Monday, May 25, 2015

RHONE ODYSSEY 2015 #Time4Rhone


the view---from the top of new 1 WTC-looking north

Past - Present - Future

looking east-we have a friend who-back in the '80s remarked-NY will be a great town when they finally finish building it....
The Rhone Valley AOC wines is the second largest wine producing region in France (390 million+bottles)...with quite the production history-dating back to who else but the Roman invaders (121 BC).
Map showing Cotes du Rhone, Crus, and other appellations

-so we learned at this creatively amazing wine tasting organized by SOPEXA's Hassan Sefrioui +Teuwen Communications.
Hassan Sefrioui-deserves a raise

  It is going to be tough to top this...both- the location-with staggering views / history itself...

finished art filled space---plenty of room and views-lucky us-we got there for the day to night session---here a final shot-it was dark out

 WHAT: The set-up...two bars with many of the accessibly drinkable selections- ranging from deeply spicy/complex, full bodied-fruity southern Rhone red wines largely based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre (aka Rhone blends) -and a few northern Rhone reds (mono-grape wines based on elegant Syrah) ---AND a deliciously surprising Rosés and Whites (Viognier-really popular these days, imo, Marsanne, Roussanne, and Grenache Blanc)-pair wonderfully with cheeses, whites, Asian foods and BBQ (yayy summer!).

                                                                         some highlights

Chateau Campuget 2013 Costières de Nîmes: 70% Syrah, 30% Grenache Noir-nose dominated by blackcurrants, hints f spices_pepper, herb+mineral notes up front, long smooth tannins, lightly crisp

Cru du Sud, Rasteau 2012 Domaine de Beaurenard 80% Grenache, 20% Syrah aromas of very ripe fruit-spice, structured tannins, rich rounded body-strong wine good with big bold food

right-Cotes Du Rhones, Chevalier D'Antheleme 2014 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Carignan, garnet red color, jammy dark fruit, cherry, licorice+spices-mellow tannins, peppery+aromas of preserved fruits, Middle: Cotes du Rhones,Passeport, 2013 Barton & Guestier 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Carignan -rich dark berry flavors, spices-pepper+tobacco, well balanced structure, intense fruits-long finish

Cotes du Rhone, 2012 Vidal Fleury 65% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre-aromas of strawberry, chocolate, prune, cherry+violet,,,medium body, well balanced acids+tannins...easy to like-we put a smiley face in our tasting notes.
Cotes du Rhone Louis Bernard Grenache, Syrah=expressive note stewed cherry, red fruits round tannins-lively fruit forward character

Cotes du Rhone, Domaine Guy Mousset, 2013 70% Grenache, 30% Syrah dark ripe fruits, slight pepper-spices

Cotes Du Rhone, Chateau de Sainte-Cosme pictured the 2012-thought smooth+well balanced, the 2013 is 50% Syrah, 25% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, 10% Carignan-tasting notes of gingerbread, blueberry, smoked ham + violet.

these were  favs---surprised-they are whites. left Cru du Nord, Crozes Hermitage, Petit Ruche 2013  Maison M. Chapoutier-Marsanne green apple floral citrus aroma....very fresh+aromatic. On the right Cotes du Rhone, Belleruche 2013 Maison M. Chapoutier Grenache-Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc -green apple, hawthorn+white blossoms,citrus=fresh well balanced big white wine.

Cote du Rhones Reserve Les Dauphines Red -Grenache, Syrah-stewed cherries_red fruits rich with round tannins
Another fabulous vin-=Cru du Nord, Crozes-Hermitage -La Petite Ruche 2013 100% Syrah-red berries, black currant, raspberry

Maybe we should visit this area---another wonder Cru du Nord, Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert 2010 100% Syrah-intense complex+aromatic-red berries+animal notes, noble tannins+great finish-full well balanced finished

Hermitage Grand Classique 2011 Cave de Tain, 100% Syrah deep black fruit, mineral notes+toasty oak

Cru du Nord, Hermitage Gambert de Loche 2010 100% Syrah-full bodied+firm, cedar, cassis, licorice, cracked peppercorns chewy quality
mostly self-pour :-)

At the appointed time, attendees were led into three separate spaces-cleverly crafted like stage sets ---in the remaining raw space of the 64th floor...divided into thematic zones of the Past, Present, and Future 'experiences' ...with a deeply knowledgeable tour leader-premier NYC restaurant-Eleven Madison Park's Sommelier- Jonathan Ross -who selected the wines---and gave attendees the 411 on who/what/where of Rhone Valley wines-during the applicable times.

Tagged-by construction workers...raw space will soon been converted to finish space, we assume

our blog post on these inscriptions

FYI he as avid snowboarders too-def. lay off any alcohol when on mountain jaunts...
The Past:
settled in 600 BC-wine production in southern Rhone-where 80% of RV offerings come from-date back to 121 BC-with the Roman Gauls...with revival in 9th century by the powerful Pope lives there then. Smart. During the French revolution 1789-wine area really blossomed with citizens' ownership- and grew even bigger when the railway was built (1860)-leading to exports.
the red velvet curtains rooms-warm boudoir atmosphere...tasted older vineyard's offerings...served on silver trays by spiffy outfitted wait-staff---

Actors---were incredible and managed to deliver a rather fact filled rhyming script...blended in with the sort of wink wink do tell French humor we expect from those of Gaul's persuasions...

afterwards-between 'acts'-we chatted with these two thespians---who memorized the frequently being revised, script-over ten days. A professional writer was hired (obvs)---hope they got to take home some of those half-still filled bottles. Yummy...include here a 100% Syrah- Cru du Nord, Crozes-Hermitage, Alain Graillot-2012 Red-medium high intensity, dry-medium acid light-average tannin...good for summer.
 It was around sunset time---on our way to the next zone-the Present.
Bonus---the wrap-around the building-floor to ceiling windows...and the time of day of our tour.

Lady Liberty...facing southwest

The Present...

Surprising pairings...of strong Rhone wines with distinct tasting tidbits and greens we never heard of before...and some we did-like ramps.  
crafted like those special Californian bistros- natural materials...and samples of greens foraged from the Left Coast by Matt Parker

the three wines here were tops-L-R: Cotes de Rhone -Les Dauphins Rosé 75% Grenache, 15% Cinsault, 10% Syrah-brilliant pink color-elegant lychee fragrance-white summer fruits. Cru du Nord, Hermitage Au Couer Des Siecles 2011 White La Cave de Tain-density that is robust goes with strong flavors-scents of white peach and dried apricot with a touch of minerality-lifted with notes of menthol---this was our top pick. On right-Luberon, Grand Marrenon, 2012 Red-70% Syrah, 30% Grenache Noir-expressive ripe, jammy fruits-complex with oaky flavors-leather+olive notes,  concentrated tannins, well structured

Matt Parker...even has the looks that fits what he does...
afterwards...pretty much all the wines in the Present- here got sipped to completion-we asked Jonathan Ross how he selected these wines-mindful of the strong flavors (food)-and advised us if we were going to drink up anything-this was the best group.

morels and porcini mushrooms...did not try these

twilight-as we entered the Future---facing West...NJ looks kinda glammy  from this vantage point...
The Future

We felt like we were onset for the flick- 2001 A Space Odyssey.

Every seat had a set of headphones linking up two participants with each other...who then formed a team to guess what was being drunk---one of each-a Cote du Rhone, A Cote du Rhone Village, and another Rhone appelation.

lucky us-we got paired with a super wine knowledgeable guy (an importer) -who opined correctly, the wines...

wine samples paired with 'snacks' perfectly highlighted the tastes of everything - Costières de Nimes La Sommerlière, 2011 -Red-Syrah red+black fruits notes of vanilla---and nicely drinkable one sip- Cotes du Rhone, Baron Louis, 2011 Red--50% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Cinsault, 10% Carignan, 10% Mourvèdre-intense+complex big velvety tannins, black fruits, pepper-had a taste prior 

all that was missing-was HAL.
Nicely made point-about the future-with a mental reference to Moore's Law--- summarized well by the handout:
...Rhone Valley Wines will always stand, to accompany your breaks, and moments shared with loved ones, to capture life's precious times of happiness and laughter, and for pleasure to always remain at the core of your journeys, whether introspective or far into the distance...

Behind the scenes...
behind the curtain so-to-speak---this is partly how all the magical food pairings,  gets delivered

as we like to say..."...danger, Will Robinson..." so tempting this food-the sodas...though, not so much.