Mission Codename: A Fortified History

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Visit France’s Côtes du Rhône Villages and secure an exclusive allocation of a Rasteau Côtes du Rhône Villages AOC.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Domaine de Verquiere

Wine Subject: 2009 Rasteau – Côtes du Rhône Villages Rouge

Backgrounder: In the Côtes du Rhône Villages and its environs are several villages that have achieved their own AOC status as in the case of today’s selection from the Rasteau AOC. Originally designated in 1944 and became a Côtes du Rhône Villages cru in 1967. The history of this region dates back to the 17th century and was originally known for its fortified wines. The wines of this region must be at least 50% Grenache and a combination of a minimum of 20% of either or both Syrah and Mourvedre.

Today’s selection is 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah and through a very special arrangement, we are able to bring you an exclusive allocation of this wine that is generally not imported into the United States.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Dark garnet with a deep and dense, but clear core that shows streaks of light when held to the light. Along the edges, the color pales just slightly and this wine leaves randomly spaced medium-thick legs of varying speeds on the side of the glass.

Smell – Initially rich that becomes more restrained as it opens with spicy aromas of earthy red fruit including red plum, red cherry and other tart berries. Just under the fruit are perfumed notes of floral violets, soft earthy mushroom and slate mineral notes.

Feel – Smooth and dry on the initial attack. Then at mid-palate, this youthful wine’s textured and firm tannins blend with etched minerality and this wine’s lively acidity to add a youthful mouthfeel.

Taste – Tart red fruit including red cherry, tart raspberry, a touch of sour plum mingle with hot and exotic spice, earthy and mushroom notes, mocha and bittersweet chocolate, a distinct mineral slate and graphite component and hints of the floral violets found on the nose.

Finish – Medium to long in length with the spice and minerality lingering on the tip of the tongue as the fruit and other flavors fade and the firm tannins dry the palate and invite another sip.

Conclusion – The 2009 Domaine de Verquiere 2009 Rasteau Côtes du Rhône Villages Rouge is a both restrained and old world as well as a unique and food friendly Rhone blend that shows plenty of classic Grenache character as well as the region’s distinct mineral qualities. A wine that benefits greatly by giving it time to open, pair this wine with hearty fall stews or roast meats. Enjoy this wine tonight or cellar for three years.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The approximate location of the Rasteau AOC can be seen in this satellite photo.

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