons de Beaumes de Venise “La Chapelle Notre Dame d’Aubine”
Appellation: Beaumes de Venise, Cru de Côtes du Rhone
Blend: 70% grenache, 25% syrah, 5% cinsault, <1% mourvedre
Tasting Notes: A sweet and sour nose (not in reference to Chinese food) with aromas of strawberry Starburst. It smells fake. A very fruity, alcoholic, full-bodied wine with medium tannins. Although completely dry, this wine appears sweet and is thick in the mouth, like drinking a cheap version of raspberry-topped chocolate mousse. There are also traces of caramelized blackberries cluttered throughout. The finish is hot and mildly bitter with hints of licorice and overall the performance was completely lacking integration. 14% ABV
Price: 7€ @ Nicolas Paris
2006 Cave de Tain l’Hermitage
Appellation: Crozes-Hermitage, Northern Rhone
Varietal: 100% syrah
Tasting Notes: Violet in the glass. A fruity, rather simple and unexpressive nose, with aromas of mild peppery spice and fresh black fruits. This wine is light-bodied and dry with light tannins and a nice acidity, however it exhibits a scratchy texture in the palate. There are flavors of dark chocolate, blackberry, and underdeveloped red fruit jam, cranberry comes to mind. 12.5% ABV. 50,000 cases made.
Rating: 11/20 (WS87)
Price: 7€50 @ Nicolas Paris