Vacqueyras at Wine Club

My gosh, happy new year! Motherhood has been challenging, in ways I didn’t expect. The #1 thing is time management. I learned that I can get a lot done in little blocks. There’s absolutely no more, I don’t feel like doing it now, so I’ll do it later when it comes to chores. The same goes for this blog, and my new website (which I’m hoping will be ready soon. I just got the first draft last week and I sent a lot of change requests back). So target launch date of mid-Jan has been pushed. It’s currently 8:15 am, Tuesday, Jan 16 and if I don’t write something now, I don’t know when I’ll get a chance to next.

Rhone valley

Sneaking in a review session on the Rhone while sweet baby sleeps.

This weekend will be a busy one. I have my wine club meeting on Saturday and then on Sunday, we have a family dinner with the in-laws. Hubby and I will be making the food and pairing them with wines! I’m excited for both. At wine club we’re focusing on the Rhone. The 3 course family dinner wine is a Christmas gift. I’m trying to give the gift of experiences rather than things and I’m so looking forward to helping them discover the joy of the right wine pairings with food.

I thought I’d focus on the Rhone on this update. As at every wine club meeting, everyone needs to share 3-4 facts about the bottle they’re bringing. Hubby will be joining us at this meeting, so I picked up two bottles. I haven’t decided which I will be presenting yet.

southern rhone

Just two if the wines we are tasting this weekend.

8:27 am – Baby just woke up!

Ok, it is now 10:50 am Sat, Jan 27 and baby is sleeping, and although there is laundry to do, I really need to get this blog post published. The food and wine pairing dinner hubby and I put together for the in-laws was a hit! More on that in a later post.

This past weekend was also wine club. I decided to present Vacqueyras. It was the first wine we tried and I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious it was. There was a dustiness to it that pulled me in. Some red fruit, earthiness, herbs and a hint of white pepper. It wasn’t in your face and that’s what I loved about it.

Before I share what I shared for my 3-4 points at wine club, I should briefly talk about the Rhone in general. The Rhone really is in two parts: Northern Rhone and Southern Rhone. In the north, reds are made of Syrah and some appellations allow for some Viognier or Masanne and Roussanne in there. The whites are Vigonier, Marsanne and Roussanne. In the south, it’s all about blending. In fact, where the north only has those 4 varieties, and only one or two of each is allowed in the wine, depending on the cru. According to Wine Folly, the south has 21 different varieties and the wine is all about complex blends (I couldn’t find reference to how many different varieties in the WSET 3 book). Anyway, the most popular blend is GSM: Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah.

The north in general commands higher prices as the area is much smaller and the quality is more consistent. The south on the other hand, prices will vary. However, with Chateauneuf-du-Pape AOC, you’ll always pay a premium price because the quality is always there — it’s mmm mmm good! By the way, AOC stands for Appellation d’Origine Controlée .

Northern and Southern Rhone wines

Rhone wines we tasted at wine club

Here are the notes I shared on Vacqueyras.

Vacqueyras is a cru

It is the highest appellation in the Rhone. The appellations in order of entry level to the most strict:

1. Côtes du Rhône – technically, it could include wines from the North as well, but winemakers wouldn’t labels their wines as such since those don’t command as high a price.
2. Côtes du Rhône -Villages
3. Côtes du Rhône-Villages with village name indicated
4. Cru

Vacqueyras is the second Rhone village to be promoted to AOC status.

The first one was Gigondas. I haven’t tasted this, but it’s supposed to be more powerful and intense than a Vacqueyras and can age longer. Note though, I did read that Vacqueyras can age for up to 10 years. One article even said it is good for up to 20 years!

Vacqueyras must contain at least 50% Grenache, then Syrah, Mouvedre and some may also contain Cinsault.

Vacqueyras is called “the poor man’s Chateauneuf”

As noted above, Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a higher priced wine compared to its southern counterparts. Here in Canada, it starts at about $40. But if you’re looking for

112:28 am – baby crying.

Now it’s 12:27 pm and baby fell asleep again. Who knows how long she’ll sleep. Fortunately, I am almost done.

As I was saying, if you’re looking for something similar but not as pricey, try Vacqueyras. It lies just east of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Vacqueyras was a favourite, along with CDP at our meeting. For the price point, I think it’s a great value. I bought this bottle for $24.99 before tax at the government liquor store.

I have lots to share. I just need to find the time to write them all down. Some very exciting news I’d like to share with you in the next post. Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss it!