07/15/09 – the southern Rhône is so 2007

By Jesse on July 13, 2009

As long as the LA Winos have been drinking together, we’ve never done a vintage-specific theme for one of our weekly tastings. However, I was recently contacted by Jason — our host this Wednesday evening — who told me how excited he was about the 2007 vintage of Rhône Valley wines. Any time Jason gets excited about anything besides robots, I know to take him seriously, so 2007 Rhône it shall be.

france.JPGFor those who are a little sketchy on their French geography, the Rhône Valley is located in the southeastern part of the country, up-river a bit from the Mediterranean (it’s designated by the dark blue area on this map). The Rhône’s red wines are made from Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsaut, and other grapes; in the southern Rhône, these grapes are blended together, while in the north, only Syrah is used.

According to this Wine Spectator piece, the 2007 reds from the southern Rhône are “fleshy, dense and intensely ripe.” And this article also mentions the ripeness, stating that “whether this will be a keeping vintage is open to debate, but what is absolutely certain is that it is one that will give a huge amount of immediate pleasure.”

Both articles seem more enthusiastic about the wines of the southern Rhône than those of the north, so please keep that in mind when buying your bottle. Don’t forget, it won’t say “southern Rhône” on the label — you’ll need to look for the names of specific appellations that are in the south (these include Côtes du Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vacqueyras, Gigondas, and Côtes du Luberon, among others). Check this map if you’re not sure.

Note: for whatever reason, these two articles seem to concern themselves only with the red wines of the ’07 vintage, and both are kind of annoyingly written as though the whites didn’t exist at all. True, the Rhône may be more famous for its reds, but the whites can kick some ass too, if they’re well-made. Therefore, although the reds may be the wines that everyone is talking about, you can feel free to bring either red or white (or rosé, if you’re so inclined). As always, you can choose to bring $10 if you get last-minute bottle fright.

We’ll be meeting at Jason’s place in Brentwood. The RSVP system functions like this: if you want in, you click on this link and tell me so (don’t forget your full name, e-mail address, and a cute message conveying to me your intentions). If you’re denied entry due to a meeting exceeding capacity, don’t worry — you’ll be at the top of the list the next week.

Once you’ve gotten your confirmation e-mail, go out and find yourself a bottle of 2007 Rhône (or bring a $10 donation, if you prefer). See you Wednesday night—