Tonight's wine is an interesting one that I picked up yesterday at G.B. Russo's and it's interesting for a number of reasons, not least of which is the lesson in bureaucracy I received, though it's that bureaucratic effect that led to my getting this wine at a bargain price! The winemaker, Nicolas Perrin wanted to make a wine in the style of a Hermitage in the northern Rhone, but at a price that would make it much more approachable to young people (as opposed to $300 a bottle!). So he came up with a blend of 97% Syrah and 3% Viognier sourced from the northern Rhone. Unfortunately when it came time to bottle the wine, the French authorities would not allow him to classify it as anything but a "Vin de Table" which was the lowest classification and only allows you to state on the label the producer and that it comes from France. Then, as he tried to export it to the United States, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives would not allow him to state a vintage on a "Vin de Table" so he ended up with the very basic label we see before us. But by 2012, the French had changed their rules creating the "Vin de France" category which allowed a vintage to be added, so now he is changing the label and liquidating all the wine in the old labels, voila! A bargain!
The wine itself is very dark ruby with a tinge if India ink. The nose is very rustic, with aromas of peat moss, forest floor and wild herbs, over just a hint of fresh cut grass. Now keep in mind this wine needs some time to breathe, so you might consider decanting or letting it breathe for an hour or more as I have this evening. The wine has a very rustic taste up front, with wild herbs, grass and great minerality at the outset, with very mild red fruit that expresses itself nicely midpalate. The finish is very smooth, as the tannins accent the mineral characteristics and make for a very smooth finish.
Overall I would rate this wine a solid 7.5, as it's not a wine for everyone, but for those who really appreciate the great mineral character and terroir that can be expressed in a wine from the Rhone valley. As I mentioned earlier, it was also a great bargain at only $8! The wine would pair well with richer dishes as a nice contrast for heavy cream sauces or sweeter dishes. Tonight I am pairing this wine with some maple and bourbon glazed roast pork tenderloin, some baby potatoes with butter and parsley and some baby carrots from my garden. Bon Appetit!