Tasting Notes: Perrin ‘Côtes du Rhône’ 2011
Recently I had a big catch-up with good friends, and it is always an occasion to see the interesting wines from Australia and around the world that they are all drinking. Usually there is a good dollop of South Australian Shiraz, a Bordeaux red here or there, some New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and maybe a Riesling. Oh, and Champagne and Australian Sparkling. You might be starting to understand that good wine is the essence of these lunches, as well as the food and the company.
Flying in the face of tradition, I decided to bring a new one for all of us – a genuine Rhône Valley red. The Perrin family have vast holdings, including the famed Chateau de Beaucastel. This wine hails from an adjacent vineyard estate, called Grand Prébois, as well as Syrah from Vinsobres. The wine contains much Grenache and Syrah, with some minor varieties added for blending complexity and balance. Having travelled through the south of France (and the rest of it) earlier this year, I was excited to try this wine.
The colour is an interesting ruby purple, it has a very fruity nose. It is a real old world blend, and it doesn’t jog my memory of any Australian Rhône blends that I am aware of. I have read mixed things about the 2011 Rhône vintage, but the overall impression seems to be that the bigger wine families such as Perrin still had a good selection of grapes. Winemakers had to be careful to select the right grapes. There are definite red fruits on the nose, and a peppery hint from the Syrah. Tasting the wine really hits you with a beautiful supple and round flavour, with some quality fruit splashing around. We drank this wine with slow-cooked beef and vegetables, and it was a unanimous hit. There are soft tannins but it got a huge vote of confidence from others at the table who generally run far, far away from tannic wines. They are nicely integrated. The dominance of Grenache in the blend is a real winner, considering that we also drank a Spanish Grenache at this lunch that did not go down as well. It is not quite as fleshy as I would have liked but I think this is an interesting wine to compare with new world Rhône blends, and I picked it up for around $22, which is a bargain. Drink it with food and friends, definitely.
I would have liked a bit more flesh on this wine, but with food and company it is a reasonably priced and flavourful French wine.