Winery: Chateau Rayas
Bottling: 2004 La Pialade Cotes du Rhone (Grenache 80%, Cinsault 15%, Syrah 5%)
Importer: Martine’s Wines
Sub-Region: Cotes du Rhone, Rhone Valley
Estimated Retail Price: $25 – $30
Purchase Details & Tasting Source: Purchased for a substantial discount from a local retailer and consumed with a home made meal of pasta cooked by some out of town friends
Tasting Notes: What’s up with these $30 cotes du Rhone’s? I know its from a stellar producer of Chateauneuf du Papes, but man. Paying $30 for a Cotes du Rhone just doesn’t sound right. Oh well, it was on sale at the moment and when this wine was released in 07, I tasted it at a distributor tasting and thought it was fantastic. All I remember was how texturally appealing the wine was. Seeing it in the bargain bin was a total coup.
First the color. The wine looked beautiful on the dinner table in our dimly candle-lit living room. It was a red that just shimmered and looked so pure. It was cool to look at. On the nose were raspberries, cherries and herb. In the mouth, the wonderful texture I remember two years ago was still there. It was supple and pillowey and was not a texture I remember ever experiencing in many wines.
Lavendar as well as more raspberries and cherries were the flavors I tasted. The wine was very feminine in style and had an elegant perfume and floral aroma that matched its silken texture. Nice finish.
Food Pairing and Context in Which to Enjoy: We had this alongside a simple pasta and sausage ragu in red sauce. They both paired very well with the meal.
Our friend who wanted to experience and learn more about French wine was having a lot fun comparing and contrasting La Pialade with a wine we had together the night prior; the Kenneth Crawford Grenache from Santa Ynez, California. She could not believe the significant difference in taste and overall style between two wines fashioned from the same grape, grown in different regions.
Winery & Other Background Info: As I mentioned a little earlier in the post, Chateau Rayas is known for producing excellent Chateauneuf du Pape. To quote this backgrounder on the winery’s winemaking prowess, “in bad or good vintages it tastes genuine. In a world of sameness, the Reynaud Family makes a wine that’s idiosyncratic even by the local standards of Chateauneuf.” This is the kind of producer you trust and don’t think twice about when deciding to buy their wines year in year out.
The importer, Martine’s Wines doesn’t mess around. The company imports several other hand-selected, esteemed properties from the Rhone (Pegau) as well as Burgundy (Leroy & Perrot-Minot). As a little side note, Martine Saunier was also the first woman in the United States to establish a wine import company. A traditional, old-world portfolio built by a progressive person; gotta love it.