If you hear the name Rhône you might be braced for sticker shock thinking of Châteauneuf de Pape or Gigondas. But Ventoux is not about ready just now to empty your wallet and again if you know the producers you can walk away with a smile on your face from both the price and the quality. One very respected producer is the Chaudiére brothers with their Pesquié label. By comparison just because you see or hear about a Bordeaux wine there are humdinger expensive wines but search within Bordeaux, you’ll find many regions long known for their quality and reasonable prices such as Côtes de Blaye. But isn’t searching part of the fun unless you are the consumer who just wants the same steady Eddy. I know a couple of friends that continually drink the same wines which are very poor representations of Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. But if ignorance is bliss and I am just a nut that looks for Romanian, Hungarian, Israeli, Brazilian and Bulgarian wines!
Although summers can be hot the cool winds flowing down Mt. Ventoux in the evening keep the grapes cool and fresh.
Wine critic Robert Parker has given the 2019 Pesquié Edition 1912M a 90 rating and knowing his preferred style for favouring richer wines and that the predominant grape is Grenache in the blend I don’t expect it will be pussyfooting around your palate. Grenache always reminds me of very ripe strawberries, almost overripe! You might want to say it is just about the direct opposite of Pinot Noir.
Sorry for the blah blah blah.
On the nose there is a lightness I was not expecting with Grenache and I am attributing that to the cool winds flowing down Mt. Ventoux. While there is some strawberry there is a heavy raspberry streak, cherry cola and blackberry. It was very difficult to single out distinct influencers on the nose as they are tightly intertwined into a delightfully complex bouquet. I could wimp out by saying “a complex combination and black and red fruits” but that might confuse you more than I may have already confused you.
Some mild and broad tannins but a delightfully complex palate makes describing this wine like jumping over the Berlin Wall from the DDR to the GDR! But at the risk of an East German bullet in my back I’ll start by saying the palate is a beautiful mixture of fruit designed by the Chaudiére brothers to thwart a Canadian wine writer deprived of European travel and wine media trips for two years. His palate moans for drinking European wine and eating food IN EUROPE PLEASE! As I rant get me out of this COVID prison quick. Now getting back to the palate lots of black cherry, blueberry pie with a crosscurrent of black licorice and root beer. The finish is moderate with a bit of spice and heat. With 15% alcohol content to beat US tariff restrictions on French wine no wonder there is a bit of heat. A classic Trumpian era French wine!
Now as for food after not being in France for 3 years and eating almost exclusively Vietnamese food when I was last there except when staying at my friend’s Parisian condo where I ate far too much dirt-cheap French cheese, rillette, paté, tomatoes and baguettes which would suit this wine perfectly of course with a great Parisian jazz radio station.
To conclude this wine is no heavy hitter. It is an elusive mid-weight like Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao. Tight, muscular and determined not to lose.
As for ageing Parker suggests 10 years I will beg to differ and say the wine is so well integrated right now it might improve in the bottle for a couple of years but I say drink up to 2025. Looking for a Christmas party wine if the COVID police are permitting it this might do the trick if you have munchies going of course with French cheeses, paté and that Parisian jazz station of which I have forgotten the co-ordinates for. Switzerland has a few great jazz stations so happy internet searching.
(Edition 1912M 2018, Appellation Ventoux Protégée, Famille Chaudiére, Momorion, France, $17.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 636159, 750 mL, 15%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 92/100).