Jeff’s Corner 11-15-18

Once upon a time, in the southern part of the Rhone Valley in southeastern France, the flavor of wine was ruled by rival grape gangs. They were many in number and took pride in their vicious malevolence towards one another. They were ruthless and would do anything to control our entire palate.

Mourvedre and Syrah were perhaps the darkest and most evil of the gangs and clashed bitterly over the mid-to-back palate, while Granache and Cinsault fought cruelly for dominance up front. Their spiteful hatred for one another made them the mockery of all the other great wine regions in the world.

Viognier, the leader of the only female gang in Rhone, sat back in all her floral magnificence and mocked their stupidity and arrogance. Finally, after ages passed with no improvement in the wine, she’d had enough and called an unprecedented meeting of all the great clusters.

Viognier proposed they blend themselves together to make their strengths and weaknesses work together for the good of all, rather than in their own self-interest. “Impossible.” said Syrah, the biggest bully. Mourvedre chimed in with, “Share space with those sissies? No way!” Cinsault and Grenache stood tall and said, “We have a lot to contribute, if you’ll just give us a chance.”

As we all know, Viognier’s charms are irresistible. An alliance was formed, a rendezvous of sorts, with Grenache and Cinsault providing bright red fruit up front, Syrah adding dark fruit to the mid-palate, and Mourvedre yielding structure and depth on the finish.

Viognier blew them all a kiss and said, “I just want a small share; I’ll add some sweet floral notes and brighten up you dullards with some acidity.” The rest is history, or maybe legend.

And, guess what, this little parable leads to the exquisite 2016 Rendezvous, a blend of 44.4% Syrah, 27.3% Cinsault, 22.2% Mourvedre, and 6.1% Viognier. The ABV is 13.9%, and the color a rich, ruby/purple.

Even though Rendezvous is perhaps our lightest red wine in texture, this is by no means a simple wine. Bright fruit aromas of red plum, ripe raspberry, and bing cherry weave together with red roses, violets, red licorice, cinnamon, and clove. Underlying all this is a leathery earthiness dense with intrigue.

The palate is soft, round, and elegant, dominated by well-integrated fruit and acid. Subtle oak and tannin provide just enough support for great balance. The silky fruit finish is delightful and deceptively long.

This story couldn’t be more timely; the’16 Rendezvous is all about Thanksgiving Dinner. It’s a perfect match for all those complex flavors on your table, so load up on this stuff, and chill it to about 55* (45 minutes or so in the fridge). This wine is all about camaraderie and food…