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2007 Rousset Les Vignes Côtes du Rhône Villages D. La Bouvaude

March 6th, 2011 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Every biology student knows that King Philip Came Over From Great Spain (or kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species.)   In our craving for order, wine  has its own taxonomy.  The AOC system (appellation d’origine contrôlée) which looks impenetrable is not really so hard to figure out.

Consider the AOC system for the Rhône wines, made in the great river valley running 200 kilometers between Vienne and Avignon.  For wine purposes, there is a northern and a southern end.  Syrah predominates in the north.  But we’ll turn south where the principal grape for red wine is grenache.

The broadest classification “Côtes du Rhône” requires that the wine must be based upon the venerable Grenache Noir grape (at least 40 %), supplemented by other local varietals (syrah, mourvèdre, carrignan) which certainly do not include merlot, sangiovese or cabernet sauvignon, merci beaucoup.

From Côtes du Rhône, it is the step of a child to “Côtes du Rhône Villages.”  Fewer than a hundred communes  are included on the list of approved villages.  A commune is the smallest administrative unit in French government, equivalent to a municipality but frequently very small with a few hundred residentx.  The required percentage of grenache increases to 50% with at least 20 % syrah or carrignan.  We are moving towards a more defined style from favored locations.

From here it takes but an instant to consider “Côtes du Rhône Villages” with the name of the village.  16 villages now have the right to place their names on the label in exchange for meeting more exacting standards, including a minimum alcohol level of 12.5 %.

At the top of the order are the noble crus of the southern Rhône, including Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Hermitage.  Very good; very expensive.

If we decide that the children need to go to college after all, we can circle back to one of the villages permitted to use its name.  Fabienne and Stéphane Barnaud produce  wine at their Domaine La Bouvaude in the village of Rousset-les-Vignes.  At 50 % grenache, 30 % syrah, and 20 % mourvèdre, this is a traditional blend with a deep fruit flavor, marked by candor and an easy, natural sweetness.  “Elevé en fût de chêne” –aged in oak– and the use of old vines contribute to an attractive dark quality.  With that cheeky fruit flavor out in front for all to see, I would serve “La Bouvaude” with cheese or an onion tart, pissaladière, sweet and slightly caramelized.

About $17.

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