Rayas Fonsalette Cotes du Rhone Reserve 2005
Rhone Red Blends from Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France
Château de Fonsalette, from Château Rayas, the great Châteauneuf producer, shows just what can be accomplished with very low yields and meticulous winemaking. This "basic" cuvée is always extraordinary and can age 20+ years. Château de Fonsalette is a separate estate from Rayas, not a second label. The Fonsalette vineyards are located about 18 miles north of Rayas towards Orange, Carianne and Rasteau. These wines are made at Château Rayas, however, in the same manner as Rayas and Pignan.
Grenache 50%, Cinsault 35%, Syrah 15%
The Wine Advocate - "The 2005 Fonsalette Cotes du Rhone is a blockbuster. This blend of 50% Grenache, 35% Cinsault, and 15% Syrah has a dark ruby/purple color and a beautifully structured style with notes of black truffle, licorice, black currant, and sweet cherry intermixed with some crushed rock and flowers. The wine is beautifully broad, savory, and exceptionally well-delineated and focused. This is a magnificent wine that should be at its best between 2010 and 2025."
International Wine Cellar - "Medium red. Spicy cherry and blackcurrant on the nose, with deeper licorice and tobacco adding power. Fresher red berry flavors show impressive minerality. Finishes with silky tannins, gentle grip and an echo of sweet red berries. This has very good balance and focus. "
Wine Spectator - "Rich, with a really enticing streak of mesquite and incense weaving through the dark currant, tapenade, braised beef and melted licorice notes. This long, minerally finish shows a hint of shiso leaf. Should cellar well. Drink now through 2011"
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About Cotes du Rhone
The appellation of Côtes du Rhône encompasses much of the land of the area, not to mention much of the wine – over two-thirds of the wine produced here is of the Côtes-du-Rhône appellation. Wines here need only be from the Côtes de Rhône geographic area (which is fairly large) and consist of one or more of the 22 varieties permitted. Being such a wide classification, it's a surprise and joy that so many of these wines reach such a high quality. While there are areas in the Northern Rhône that meet the classification of Côtes du Rhône, most all of this appellation is in the Southern Rhône. Wines here are based mostly on Grenache, like other Rhône reds, while the whites focus on Marsanne and Roussanne. Viognier is also allowed although typically used in smaller quantities.
Notable FactsThere is one higher level in the Côtes du Rhône called Côtes du Rhône Villages. These wines are from specific village areas that have a few more standards the wine must reach to receive the village label. Some to take note of are Cairanne, Rasteau, Seguret and Beaumes-de-Venise. The good thing about both Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages is that big producers of the smaller appellations are taking the opportunity and freedom offered by this broad appellation and creating wines of very high quality, and lower in price.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.