70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre
Up until 1990, Vacqueyras [Vah-keh-rahss] was a simple Cote-du-Rhone Village, but the consistently high quality of wine being produced in the appellation, earned it an upgrade to Vacqueyras.
Vacqueyras wines often need several years of aging before their full potential is reached. The wines are often very powerful, with high alcohol to boot, but still fairly easy-drinking.
Like its more prestigious neighbors, Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the wines of Vacqueyras are permitted to use only a blend of the 13 grape varieties permitted in the region. These grapes are: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Muscardin, Cournoise, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Picpoul, Roussanne, Terret Noir, Picardan, Vaccarese. Quite the mouthful!
Don’t spend too long getting to know all 13 grapes. Usually, Vacqueyras wines are a of minimum 50% Grenache, with 20% Syrah and/or Mourvèdre, and a dash of Cinsault.
Grenache is the main grape in many Rhone blends and Cotes du Rhone wines. It is one of the world’s most widely-planted grapes, and produces wines that are a true expression of the region where it is grown.
Vacqueyras is located toward the southern end of the Rhône Valley in France, and produces a majority red wine with a small amount of white and rose.
Wine has been produced in Vacqueyras since the 15th century.
The red wine from Vacqueyras can be much like the wines from Gigondas but for some reason Vacqueyras rarely manages to match their northern sibling.
The climate in the region is Mediterranean, and it yields a long, hot, dry growing season which ensures optimum ripeness for grapes in its vineyards.
It’s been more than a year since I tasted a Vacqueyras. The Domaine de la Curniere is very aromatic on the nose, quite concentrated, showing dark berries, strawberry and dried herbs. Needed plenty of swirling to get it to open.
The oak is fairly prevalent up front on the palate. Anise, strawberry, cassis and plenty of tannin and acidity, leading me to believe it could do with a few more years in the bottle. Very chewy. Certainly needs food, and make sure you decant!
I’m going to strongly suggest you pair the Domaine de la Curniere with food, or you don’t drink at all! Try grilled red meats, chicken liver pate, lamb, rabbit, escargot and cassoulets.
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