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Dauvergne Ranvier Cotes du Rhone Vin Gourmand Blanc 2012
When one asks how it all began, François Dauvergne most often responds that “his roots are half in Bordeaux where he grew up and half in the soils of Saint-Polycarpe, next to Limoux, where his family had vines”. He then branched out to the Rhône Valley where he has been for the past 15 years of his career in wine.
As a child, Jean-François Ranvier made his parents blush more than once. In fact, when invited to family friends homes for dinner, little Jean-François couldn’t stop himself from breathing in the aromas in the house and detailing them out load…no matter the quality of the menu. Amateur geologist, he finally chose enology after having earned an agronomist degree. After having directed an enology lab he then took over vinification for a major negociant house in the Rhône Valley. It was here that he would meet and work with François Dauvergne.
In 2004 Dauvergne and Ranvier would leave together to live their dream of creating their own wines, thus making their winery one of the most recognized in the Rhône Valley.
Typically thought of as a baby Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the term Côtes du Rhone actually doesn’t merely apply to the flatter outskirts of the major southern Rhône appellations, it also includes the fringes of well-respected northern Rhône appellations. White can be produced under the appellation name, but very little is actually made.
The region offers some of the best values in France and even some first-rate and age-worthy reds. Red varieties include most of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape varieties like Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Counoise, as well as Carignan. White grapes grown include Grenache blanc, Roussanne and Viognier, among others.
Full-bodied and flavorful, white Rhône blends originate from France’s Rhône Valley. Today these blends are also becoming popular in other regions, proving most successful in Spain, Australia and California. Typically some combination of Grenache blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier form the basis of a white Rhône blend with varyiong degrees of flexibility depending on the exact appellation.
In the Glass
Each variety contibutes something unique and different. Round, textural Grenache blanc gives green apple and white stone fruit flavors; weighty Marsanne adds structure and honeysuckle aromas; russet-colored Roussanne lends intriguing herbal, tea-like notes while Viognier provides a creamy texture and elegant aromatics. The flavor of the final wine will depend on the chosen components of the blend and their respective proportions.
White Rhône blends are quite versatile food pairing wines and can work with light to medium rich meals that might often be matched to red wines. Heavier fish dishes with bold seasoning like grilled swordfish with caper butter or baked, herb-crusted mahi mahi are natural allies for these flavorful wines. Other ideal dishes include roast pork in mustard sauce, poached lobster with beurre blanc, or a rich and savory vegetable quiche. `
In the Northern Rhône, blends of Marsanne and Roussanne are common in the appellations of St.-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage and St-Péray. Condrieu and Château-Grillet can produce single-varietal Viognier only. The Southern Rhône, on the other hand, has much more variety, with many more permitted grapes including the ones named above as well as Bourboulenc, Clairette, Picpoul and Ugni Blanc.