INSIDER'S PICK: 2017 CLOS DU MONT-OLIVET COTES DU RHONE VIEILLES VIGNES (Wine Spectator 90points) $23.99
The appellation system for wines is NOT a guarantee of quality, only that the minimum standards for that designation have been met and the POTENTIAL is there for quality. A wine can underachieve from a mediocre winery even with potentially great fruit to work with, and just as likely a great wine can come from meager origins at the hands of a top quality winery. To parallel food, a poorly cooked piece of filet mignon can be very ordinary (we've all cooked those once or twice at home, I'm sure), but a master chef can make a burger you dream about for weeks. So when there is a 'basic' Cotes du Rhone like this, priced a little higher than usual, you have to look a little closer to see what sets it apart. You will find this is a wine that not only justifies its price point but will even strike you as a relative bargain. Considered a 'beacon of traditionalism' by their importer and most in the industry, this is one of the older independent wineries in the region, and have not changed their style just to follow the fashion of trends, with all their vines a minimum of 40 years old used in this bottling. This bottling is made with little time in oak for a more approachable character and is the most ready to drink wine they produce, but still possesses impressive classic character that many wines in the $20+ range from more 'tenderloin' areas of the Rhone can't even touch.
Built from mostly Grenache, the small doses of Carignan and Syrah definitely make their presence known in giving the wine its rustic tones. From the first pour, there is a noticeable savory edge to the dark red fruit on the nose, equal provincial herbs and lightly smoked meat to the raspberry and black cherry tones, though the fruits start to catch up as it opens up. On the palate the texture is plenty mouthfilling, not missing the use of new oak one bit as it fills the mouth with fine tannins and savory natural flavors. Where some more modern Rhones would get into the more juicy red fruit tones, this stays robust with fine cocoa powder type tannins and only sweetening up a little bit as it opens up, the fruit mostly keeping the dried skin tones. Fans of older style Chateauneuf-du-Pape will definitely find this much more to their liking than many things out on the market now, and if you have never had the chance to taste something that was old school Rhone this is about as textbook as you will find. A perfect match with any savory, hearty and meaty dish you can imagine.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!