Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Vinsobres: Home to fine wine and fewer inhabitants than some high schools have students.
Many people have heard of, and tasted most likely, wine from the Cotes du Rhone Villages. For those looking for more geekdom and specificity, you can delve into any one of the 15 villages that may amend their name to a label in lieu of the lesser "Cotes du Rhone Villages." And this is where we come upon Vinsobres.
Vinsobres was only granted this legal right of slapping their name on a label in 2006, so as an appellation it is a relatively young wine. The highlights, as far as blending requirements go, say that wine from Vinsobres must contain 50% grenache, 25% of syrah and/or mourvedre, and the rest is up in the air.
The town is small, stunningly small, fewer than 1100 people and it is located in the Drome department of France. The landscape is picturesque, in that it is very reminiscent of scenes from Provence and the cuisine is about as reminiscent. Anisette and walnuts, olives and charcuterie, vegetables, honey, and truffles all play a role under the umbrella 'cuisine dauphinois' stretching from Provence to Savoie in some form or another... but look, now I'm rambling.
The wine from Domaine Chaume-Arnaud is a very good partner to just that cuisine. The grape blend is 60% grenache, 15% each of syrah and morvedre, with 5% each of carignan and cinsault. Grenache is the most prominent component as it reveals itself with dark ripe fruit flavors and a thought of wild herbs, but perhaps due to the cement tank fermentation the wine is not gobbed up clumsy like so many treated with heavy handed oak. There are tannins present, but they're delicate and fine grained, mostly on the finish.
Fairly priced in my opinion at $20, definitely for those who like a wine with a little more finesse that's not going to completely kill their palate with simple fruit and harsh oak.