Here are notes on two more Cotes du Rhone wines I’ve had recently. Interesting stylistic differences between them. Both are worth searching out.
Les Collines Cotes du Rhone Villages 2009. Villages is a step up from basic Cotes du Rhone. Bouquet with juicy red fruit, minerally and spicy nuances. The palate has nice fruit framed by good tannins and acidity. Classic Cotes du Rhone. Well balanced, good finish. Worth trying; approximately $12.99 retail.
Xavier Cotes du Rhone 2009. Bouquet is raspberry jam, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg. The palate is full-bodied, fruit forward, slightly hot mid palate, long finish. Worth trying; approximately $14.99 retail.
Of the two, I prefer the Les Collines: it has more typicity, more sense of place. While it’s good, the Xavier is more what the Wine Spectator used to call international style; that is, to my palate, the Xavier makes me think someone trying to make a California wine in France. It all depends on what you enjoy, and I prefer wines that taste like the place they came from.
More of a nitpick is the importer. Both these wines are imported by the Petit Pois Corporation of Moorestown NJ, trading as Sussex Wine Merchants. There’s also a big logo for Fleet Street Wine Merchants. Now we’re up to three different names for the importer. So which is it? For Petit Pois, an internet search yielded the name of a bankrupt restaurant that owed them money. Searching for Fleet Street and Sussex Wine Merchants yielded retailers over in England.
The importer has some good wines, but apparently has no internet presence. How does he or she expect to build their brand when they’re confusing the customer? They’d benefit from choosing one name and marketing the living daylights out of it.