Wine to me is passion. It's family and friends. It's warmth of heart and generosity of spirit.
Robert Mondavi

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

One to try one to avoid (part deux)

The dreary nature of this past weekend led me to partake in a couple bottles of wine. I selected a couple of random bottles to shake things up a little. Although they have the same grape in both of the wines, the conditions and blends make for two amazingly different experiences. The two wines we will be looking at today are from Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the Rhône region of France and Atea in the Calatayud region of Spain.

2007, Evodia, Old Vine Garnacha, Calatayud, Spain - $10

This was an interesting wine from the onset. Grenache (or Garnacha in Spain) is by nature a spicy, berry forward grape that as a stand alone is surprising and very good when well crafted. However, in my opinion, it can range greatly in quality, which is the case with the Evodia.

The pigment is a beautiful dark purple/almost black, but that is where the exuberance ended. The nose of this wine was very disjointed with hints of wet stone/cinder block and an unusual cherry dominating with the traditional influence of spice and black pepper certainly evident. The palate took on sour cherry, spice, and oak. Contrary to other reviews that I read after, I found there to be some sharpness to this wine.

Overall, I give this wine 84 points, but I am not convinced that the 88 pts attributed to it by Wine Advocate and International Wine Cellar is justified. For $10 I guess you can give it a shot; however I would pass on it. It is very average and there are other wines in that range that I would look to first, but then again this is only my opinion.

2006, Domaine Roger Perrin, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhône, France - $33

As is most Rhone wines, Grenache plays a primary role, however you will rarely find it as a stand alone. In this case, Grenache has been blended with Cinsault, Mourvédre, Syrah and a couple others to create this delicious wine. The Rhône has perfected the art of growing these grapes and mastering how to blend them. In many instances, you can find very inexpensive wines that taste of far higher quality. As far as Châteauneufs are concerned, the 2006 Roger Perrin is on the lower/middle side of cost. So how was it?

The hue shone of a very nice deep burgundy and the aroma poured forth straight from the bottle. The nose exhibited blackberry and spice, while the palate was alive with blackberry and cherry, with pepper and a little leather coming in later. Towards the end you could feel some of the heat that was kicked off by the alcohol. The berry finish was nice and long and the wine exuded a certain level of confidence and balance.

For a $33 Châteauneuf I was quite happy with this. It was by no means amazingly complex like its bigger siblings, but it was very pleasant and ready to drink now. I give this wine a 90 pt rating and would recommend it to anyone who asks.

Both of wine is available at the NH Liquor store off of Exit 6 (behind the Nashua Mall). If you have a chance to try them, let us know what you think!


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