May 03, 2006

Perrin 2005 Côtes du Rhône Réserve ($12)

Peas, favas, arugula, artichokes, spring onions - chlorophyll is back in a big way on menus. And that means white wines are too. But if you think that vegetables are diet food and that white wines are always wispy and unsatisfying, you need to meet the joys of bacon and Rhône whites.

The bacon is for enriching the vegetables - just a strip fried crisp and crumbled over vegetables that have been sautéed in the fat makes a simple medley into a main-course meal. And Rhône grapes like grenache blanc, marsanne and viognier make wines with a satiny, broad texture that matches bacon's richness and offers clear pearlike flavors that let the vegetables shine.
Check out Perrin's 2005 Côtes du Rhône Réserve for starters: It's an affordable and delicious introduction to Rhône whites from the Perrin family, famous for their far more expensive wines at Château de Beaucastel in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Imported by Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, Ala.; about $12.

This review first appeared in the Denver Post.

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