2010 Cotes du Rhone
Cold day, smooth, supple red wine — a great combination. La Tarasque is a French wine from Cotes du Rhone, the southern area of France bordering Alps. The Rhone Valley has two sub regions the northern, which makes meaty, earthy, spicy reds out of Syrah, and the southern Rhone, which is usually more fruit-forward Grenache-based but often a blend of Grenache and Syrah. La Tarasque is 100 percent Grenache. It is a great warm climate grape, and gets really ripe.
This is a rewarding anytime wine, but rich and spicy enough to warm you up on a cold day. A pair for almost anything, it is food friendly, bold and spicy, and more supple than tannic in its finish. This is a dry red, but smoother than most of the reds from the area.
The Rhone Valley runs north/south, with plenty of sunshine in the region as a whole. The valley starts in the south at Avignon and then stretches north to almost Burgundy. Mediterranean air goes right up the valley, so it tends to thaw more than other regions. It’s about 40 minutes, if even that, north of the Mediterranean. Why is this important? Water moderates temperatures, which makes for a mild winter without a hard freeze, and these conditions all contribute to the liveliness of grapes.
La Tarasque also stands out because it is made by an American as a side project. Arron Pott lives in California but makes the wine in France, striking a nice balance between Old World and New World. Pott is owner of Pott Wine in Napa. He is also a former winemaker at the legendary Newton Vineyard and Quintessa Estates in Napa. He also did a stint in Bordeaux and continues to consult with about a dozen other Napa wineries.
The wine is available at fine wine shops and $16 to go at MotorCity Wine.
— David Armin-Parcells, certified sommelier and proprietor at MotorCity Wine in Detroit. 1949 Michigan Ave. in Corktown, www.motorcitywine.com.