The Tour raced across the South of France and then made a long transfer via airplane to the far North West of the country where they completed the first Individual Time Trial of le Tour in one of the more unusual locales in France - Mont Saint Michel
I'm heading to France to see some of the racing first hand as the riders race through the Rhone Valley and the French Alps. This week's challenge is prep work for the Rhone, a Washington Syrah faces a challenger from the Cotes du Rhone.
2010 Guardian Cellars The Informant v. 2011 Saint Cosme Syrah
Tale of the Tape
2010 Guardian Cellars The Informant
97% Syrah co-fermented with 3% Viognier
Grapes sourced from Stonetree vineyard on the Wahluke Slope.
Aged for 17 months in 50% new French oak Barrels
Purchased for $30 at the winery.
2011 Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone
100% Syrah from vineyards in two different locations: Vinsobres and the Gard department.
This was a magnum purchased from Garagiste for $25.
Round 1. First opening
The Saint Cosme luchador rumbles into the ring. This is the second time this wine has made an appearance in the Lucha Vino wrestling ring and today the French challenger is bringing the big guns in the form of a magnum.
The Saint Cosme is strutting its stuff with a nose of medium dark berries, brambles, light smoke, pepper and paprika. The palate shows plenty of dark fruit with hints of lavender and pepper with a tart cracked pepper finish.
The Guardian is living up to its name, protecting its turf with gusto. The nose is rich and dark with floral notes of lavender, dark berries and savory notes of soy, smoky sandalwood and cracked pepper. The palate is equally complex with dark berries, dry cedar spices and tart pepper the hangs around to the finish that is dominated by cracked pepper.
You can already see the contrasting styles of these two heavyweights on display. The Informant from Guardian Cellars takes the first round with a mix of power and finesse.
Round 2. One hour after opening
Saint Cosme is evolving and building power getting up in the opponents grill with a nose of dark fruit, smoke, light floral notes with some cracked pepper and hints of tobacco leaf. The palate is bold and spicy with dark fruit, sweet tobacco leaf spices that carry over to a tart tobacco leaf infused spicy finish.
The Informant is elusive and hard to pin down. The nose features dark currant, smoky sandalwood and slightly floral overtones. The palate is robust with dark fruit and tart pepper spices that build to a stunning peppery spiced finish that throws the challenger from Cotes du Rhone to the mat with an aggressive cross body block off the ring ropes.
Round 2 goes to The Informant.
Round 3. One day after opening
Saint Cosme has mellowed a bit and is losing some strength in the final round of the match. The nose is showing smoky dark fruit and the palate is continuing to push forward with dark fruit and spiced tart tobacco leaf that is also featured on a slightly dry tart finish.
The Informant is laying it on the line with an increase in strength and complexity for the final round. The nose is showing dark fruit, white pepper, smoky savory sandalwood and floral overtones. The palate is building power with dark fruit ,light hints of roasted meats and bold tart cracked pepper that once again continues to the finish that is slightly dry featuring cracked pepper.
The Luchador from the Rhone Valley has put up a good fight, but just doesn't have the power to topple The Informant from Guardian Cellars. This match ends with a 3-0 victory for the Washington grappler.
Wrap up and overall observations.
This match was dominated by The Informant, but that doesn't mean the Saint Cosme can be ignored.
Both of these wines were very nice. The Saint Cosme is a fabulous bargain at $25 for a magnum.
The Informant from Guardian Cellars features the classic Northern Rhone style of Syrah co-fermented with a small amount of Viognier. This particular example from Guardian Cellars was stellar and I would highly recommend seaking it out.