Reviews: Cotes Du Rhone, Pinot Noir, Rioja.

These are just a few of the bottles I’ve picked off of shelves lately, for various reasons: The Cotes Du Rhone was a suggestion from a K&L employee; the Pinot was an impulse buy; the Rioja was a hope-motivated shot in the dark, informed by the high-scoring vintage of that year.

2009 Montirius Cotes Du Rhone

The French make the most beautiful wines in the world, but some of their low-quality attempts do infest the marketplace, as our own low-quality stuff does.

2009 Montririus Cotes Du Rhone.

This Cotes du Rhone was puzzling because its K&L Web listing seems to say it’s made without oak. Yet it tasted of wood, all right. Wet wood — the sorta wet wood that has been too wet for too long. Result? A musty, moldy, diesely flavor. I may just not be appreciating the “earth” of a French wine, but I think this wine tasted of what Clive Coates, in his Wines of Burgundy, called the “deleterious effect of mouldy, bug-infested, far too old barrels.”

Whether it grew up in oak or concrete vats “without any wood influences,” as K&L’s listing suggests, phooey. If one has to ponder why it tastes that way, he’s better off not getting a bottle in the first place. After all, what can you pair mold with, other than a 10-year-old shower curtain from Wal-Mart? (Unfortunately, I have seen such a 10-year-old curtain after it reached a moldy, formerly white stage. Fortunately, it wasn’t mine.)

Too bad, because the Rhone Ranger varietals, through this moldiness defect — if you consider it a defect — would’ve been worth 88 points somewhere. (The makeup was 73% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 7% Mourvedre.)

2007 Chalone Vineyard Pinot Noir

2007 Chalone Vineyard Pinot Noir.

Another worthwhile bottling from California’s little patch of Burgundy about 140 miles south-southeast of San Francisco. Very tasty cherry and raspberry flavors, with great zingy voltage generated by the acidity. This Pinot will knock down almost any supermarket Pinot you could run across. The irony is that I bought it at my supermarket.

Definitely glad to know I’ve rebottled it into a 500-ml. format for later!

2004 Marques de Caceres Reserva

Gave this a chance for two reasons.

First, I’d had a different bottling of this producer’s 2004 vintage, and I enjoyed it for its smooth, juicy, velvety fruit.

Second, 2004 was a good Rioja year; the Wine Advocate Vintage Guide ranks it a 95, while 2003 was ranked 87 and 2005 92.

2004 Marques de Caceres Rioja Reserva.

But forget it. After opening, there was too much French oak on the palate, kowtowing to oak-obsessed critics. It seemed to dissipate after two hours, but what was left was not as good as that other bottling, which I want to say was the “Vendimia Seleccionado.” I didn’t mind the medium ripeness or the semi-long finish, but it wasn’t a pretty wine. It didn’t wow me.

Time to knock a cuppla points from the Wine & Spirits rating of 91.

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Published in: on April 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

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