Thursday, January 21, 2010

Domaine de Montvac Arabesque Vacqueyras 2007

This week I’m focusing on regions that aren’t necessarily the best known in their respective countries. Today I’m looking at a wine from the Southern Rhone in France. This is a region that is somewhat well known, but not nearly as well known as the French regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, or Champagne. Within the Southern Rhone, the best known and most expensive wines come from the village of Chateauneuf-du-Pape which is its own AOC or Appelations d’Origine Controlee; however, Chateauneuf-du-Pape is just one of many AOCs in the Southern Rhone. The Domaine de Montvac Arabesque 2007 that is our subject today is from the AOC of Vacqueyras, which is about 8 miles to the northeast of Chateauneuf-du-Pape geographically and about $15 to $50 to the south of it in price.

Vacqueyras is the newest of the Southern Rhone AOCs, having just achieved AOC status in 1990. Stylistically they are a little more subdued than wines from Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The quality of the wines, though, is quite good, and the values you can find here are excellent. The Domaine de Montvac Arabesque 2007 is one of the best values that I have found from Vacqueyras.

Made from 70% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 5% Mourvedre, the wine is red-purple in color, and the nose brings intense cherry with notes of plum. More of the same cherry fruit pleases your palate with just a hint of spice. Very nice acidity and silky tannins make for a nicely structured wine and lead up to a mouthwatering finish with some decent length to it. This wine is every bit as good as some 2007 Chateauneuf-du-Papes that I have had in the $30 and $40 price range, and it retails for a little under $20 a bottle. It’s an outstanding value, and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it ended up on my 2010 list of top wines.

From a pairing standpoint, this would go perfectly with pot roast or a nice beef or lamb stew. It would also work well with grilled red meats.


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