The Rhone Valley is really 2 Rhones: the Northern Rhone and the Southern Rhone.
The Northern Rhone in some ways has more in common with Burgundy than its southern cousin. This tasting will cover both areas, with a focus on the Rhone. It is interesting and illuminating to think about the Rhone in comparision to Burgundy though, and in particular to Beaujolais. Consider the following:
- Beaujolais and Cote Rotie are on either side of Lyon.
- The soils are closer than you might think. Cote de Brouilly and Cote Rotie share remarkably similar soil composition.
- Both Burgundy and the Northern Rhone have small plots and parcels that the growers and vignerons work with, as opposed to larger estates.
- Both areas deal with one grape varietal, at least for the reds. There is nothing to obscure the terroir.
On the Southern Rhone side, blends of up to 13 varietals are used for the reds. The climate becomes more Mediterranean, and even the culture starts approaching the south of France and Provence. This is our quintessential comfort wine for autumn and winter.
We'll taste 8 wines so you can really get a sense of these regions and how they differ, as well as what their similarities are.
Evan Spingarn has a way of explaining wine that transcends traditional wine speak, is full of humor, and is just plain fun. While he is more than happy to (and does regularly) go into the geekiest details on soils, geology, and other important influences on the wines, he also uses analogies and stories to bring a different and reflective understanding. Just to give you a hint - Evan's "affair with wine began much like a Puccini opera".