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Sunday, March 01, 2009

A collection of '07 Cotes du Rhone, a Treasure Trove of Value

There isn't often a sense of palpable excitement over 10 dollar wine, yet this group of cheapies offer a window into the recent explosion of quality that generic '07 Rhones are offering at the most modest of price-points. This vintage of Cotes du Rhone continues to provide the best bang for your recession era buck (notice the consistent themes of intensity of flavor, color saturation and round, mouth-filling texture) and these widely available bottlings are a great place to start your foray into the heralded class of 2007:

Domaine Les Grands Bois, Cuvee Les Trois Soeurs '07
Nearly opaque Cotes du Rhone? Oh yeah baby- get used to that tune in this vintage because it is as redundant as a rendition of ‘Who's on First,’ during Rain Man. A powerful, extraverted bouquet of big, black licorice, cherry liqueur, orange peel and cola scents dazzle their way from the glass. The mouth-feel is tremendously lush, full-flavored and tastes like the essence of liquefied Grenache. I love the intensity of fruit, supple texture and sheer hedonism of this cuvee, absolutely shattering any preconceived notion of what can be accomplished at this price-point, 91 points.

Domaine La Garrigue Cuvee Romaine, '07
How many 'never miss' 11 dollar wines are out there? Will, this is easily one of them, and the '07 is a particularly well built, powerful expression of old vines. The hue is deep ruby, w/ a serious, barrel sample-like nose of crushed black cherry, seared beef, pepper and plum sauce scents. The palate is simply a fistfull of big, fully loaded Provencal flavors that unwind spicy dark fruit notes through to the round, surprisingly fresh finish, 90 points.

Mordoree CDR La Dame Rousse ‘07
07, are you kidding me? CDR is an acronym that takes on a entirely different meaning in this vintage, w/ the cheapie (12 bucks and change for the recession sensitive) Mordoree early release churning out an immense, purple color. A smokin’ bouquet of crème de cassis, plum cake, maple wood and smoky fireplace notes scream from the glass. The flavors turn lip-smackin’ and almost chewy in the palate, stirring up vivid, purple fruit flavors that are allied to a well rounded frame; echoing a sweet milk-chocolate note on the finish, 90 points.

Monpertuis Vignoble de la Ramiere, Cotes du Rhone ’07
Another fruit forward, expressively perfumed ’07, w/ a spectacular array of blueberry, cherry liqueur, rose petals and damp firewood notes that gush from the glass. A mouth filling entry turns juicy and well rounded in the palate, w/ good acidity, medium weight and excellent flavor authority. While not quite at the level of the crème de la crème for ’07 Cotes du Rhone, it has to be the best version I’ve had from Monpertuis, 88 points.

For fair balance, here's one that I wasn't thrilled with:

Paul Autard CDR '07
A big, grapey performance, w/ a purple colored robe that is nearly impenetrably dark. The sweet entry shifts violet, blueberry and cola notes through the palate with a surprisingly high level of tannins. In spite of its firmness, things manage to roll on w/o a hitch, thanks to the glycerin charged-ripeness. Fails to really impress at the end of the day, as it is little more than a one-dimensional experience, 84 points.

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