Apparently, it’s “National Drink Wine Day.” I thought that was every day. But in any case, please feel free to raise a glass to yourself or a loved one, and enjoy another wine-centric entry on my blog.
Another Christmas has gone by, and another wonderful wine gift from my father-in-law showed up at my door to ring in some merriment. This past year it was in the form of 8 bottles of Tardieu-Laurent Côte-Rôtie 2008. Yes, I am lucky! This time the wine came from my (and now one of his) favorite sources, Last Bottle Wines. I had the first of these just after Christmas, and in the fray of a busy holiday season, I am finally getting around to writing about it while I enjoy the third. We shared that first bottle with friends in Washington DC over dinner at their home, and caught up on at least a year of stories. What better way to do it? We paired it with grilled burgers and salmon. A little cold was not stopping a good grilling. The wine went beautifully with both entrées.
As you may or may not know, the laws of the Côte-Rôtie appellation dictate that this wine be 80-100% Syrah, with the other 20% allowed being the more prestigious white grape of the Rhône, Viognier. The rest of the northern Rhône appellations — Cornas, Hermitage, St. Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage — also require the only red grape in the blend to be Syrah. Cornas and Hermitage have to be 100% Syrah whereas St. Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage also permit around 10% of white grapes, which can include Marsanne and Roussanne. The wines of the Côte-Rôtie are in their own right catching up with the stature, and complexity of the very famous Hermitage and the Southern Rhone’s Châteauneuf. They age beautifully and have been made here for centuries.
The wine is purple in color, smoothly balanced and has well-integrated acidity and tannin. On the nose are ripe black and red fruits, leather, wildflowers and the game and black pepper notes that are classic Syrah. Côte-Rôtie literally translates into the ‘roasted slope,’ paying tribute to the abundant sunshine afforded these steep, eastern-facing slopes. While aspect contributes the sunshine, altitude lends the cooling counterpart needed to perfectly ripen grapes, particularly grapes like Syrah which require ample time to develop fully. The Viognier brings the nice floral note to the wine and the schist soil adds the final piece of the wine’s terroir profile by retaining heat and aiding drainage and root strength. While I don’t know (and don’t want to, being a gift) what they were pricing them at, wine-searcher has the average price for this vintage at $69 a bottle.
It is delicous yet again. I better save the rest for a while, but it is hard to resist such an elegant and structured wine.