Life has gotten in the way of my studies this past week; I had my in-laws in town so we showed them around Colorado and by the time we got home at the end of each day I was too tired to study. I am a big believer in taking breaks when studying but a whole week off is too much. I feel like I have to go back and start all over again, just to get in the right frame of mind.
In effort to reinvigorate my studies, I went to a wine tasting at a restaurant called Local 6. The tasting, known as the Rhone Wave Tour, features twelve producers from around California, Oregon, and Washington. I always enjoy going to this particular tasting because one of my favorite producers is always there, David O’Reilly with Owen Roe!
The whole point of this tasting is to feature wines that are made using Rhone varietals. Major red Rhone varietals include Grenache and Syrah, typically bottled as blends but some producers choose to bottle a single varietal. For the whites the major varietals are Mourvedre, Viognier, and Grenache Blanc. Again they are typically bottled as a blend but there are single expressions too. In two hours I tasted thirty-two wines and came out with three that I thought were remarkably different from the others.
The first wine was a 2015 Crawford Beck Pinot Gris by Owen Roe. On the nose it was full of ripe strawberries and blood orange with a hint of delicate white flowers. When it came to the palate it expressed so much fruit I couldn’t help but smile when I tasted it! There was over ripe watermelon, kiwis, and more strawberries than I could imagine, at the end there was a slight minerality and a good amount of acid that balanced out the wine for a clean slightly off-dry finish. The texture was light and crisp yet creamy in my mouth, all I could ask was “May I have some more please?”
The next wine that stood out to me was the 2013 Le Grenache by Petrichor. The nose was reminiscent of a spring day full of flowers, sunshine, and newly uncovered earth. The palate was interesting as it brought big red fruits such as raspberry and pomegranate. Then you got a decent amount of acid on the finish to brighten it up. Because the grapes were grown on volcanic ash, there is a good amount of mineral on the finish too. It made me want to go day dream on a rooftop patio somewhere, soak up the sun and enjoy some artisan charcuterie. I love a wine that changes my mood or frame of mind, this one did just that!
The last wine that peaked my interest was another by Owen Roe (I told you he is my favorite), it was the 2013 Chapel Block Red Willow Syrah. The nose was full of blueberries in the glass with some blackberries dabbled in every so often. The color was so dark and inky it reminded me of squid ink. For the palate, it was full of those dark fruits again with some mocha notes and cassis mixed in to finish it off. The oak aging gave it great depth without sacrificing any fruit, very well balanced and great structure.
After an afternoon of tasting wine, I was ready to go home and dive into my studies again. So I did just that. I gathered up all my study materials and went to my neighborhood coffee shop to continue studying the Rhone Valley and Southern France. We (the Cork Dorks) have the Rhone Valley, Southern France, and Bordeaux to cover before we are finished with France and then its dinner time! Stay tuned for more next week…