Sunday, November 05, 2006

AstroVino #6: The Whites of the Rhone Valley

This past week we tasted white wines from and similar to those from the Rhône Valley in France. The wines were divided into two varietals: Viognier and Marsanne & Roussanne. The three Viogniers we tried were: a 2005 Domaine Miguel Viognier, Vin de Paus d'Oc, from Languedoc, France; a 2004 Jewel Collection Viognier, from Woodbridge, CA; and a 2004 Yalumbua Eden Valley Viognier from South Australia. I could talk about these for a while, but there isn't really anything all that interesting to say: the French wine was apparently rather "austere" while the Woodbridge was fruitier and the Yulambua was somewhat stony. Viogniers are apparently tasty with chicken and fish, but all we had was (very yummy) cheese and bread, which aren't quite the same.

I greatly preferred the three Marsanne/Roussannes we tried: a 2004 Côtes-du-Rhône "Parallèle 45", Paul Jaboulet Aîné from the Southern Rhône; a 2005 Marsanne "Santa Ynez Valley", Qupé from Santa Maria, CA; and a 2004 Rosenblum Cellars Château La Paws Côte Du Bone Blanc, CA. Oh, yes, that's right: because bad puns and wine belong together. The Côte Du Bone turned out to be my favorite of the evening: my first comment was a simple, Wow. Then it got a big smiley face next to it on the handout, which is all a good wine could ever hope for. It smelled very flowery and somewhat citrusy, but the taste was indescribably interesting and fascinating, in a good way. Apparently it is so-called because the guy who runs the winery is interested in animals or is a veternarian or something. The Qupé was also delicious, right up until someone mentioned that it smelled like buttered popcorn, and then I couldn't convince myself that it smelled like anything other than buttered popcorn.

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