Wine Tasting at The French Embassy

The French Embassy was the venue for a fantastic wine tasting recently with some outstanding wines from the Rhone Valley, located in the Southern reaches of France. Magan set the ball rolling and the three houses then showcased their wines. To mark the event a small discerning few were invited amongst whom, Mr. Andrew Steel, GM Shangri-la, Sommelier Mr. Stephane Soret, Hotel Imperial, Mr. Puneet Baijal and Mr. Varun Maniktala and others.
Here is some information on the houses and Wi-Not’s tasting notes on the wines served.

Domaine de Nalys
AOC Chateauneuf-du-pape
Domaine de Nalys is one of the oldest family houses of the region of Chateauneuf-du-pape, one of the three communes in the Rhone Valley of Southern France. Literally Chateauneuf-du-pape means ‘Castle of the Pope’. Red wines coming from this prestigious region are much more appreciated over its whites. Only thirteen grape varieties are allowed to be planted here with Syrah, Grenache and Morvedre being the kings of the valley.

Domaine Nalys White 2007
White Grenache, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Rousanne, Picardon, piopoul.
Citrus notes with fresh tropical fruits and peach afresh followed by sulphur, grapes and Granny Smith apples. Refreshing palate with low acidity and alcohol, but in balance, showing hints of growth on limestone and clay soils, same notes on palate as on the nose with a tinge of pineapple, soft and malolactic. Can’t be kept for long, drink now.
Domaine Nalys Red 2007
Shiraz Grenache Morvedre blend
Can be a promising house red. Strawberry, cherries, stewed plums, oak and aloe on the nose. Fresh fruity palate with fresh acidity having similar palate as on the nose with plums, cherry, beetroot juice, pomegranate and red fruits. Value for money wine with low alcohol.
Nalys Cuvee Reserve Red 2006
Shiraz Grenache Morvedre blend
Smoky and floral nose, raspberry and strawberry prominent with hints of spices, dark cherries, hint of olives, plum and blueberry. Tannins well notable, soft and round thus lingers for long. Juicy with yet complex. Notable balance between alcohol and acidity. ( My pick out of these four)
Cuvee Chataignier Red 2006
Shiraz Grenache Morvedre blend
Round nose with prominent blueberries, spices, raspberries and subdued oak and cedar. Round and fresh palate, nice acidity, appreciable tannin structure throwing notes of blueberries, raspberries, spice, cherry and oak. Can age for a couple of years.

Chateau des Chaberts
AOC Coteaux Varois en Provence
Coteaux Varois is a commune in the heart of Provence region of the Rhone Valley, the most south-eastern wine producing region of the country and one of the most recent recruits of AC status. Chateau de Chaberts is a family owned winery

Cuvee Prestige Blanc 2008
Water pale intensity white with pale straw yellow colour. Fresh limey citrus, straw, grassy and hints of tropical fruits noticed on the nose and palate with a touch of minerals/ chalk. Nice acidity, fresh and light.
Cuvee Prestige Rose 2008
A kitty party wine. Light and distinct colour best described as the shade of pink vodka available in the bars. Prominent nose of rose petals, raspberry and fresh strawberry, very fresh pink nose. Clear palate with refreshing acidity and low alcohol. Raspberry and strawberry dominant on the palate with some fruity sweetness. Can be well paired with light and creamy salmon dishes and slightly sweet strawberry cheesecake.
Cuvee Prestige Rouge 2005
Syrah- Cabernet Sauvignon – Mourvedre
Medium low intensity nose with charcoal most prominent, tobacco, fresh oak, cummin, cherry and leather. Tannic nose also displayed well on the palate too with round yet-to-be matured ones. Sour cherries, spices, dark chocolate, blackberries and plums with some black spices were in the mixed bag of the complex palate.
Cuvee Chaberts Rough 2005
Cabernet Sauvignon – Mourvedre- Syrah
Complex wine to pick on the nose and palate. Currant, stewed dark red fruits, leather, violet, oak and stalks, blackberry and fresh red cherries all displayed on the nose. Some transferred to the palate too with dark cherries and oak with a hint of plums. Very well balanced wine. Nice round tannins with a dark and black retrol
Mousserax Rose – Sparkling
Grenache and Cinsaults
Orange tinged colour with candied nose with some carbonic maceration notes may be derived between the processes of Methode Traditionnelle. Fine bubbles. Nothing prominent on the palate, had harsh and strong mouth feel and unbalanced features. After taste lingered no more than 2 seconds and personally felt was stubborn.

Chateau de Saint Cosme
AOC Gigondas
Chateau de Saint Cosme is one of the most ancient estate of Gigondas region, one of the 100 communities surrounding Chateauneuf-du-Pape in Cote-du-Rhone. Gigondas make tight-knitted powerhouse reds that have a potential of aging for up to six years and stand in close competition to Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines. Little James is their first brand and bottle’s label captures eye with its attractive kiddies drawings, nice marketing point

Little James’ Basket Press – White
Viognier/ Sauvignon Blanc – Vin de pays d’Or
Quaffer wine made to drink young. Mellow and easy drinking wine with notes of passion fruits, gooseberries, apricot, pineapple, honey dew melon and capsicum. Has medium low acid with in-balance alcohol. Short aftertaste. Have now or within next six months.
Little James’ Basket Press – Vin de Table red – Non Vintage
Solera of Grenache
Solera is an aging process used mainly to produce sherry. Light bodied red with a young nose with dominant tobacco. Nose also indicates a possibility of vines been grown on clay soil. Palate was full of dark cherries, blackberries, grain bag, rose petals and spices. Low on acidity and alcohol. Impressive grip of oak and tannins. To be drunk young. Medium intensity aftertaste.
Saint Cosme – Cotes du Rhone red 2007
100% Syrah
Dark red colour, totally translucent. Dark nose indicating burnt tyre. Stewed/ candied fruits nose with cherries and ripe strawberries. Smells and looks a bit rancio though its not. Round noticeable tannins ranging medium to high. On the palate notes of crunchy pepper, dark cherries, blackberries, tobacco and oak aging were prominent. Can be drunk up to 2 years from now.
Gigondas red 2006
67% Grenache – 20% Syrah – 12% Mourvedre – 1% Cinsault
Pronounced nose with in-your-face-expression. Found it similar to dead ants. Noticed Black currant, bell peppers, beetroot, fresh timber and limestone on the palate. Had a pepper and charcoal on the back palate. Tannins were more pronounced rating medium high. Well played with oak.
Valbelle – Gigondas red 2006
90% Grenache – 10% Syrah
Quite a complex wine with medium high body. Notes of  berries and violet were noticed on the nose. Took its own time to open up, needs decanting. Notes of pepper, oak, smoked nuts, pistachio, cashew, currant and Ribina dominated. Tannins were well noticeable and are an indication that wine can still travel in time. Needs to open up before drinking.
Chateauneuf-du-Pape red 2005
60% Grenache – 40% Mourvedre
Rich and complex wine, dark red in colour. Notes of marinated green apple, thyme, rosemary and dark cherries prominent on the nose. Round mouth feel with active tannins. Blueberries, dark cherries, dukka crusted lamb lion and strawberries noted on the palate. Well in balance. Can age for two years or so.

Cote Rotie – 2006
100% Syrah
Robust wine with notes of blackberries most prominent followed with currant, charcoal, gamey bird meat and peeled wood. Tannins are well noticeable but low on intensity. Flavour profile included pepper, liquorice, blueberries, dark cherries, tobacco and smoked meat. Rich mouth feel with round and complex palate.


About the Author

Gagan is much like a young wine in many senses; you have to spend time with him before he opens up. A certified wine expert and mixologist, Gagan pursued his love for beverages Down under, doing his Masters in Hospitality Management (specialising in wines) from Victoria University, Melbourne. He reserves a soft corner for Australian reds, German Rieslings and Gewürztraminer. As much as he loves to experiment with new cuisines, he also has a taste for adventure – paragliding, bungee jumping, rafting, skydiving and playing squash. His interests include blogging, back to back movie spree, cooking for self and travelling. He is a music-fanatic and loves being left alone with his PSP. Beef steak and wine rate high on his agenda as also does a Bourbon and cola.

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