March 4, 2009

Chave - Cotes-du-Rhone - Mon Coeur - 2006

Rhone Region / France
Proprietary Blend / $18-$25

I just arrived back from Naples, Florida where I spent 4 exhausting days with some old friends. Every year I meet with these guys to play golf and get a few days away from the family. There may be golf during the day, but it is all about food and wine at night.

The down side of spending time in an expensive market, is the food and drink is expensive too. To hold down costs, we tried to stay with wines offered at $70.00 and below. This is always a challenge since that puts the retail price at $20.00 to $25.00 at which point quality is spotty.

Most of the wine we had over this trip was forgettable. Why is it so hard for high end restaurants to research wines for the lower third of their list? There are some great values out there and we only found one worth mention.

Chave is best known for their higher end wines from Hermitage and St Joseph. Many folks are not aware that they produce an entry level wine as well. Although they carefully buy the grapes used from throughout the Rhone region (Rasteau and Cairanne), the result is delicious.

This wine is a blend of Syrah, Granache and a little bit of Carignane. The nose is fabulous with strawberry and red fruit. It is a bit darker then a Pinot Noir with good clarity. The first taste brings cherry and blackberry on the front and a slightly spicy raspberry finish. The tannins are pure and sweet...this one is easy to drink.

This wine was paired with a Roquefort Strip Steak and held up to it well. It is not a wimpy wine. The wine had good body, almost chewy...and can be paired with bold flavors and fatty food.

I need to thank Rick Gilbert and the boys from Buffalo for picking up the tab that evening. Kudos to Larry Hager the KaKooYa man for letting the shanty Irish invade Quail West; Chris for admitting he had new hair plugs, and Barry the door breaker. Tim Gavigan with Fleming's Steakhouse treated us like gold. I hope I have the chance to reciprocate in Washington, DC. Thanks to all, you made my week!

By the way....Notice the Alligator in the lower right hand corner of this photo. Rick and Chris were about to throw me into the water for playing so poorly.

Photo Credit to Larry's I-Phone.

From Left to Right - WineGent, Chris Gavigan and Rick Gilbert