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March 2010

Seigneurs de Peyreviel Cotes de Millau 2006


Grapes: 50% Syrah, 30% Gamay, 15% Cabernet, 5% Fer

Background:  Cotes de Millau is down in the southwest of France near Toulouse.  This wine is made by a co-op of 11 wine makers in the town of Millau.  The vineyards are upland plateaus crisscrossed by small streams.  The climate is Mediterranean.

Aroma:  The wine has a great aroma of cherry, a hint of raspberry and also a touch of pipe tobacco and freshly cut wood.

Pallet:  The wine is pretty smooth and medium bodied.  It opens with some juicy blackberry fruit, but then a slightly earthy spicy quality comes out.  Although this isn't heavy, it has a really nice rustic quality to it; kind of like a cozy log cabin.  It has acidity that is just strong enough to balance the fruit without being to noticeable.  The tannins are pretty soft and not to prominent.  The touch of earthy rustic spice is perfect for poultry and braised or stewed red meats. 

Conclusion:  This wine has a really likable honest up front character and definitely tastes like southern France.  This is the quintessential French table wine.  Drink it with roast chicken at dinner or a pasta salad or ham sandwich for lunch. 

Available at the Freeport Cheese and Wine Shop, Oh No Cafe, and Black Cherry for somewhere around $13

Spann Vineyards Charbono 2005


Varietal:  100% Charbono

Background:  Charbono is an extremely rare grape in CA.  It originally came with immigrants from northern Italy and is native to the Italian/French alpine area.  It's lost favor over the years and only about 100 acres are devoted to it in all CA.  Think of this as a heritage grape variety that used to be poplar and has now been replaced by seas of Merlot and Cabernet.

Profile:  This wine has extremely dark color, especially for it's age.  It's not quite purple anymore, but it's inky black and stains your glass.  The aroma is very aromatic.  Lots of stewed plum, cherry, cinnamon, lavender, cassis, and violet all dominate your olfactory sense.  On the pallet it's rich and bright.  This is a fruit forward wine with a rich mid pallet, but a soft lush finish.  The wine opens with fresh fruit, then swells into this expansive mid pallet that hides some hints of baking spice, then it fades into a smooth finish with a very enjoyable refreshing slightly sour after taste that is reminiscent of grape peels.  I really enjoyed this wine; it's approachable and polished, but has some unique combinations of flavors.  Spann only made 150 cases, so it's pretty hard to find; but totally worth it in it's own right, but also as a little living piece of CA wine making history.  It was $21 where I bought it.