30 August 2014

Lavau Wines of the Southern Rhône

Early in my wine journey, I was a little terrified of French wines. I didn't know a lot about them, they seemed expensive, and unlike Italian and German, I've never been fully comfortable speaking en français. To this day, I am bound to mispronounce something like Monbazillac to sound like "ball sack".

However, at a couple of tastings I was introduced to wines from the south of France, particularly the Rhône and Provence areas, and I fell in love. These were inexpensive, tasty, food-friendly wines that were not super complex but approachable. For years afterwards I'd recommend them to friends and family as a fun alternative to $10 Australian and Californian bottles. I think at that price point you get better quality from the casual regions of France, Spain, and Italy.

The region does not simply produce table wines, and I was excited to share this quartet of bottles from Lavau with my friends Angela and Jinju, with whom I attended high school [REDACTED] years ago.

2013 Lavau Tavel Rosé
Tavel AOC
50% Grenache, 45% Cinsault, 5% Syrah.
$17, 13% abv.

I am a rosé fanatic, and nobody does it quite like France. Light cherry, very gentle nose, dry but fruity, mild acidity and a slow, gentle finish. Excellent with a turkey, pesto, and Gruyère sandwich on a warm Saturday afternoon.

2012 Lavau Rasteau
Rasteau AOC
50% Grenache, 50% Syrah
$19, 13.5% abv.

Of the reds, this was the most restrained. It shows as thin and mild, with light aromas of spice and dried fruit. Actually quite refreshing in hot weather, and one that I'd recommend for serving with appetizers where it is often difficult to serve a heartier red.

2011 Lavau Vacqueyras
Vacqueyras AOC
50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre
$24, 13% abv.

The boldest red of the group opened up with a nose of plum and leather, with firm tannins and an aftertaste of tea. A chewy, big mouthfeel, and one that really cries out for grilled flank steak with chimichurri sauce.

2012 Lavau Gigondas
Gigondas AOC
50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre
$28, 14% abv.

The Gigondas achieved the best balance of all four, with a middle range of tannins and a light red cherry profile tinged with hints of earth. This is one that I see improving with a few years of storage, and would pair well with rare rack of lamb.

Note: These wines were provided as samples for review.

1 comment:

Dooley Hans said...

Many many thanks to you for this great share.
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