A Wickedly Good Rhone Wine

One of my favorite parts of my job is teaching. I like giving seminars and talking to/with people about wine, answering their questions and giving them the straight goods about wine. I don’t believe in couching wine in terms people don’t understand or giving descriptors that only a handful of people (in the entire world) could relate to. But teaching remains a passion – and sometimes, after the formal learning part of a class is done, I like to find out what people’s palates are telling them and how the wine world is responding – in other words: are producers giving the people what they want?  I do this by bringing in a bottle or two of wines sent to me and instead of just tasting them myself, I open the bottle(s) with a small group and add their opinions and tastes to the mix. Now I’m big enough to admit that sometimes a wine escapes me as to why it is “supposedly good” to the masses, but these little tastings bring me back down to earth as people get to tell me why they like the wines they do – and in many cases, it comes down to this: people say they like dry but drink sweet: the sweeter/fruitier a wine appears on the palate, the more people gravitate to it – good examples of this are Apothic Red and Ménage à Trois.

That analogy has nothing to do with the next wine I am about to recommend, but it is something to keep in mind when you are drinking with your wine-loving friends.  The wine I uncorked last week in class was the Galevan Paroles de Femme Côtes du Rhône 2010 ($13.50 – #293472), a 60% Grenache-based blend that also contains Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Carignan – aged 12 to 15 months in cement tanks (no barrel age at all). This wine just entered the LCBO system and with its under-$14 price tag, seemed to me a no-brainer to try with folks interested in learning more about wine. The tasting was a rousing success, with many of my students looking up LCBO inventory numbers and seeing if they could make it to the store before it closed (as of last week there were 2,000 bottles or 166+ cases… a couple less due to my class). So what did we all taste and smell in this wine that appealed so much? Aromas of plum, blackberry and raspberry, Byng cherry and red licorice lured us all into the glass for a sip – then followed it up with cassis, plum, cherry liqueur, black licorice and crème de cacao on the tongue. Many students found the wine dry, but no one mentioned any offending tannins, which seems to be a major turn-off for some; they also thought it would be great with hearty foods such as meat-oriented dishes: steak, ribs or stew.  Now it’s your turn, take 14 bucks out of your piggy bank and give it a try – something tells me you’ll be back for more.

Galevan Paroles de Femme Côtes du Rhône 2010, $13.50 – #293472 (****+ = very good plus)