November 19, 2008
In Fine 2007 Côtes de Ventoux about $13
We seem to have become addicted to the vanilla sweetness of oak — it's used to give extra flavor to all sorts of popular wines, at every price point. It can be a good thing when it's done with restraint; however, it's often obnoxiously obvious, the product of oak planks, chips or sawdust rather than time spent in wooden barrels. Which is why my socks rolled up and down when I found this red. It's made by Raphaël Trouiller of Domaine de Cascavel, an up-and-coming winemaker in the southern Rhône, on the stony flanks of Mount Ventoux. He's taken some of the fruit from his younger vineyards to make this wine, a blend of cherryish grenache with a splash of darker, plummy syrah. To preserve the brightness of the fruit, he fermented it in traditional cement tanks and then bottled it — oak-free. It's vibrant and lively with fresh fruit and a hint of rosemary, an excellent addition to the Thanksgiving table, or any time you've roasting a bird.
Imported by Bourgeois Family Selections LLC; bourgeoiswines.com
This review first appeared in the Denver Post.