March 17, 2007

2000 Chateau Rayas La Pialade Cotes-du-Rhone, Vaucluse, France

Back in 1880 Albert Reynaud, at the age of 45, suddenly went deaf. He was a notary in the city of Avignon in the Rhone valley. This was of course very sad, and it forced him to change professions. This turned out to be good fortune for the rest of us over 100 years later, as he purchased Chateau Rayas and set in motion the events that would make it a powerhouse of Rhone wine. This would take many years, and four generations to fully realize, and the wine reviewed here is from the direction of his great great nephew, Emmanuel Reynaud.

This bottle was a pleasant surprise. We had opened one a few weeks ago and really, really enjoyed it. We opened this one last week and it maintained that theme. This is a direct wine, strong in its style. Made from Grenache, it puts out front in the nose deep, dark fruit of plums and raisins filled out with tobacco and green peppers. There is a strong vegetal quality behind all of the fruit that creates a depth we definitely appreciated. The palate was full of plum and a little strawberry, more raisin and ripe olives. Very balanced and smooth, there is a strong earthy quality to tie together the other flavors, as well as a subtle cedar taste towards the finish. This wine is not so much elegant as it is just bold, but not in a heavy bodied sort of way as this wine is definitely light to medium bodied. It just has strong qualities to it. The raisin/green peppers/ripe olives set it apart from the balance of Cotes-du-Rhones that we have tried. These qualities also lend this one to be an excellent complement to hearty foods. For the quality and character that this wine presents we consider it an exceptional value and a great contrast to the more traditional style Grenache wines, a few of which we have reviewed here on winecommando.

cost - $22.99

winecommando rating (1-10) - 8.75

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