Thursday, March 15, 2012

Domaine Louis Cheze Caroline Cuvée Prestige Saint-Joseph 2009

Here I am writing about Syrah again We've been trying a whole bunch from all over the world, and one of the best places in the world for Syrah is the Northern Rhone. The wines of Hermitage and Cote Rotie get a whole lot more press, but there are also some very good wines and values to be found in Saint-Joseph. Geographically, Saint-Joseph is the largest AOC in the Northern Rhone, and it stretches 30 plus miles from Cornas in the south, where it is right across the river from Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage, all the way up to Condrieu in the North. It's boundaries have changed a few times, but recently they have reduced the size of the AOC and eliminated some areas that are not as desirable as the sloping vineyards near the Rhone river. The red wines of Saint-Joseph are all Syrah, and the expression varies depending upon what part of the region the grape are grown in. Safe to say, though, that as a rule, these are cool climate, food friendly Syrah's that are much more subdued than your typical Australian Shiraz.

The Domaine Louis Cheze Caroline is a fantastic example of what a great Saint-Joseph can be. Deep, reddish purple in your glass, the wine brings aromas of blackberry and plum with some floral notes and leather as well as some mild spice. There is quite a bit wrapped up into that bouquet so take your time and enjoy it. In your mouth you get fantastic blackberry fruit that is backed up with great acidity and mild, well integrated tannins. It's also important to note that the weight is pretty light for Syrah. That lighter weight and the structure provided by the acid and the tannins make this a really food friendly Syrah, that will pair nicely with a wide variety of meals.

Suggested pairings for the Louis Cheze Caroline are varied. This could work with the traditional grilled red meats or aged cheeses, but it's delicate and balanced enough to work with some lighter fare. I found myself wanting a seared tuna steak or even some grilled salmon to go with this. It could also work well with some pork dishes.

It's not an easy wine to find, but I got a nice clearance deal and picked these up for $29 a bottle, which was an absolute steal for this delicious wine. If you can find it, definitely give it a try. You won't be disappointed.


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