Thursday, February 28, 2013

Oregon Grenache v. Rhone Vacqueyras

Open that bottle night was this past weekend.  I was inspired by the Classic sud Ardeche in the Rhone to open a bottle of 2004 Chateau des Tours that had been resting in my cellar.  A number of races were cancelled last week due to a freak snowstorm in Europe.  The show went on in the Rhone Valley and the top 5 was dominated by French racers.

Will the Chateau de Tours be able to uphold the French racer's winning ways?

2004 Chateau des Tours Vacqueyras v. 2011 Edwin Dyer Grenache

Tale of the Tape

2004 Chateau des Tours Vacqueyras

80% Grenache and 20% Syrah

Purchased for $29.64 from Garagiste.

2011 Edwin Dyer Grenache

100% Grenache from the Del Rio Vineyard in the Rogue Valley

Aged for 10 months in French Oak

Purchased at the winery for $30.

Round 1. First opening

Chateau des Tours is lighting up with a nose that features cedar tobacco and earthy strawberry and raspberry notes.  The palate is similar with earthy medium red berries, tobacco leaf and a spicy tobacco leaf finish that is just a bit hot.

Edwin Dyer slides into the ring with a nose that is slightly floral and creamy with lightly spiced cranberry, strawberry and muted earth tones.  The palate is showing medium weight strawberry, rhubarb and subtle cedar and white pepper spices that linger on to the finish.

Two dramatically different styles are clashing in a battle worthy of crossing continents.  The Chateau des Tours takes round 1 in a flurry of spicy power.

Round 2. One hour after opening

Ch. des Tours takes the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" approach into round 2.  The nose is showing tobacco leaf, sandalwood and raspberry.  The palate is all about medium red berries, tobacco spice and light white pepper with a sweet spicy tobacco leaf finish that includes some notes of cracked pepper.

Edwin Dyer counter attacks with a nose of creamy tobacco, soy and earthy red berries.  The palate shows tart cranberry, raspberry and rhubarb with a tart cranberry cedar finish.

The Edwin Dyer is showing a mean streak of well balanced acidity and some classic Grenache character.  This round is tough to call.  Going to the judges score cards, Edwin Dyer takes round 2.

Round 3.  One day after opening

The French Luchador from Chateau des Tours may be a bit over confident.  Sticking to the game plan, the nose continues to show spicy tobacco leaf, cedar spices and medium red berries.  The palate features raspberry, strawberry and spicy tobacco leaf with tart cedar and tobacco finish that is slightly acidic.

Edwin Dyer is showing some complexity and stamina with a nose of savory soy, strawberry and tart rhubarb.  The palate includes tart strawberry and cranberry and a cedary tart finish.

The spicy tobacco leaf character of the Chateau des Tours is wearing on the crowd and the tide has turned to favor the Edwin Dyer.  The 100% Grenache Luchador from Oregon takes round 3 and the match.

Wrap up and overall observations.

The Chateau des Tours really showed the spicy tobacco leaf character that seems to be the trademark of Southern Rhone Grenache/Syrah blends.  This was a big, sassy, wine.  If you like the tobacco leaf character in these wines then you will really dig this wine from Vacqueyras.

The Edwin Dyer was much more subtle.  It showed great restrained character of a 100% Grenache.  The Rogue Valley is building a reputation of turning out some nice Rhone style wines and I would have to say the results of this battle lend some additional credibility to those claims.

These were two solid Luchadors and I would rate them both as excellent with the Edwin Dyer showing itself to be more food friendly based on some really nice acidity. 

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