As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are embroiled in a hard-fought NHL playoff series (tied at 2 games a piece) with the Phoenix Coyotes, and as always, we’ve been doing our part by conjuring up some good red Rhône mojo. We’ve gotten things going with three solid, late-model Grenache-based selections from the southern part of the valley. We picked up this first little number at an LCBO during a recent sojourn in the Niagara Peninsula.
2007 Domaine la Garrigue Vacqueyras, 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, 5% Cinsault, 14.5% alc., $25.99 Can.: Deep, dark black plum and berry shaded with considerable smoke, earth and iron in both flavor and aroma; big and chewy, being full bodied and very well structured. There’s a huge core of sweet, somewhat sun baked fruit here, with the earthy iron playing a solid counterpoint that keeps it from going over the top. Classic Domaine la Garrigue Vacqueyras, and easily a 10 year wine and more. Based on our experience a year ago with the 2005 model, we gave this a couple of hours in a decanter before drinking, and while that helped to open it up, cellaring is still the best option with this one at present. Find this wine
2006 Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf du Pape, 65% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, 5% Mourvedre, 5% Counoise- Muscardin- Vaccarèse, 14% alc., $29.99: Clean, dark color, with tar and earthy iron over a rich core of smoky black plum and berry on the nose, all of which echoes and expands on the palate with subtle underbrush-forest floor; big and chewy, very well structured and years away from showing its best, but with loads of promise. Not unapproachable, but patience is advised. Find this wine
Imported by Kobrand Corporation, New York, NY
2006 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf du Pape, 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, 15% alc., $32.99: Deep, dark color, almost opaque, with rich black plum, blackberry and black currant flavors and aromas; somewhat sun baked and earthy, but not as earthy as the Mont-Redon. Full bodied, well structured for many years in the cellar and fairly long on the finish, where the tannins clamp down some. Too ripe for Kim’s tastes, but I like it just fine, especially for the promise that it shows. Like so many of these youngsters, this really likes extended air and some good grilled red meat, but there’s no substitute for several years in the cellar for it to show everything it has to offer. Find this wine
Imported by Kysela Pere & Fils, Ltd., Winchester, VA
Reporting from Day-twah,