What a difference a year makes! To wine connoisseurs, the year of production and influence of weather can make huge differences in wines. In 2007, fickle weather conditions toyed with experienced vintners to make them feel like beginners in the trade. The early and extreme heat of April forced earlier than usual blooming. Excessive wet weather during May through August resulted in devastating vine mildew problems throughout most of France. Many of the prime producers of fine red wine were affected – Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, Beaujolais, Champagne and northern Provence. Those areas less impacted by weather problems produced the best 2007 red wines, particularly in the Rhne Valley where the area had the advantage of a hot, dry summer.
The following red wines rise to the top for value and taste.
2007 Ctes du Rhne-Villages Comte Louis de Clermont-Tonnerre “Trs Vieilles Vignes”
Tasters describe the wine’s dark ruby/purple color with the delectable influence of black cherry fruit. Aged vines of 60 years or so produced this cuve with exceptional acidity and prime aroma and texture. A definite winner from the South of France!
2007 Ctes du Rhne, Perrin & Fils “Reserve”
Another excellent choice and superior value, this Ctes du Rhne Reserve red contains 60% Grenache with the remainder in equal parts Syrah and Mourvedre. Per the wine taster’s palate, the wine bursts with a rich blend of juicy blackberry, cherry and peach fruit and traces of peppery spice. Nice intensity, silky texture and aptly named a Wine & Spirits Top Values of the Year!
2007 Ctes du Rhne-Villages, Perrin & Fils
There’s an interesting side note to this silky wine. Signifying exceptional vineyard sites, a mere 20% of the vineyards of Ctes du Rhne may add “Villages” to their name. Another winning selection from the consistent Perrin family, this aromatic wine laces plum and black cherry flavors with spice and hints of violet. The 2007 Ctes du Rhne-Villages grabs the best of Rhne Valley vineyards with equal parts of Syrah and Grenache to yield perfect balance and taste. Rated 90 points by Wine Spectator.
2007″Cuve Classique Chteauneuf du Pape” from the Domaine Olivier Hillaire winery
A red blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah grapes, this wine is another exceptional choice from the Rhone. Combine bright ruby color with the aroma of cherries, and you have fine balance and elegant, dry taste.
2007 Ctes du Rhne Domaine Rouge Bleu “Le Mistral”
Earning 91 points from the Wine Spectator, the relatively new Rouge Bleu team produced their top cuvee – a tantalizing, robust wine with a blend of Grenache (71%), Syrah (19%), Mourvdre (8% and Roussanne (2%) grapes. Centered with blackberry and currant flavors, the distinct smoked applewood and melted licorice add to this rich and savory selection. A story makes anything taste better, so why not visit the Domaine Rouge-Bleu site for an inside look at heart and soul of entrepreneurial winemaking adventures. http://www.rouge-bleu.com/ Beyond profiling their fine wines, Jean-Marc Espinasse offers amusing anecdotes on the infamous and mischievous Mistral winds that toy with his vineyard.
For exceptional reviews and availability of wines throughout the world, browse through Wine Spectator and wine.com.