Rhone Wines

Tuesday Quick Sip – 2008 Chateau de Segries Tavel Rosé

We enjoyed the 2008 Chateau de Segries Tavel Rosé last night with some tacos and was a nice pairing, although this Rosé could go with just about everything.

chateausegries_tavelWine Information –

Region: Rhone

Appellation: Tavel (only Rosé is produced here)

Grapes: 50% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 15% Clairette, 5% Syrah

Price: $15

My Tasting Notes –

Color: deep pink

Nose: fresh herb garden, tangerine and strawberry

Taste: spicy strawberry, watermelon, slate, ginger and rhubarb

Mouthfeel: medium to full body, great roundness but crisp finish, a perfect combo

Finish: decent length with persistent fruit and minerality

A fabulous Rosé , and a great value. If you love dry Rosé and want to try a great example give this one a whirl!


Categories: $10-$20, Rhone Wines, Rosé, wine review | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

2006 Domaine La Barroche Chateauneuf-Du-Pape Grenache Blend

At $65 this is a bit out of my price range for everyday drinking but I had the opportunity to sample the 2006 Domaine La Barroche Chateauneuf-Du-Pape at a trade tasting the other day. I have a few Chateauneuf-Du-Papes resting in my cellar, and tasting this wine made me want to open every last one of them. The blend is predominately Grenache (64%) with Mourvedre (17%), Syrah (11%) and Cinsault (8%) making up the rest of the blend. With the help of 4 weeks of skin contact, the Barroche has an amazing richness and intensity. The cooperage for this was done separately for each of the components: the Mourvedre was aged in 2 and 3 year old Burgundy barrels sur lees, 60% of the Grenache in old oak casks, 40% of the Grenache in Stainless Steel tanks, and both the Syrah and Cinsault were aged in old oak caks. All aging was for approximately 18 months before being bottled, unfiltered, in spring of 2008.

My Tasting Notes –

Nose: cherry, cooked tomato, olive oil, earth and eucalyptus

Taste: brown spice, “good funk”, cassis and red currant

Mouthfeel: full bodied and “meaty” with mouth drying leathery tannins, well balanced but present acidity

Finish: long and slightly spicy, hint of black pepper

If you couldn’t tell already I was enamored with this wine, and if it wasn’t for the price I would drink it once a week. The 2006 is still a baby though, the tannic structure could use some smoothing out, but for being so young it is drinking quite well now.


Categories: $40+, Rhone Wines, wine review | 3 Comments

Riding the Rhone train, Organically!

Finding a really good Rhone wine for $15 dollars or under can be a hard enough challenge, but finding one that is $15 and organic would seem near impossible. Not that I went looking for a wine that fulfilled these two requirements, but it did peak my interest when I saw an organic Cotes du Rhone at a Barrel Thief tasting back in June. We decided to pull out the 2006 Perrin & Fils Cote du Rhone “Nature” with some of our Tofu Parmesan the other night.


The fully organic Ecocert certified grapes come from a single vineyard located in the commune of Tulette. Soil on this site consists of a chalky clay consistency and lies at an elevation of 144 meters. The 2006 “Nature” is a blend of primarily Grenache (95%) and Syrah (5%).


My Tasting Notes

Color – garnet

Nose – Boysenberry, spiced meat, barny, marshmallow, suede

Taste – Eucalyptus, cherry, plum, thyme

Mouthfeel – Medium body, dry smooth velvety tannins

Finish – lots of cherry flavor, and long in length


This was a great wine, and a great value, and a bonus for this tree huggin’ environmentalist that it was produced organically. Not that I think it tasted better because it was organic, but I just appreciated that it was. This was the 7 layer cake of wines, dark fruit, good earthy “stinkiness”, herbs, and vegetables and even the unusual marshmallow note. Not a bad deal for fifteen bucks. This is very well distributed so you should be able to find it in your local wine shop.


Categories: $10-$20, Rhone Wines, wine tasting | Tags: , , | 1 Comment


Post written by guest blogger and friend – Stephanie Plunkett


My good friend John Witherspoon has taught me much about wine.  He’s never been off in his recommendations for wines to try and wine bars to visit.  The latest recommendation was to visit Barrel Thief in Richmond Va for the Kermit Lynch tasting.  The owners of Barrel Thief (Ross and Ned)  were in perfect form, handling all the behind the scenes work careful not to intrude upon the ambience of the experience.  As typical, Barrel Thief does not disappoint.  The French visiting winemakers had stellar selections, and in the end, it was hard to make a choice for what to bring home.  I have to confess as well that I have been disappointed by the French wines I’ve tried.  My flavor profile seems more akin to Spanish wines, Argentina Malbecs, and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Sonoma Valley.  Needless to say, this experience has opened my palate to a whole new world of wine, and my husband and I visited that world last night with a bottle we bought, The St. Joseph VV.  


As you see from John’s blog on April 25, 2008 the St. Joseph VV 2005 is a wine made from 60 year old vines of 100% Syrah.  The alcohol content is 13%.  On the back of the bottle is a statement from Thomas Jefferson, which I couldn’t agree with him more:  “Good wine is a necessity of life for me”.   On the nose is a slightly overpowering woody cedar spice so I couldn’t really detect anything else.  This same spice hits you in the first taste, but soon the cranberry comes through, and on the finish the experience turns to a dusty and earthy note.  Overall I really liked the wine.  It was definitely unique to anything I had previously tasted.  For the first time, the following Friday at our usual tasting at the Caboose in Ashland Va my husband and I visited the selection of French wines and picked out a nice Sancerre. 


Perhaps I’ll write about that one in the future, but I wanted to get this one out there for my good friend John to help celebrate his Birthday in the only way I know how, and that is to celebrate the enthusiasm of wine with him!  Thanks John and have a great Birthday!


P.S.  For all you wine and beer lovers in the Richmond area, the Caboose in Ashland will have a beer and wine tasting special (free tasting of 5 wines and 5 beers) on Friday June 6.  Come out and visit Ian Kirkland who’s been an owner there 10 years now.  Sample exquisite cheeses picked out by Shannon Cook and experience this quaint little shop by the railroad tracks in the old town of Ashland.

Categories: Barrel Thief, Rhone Wines, wine review | Leave a comment

Colombo wasn’t just a detective on a TV show

… He is also a famous winemaker from Southern France.

Wine Review of the 2006 Jean Luc Colombo La Violette Viognier

Produced from 20 year old vines in the Languedoc-Roussillon, the La Violette underwent controlled fermentation and maceration at 59ºF, 80% in stainless steel tanks and 20% in barrels. The wine then spent 6 months on the lees, 70% in tanks, and 30% in one-, two- and three-year-old barrels.


My Tasting Notes –


Nose – Asian pear, apricot, mint

Taste – Honey, citrus, mineral/stone, tea

Mouthfeel – light to medium body

Finish – Medium in length, dry clean finish with flavors of honey and brewed tea


Decent Viognier from Languedoc Roussillon, a bit tight on the nose at first as it took about 45 minutes for it to open up.  Not as viscous as most Viognier, shedding its oily nature for a cleaner more crisp mouthfeel and strong mineral notes toward the finish. All in all not bad, we just picked this up at the Wine Cellar, wanting to branch out from our Viognier rut of sticking to California, Australia and of course Virginia.






Categories: $10-$20, Rhone Wines, wine cellar, wine review | 2 Comments

Kermit Lynch Tasting at The Barrel Thief

Last night I attending the Kermit Lynch tasting at the Barrel Thief in Short Pump, and as the email promised, it was HUGE.  Now Kermit Lynch himself was not there but 5 of his top imports were represented via the winemakers, who were there pouring their juice for us to try. For 10 bones we got to taste over 18 wines from the Rhone region, what a steal. I was not able to taste all the wines as they ran out of a few and I ran out of time, but the ones I did taste were fantastic. To accompany the tastings were some nice cheese and salami slices (didn’t try cuz of the whole vegetarian thing) and some nice baguette slices to help clean your palate in between tastes. To see what I thought and what I bought keep reading.



My Tasting Notes (in order of tasting)


Chateau de Trinquevedel

2007 Tavel $25 – A dry Rose comprised of 45% Grenache, 24% Cinsault, 15% Clairette, 6% Syrah, 4% Grenache Blanc, 4% Mourvedre and 2% Bourboulenc. Very full and round Rose with strawberry and salmonberry flavors and aromas that led to a stony, mineral finish. I would have bought this but they don’t actually have it in for sale yet.



Domaine Auguste Clape

St. Peray Blanc (3 vintages) – St. Peray is a small appellation in the Northern Rhone, South of Crozes-Hermitage producing white wines from Marsanne and Rousanne. The Blanc’s from Clape are 100% Marsanne with fermentation done in cement vats and aged in stainless steel.


2007 $40 – nose of honey, fuji apple with pear and honeysuckle flavors, beautiful mineral finish

2005 – nose of cooked fruit, apricot and floral notes dominated the flavor profile with a hint of spice and again a clean mineral finish

2004 – Interesting nose of sweet cheese such as baby swiss, apple, asian pear and nutty flavors – this vintage did not have the mineral finish that the others did


All the vintages were medium to full body, good fruit and moderate levels of acidity with the 2004 have lower acidity than the rest and a darker golden color (to be expected). These were very nice wines and it was awesome to taste the vertical.


Cotes du Rhone (3 vintages) – Made from 100% Syrah with whole cluster natural yeast fermentation in cement vats with 10 months ageing in large French oak casks, bottle fined and unfiltered.


2007 $45 – Blueberry and black cherry on the nose followed by raspberry eucalyptus and “dirt” on the palate, good big body with strong leathery tannins.

2006 $45 – Earthiness, blackberry and leather predominately on the nose with dark fruit and mint with a touch of green olive in the mouth – a years difference was definitely noticeable in the slight smoothing of the tannins that I would define as dusty.

2005 $45 – Barny, raspberry, cherry and slight funk on the nose with collard greens raspberry and earth rounding out the taste profile, firm tannins at the finish although extremely soft and well balanced across the mid palate. This was my favorite of the 3 and one of the wines I took home.


2005 Cornas Cuvee Renaissance $ 79– 100 % Syrah with same processing as above except for 20 months of aging in French oak casks. This wine had amazing blackberry pie and floral aromas, green bean, fig and licorice flavors. Fairly smooth tannins and full bodied structure.


2005 Cornas $119 – This wine is the exact same as above except from a different vineyard lot that is comprised of 60 year old vines. Another heavy hitter at $119, very rich with cranberry, currant, tobacco aromas that followed through to a similar taste profile with a bit of green pepper thrown in and a hint burnt rubber. HUGE TANNINS at the finish – definitely need about 10 years before this one really shows its potential.


Domaine Philippe Faury


2006 Condrieu Blanc $89 – did not try I wish I had because I love Condrieu wines.

2006 St. Joseph Blanc $39 – did not try

2006 Syrah $29 – 100 percent Syrah – strawberry and rose on the nose with mostly a pure cooked green bean flavor on the palate.

2005 St. Joseph VV $39 – 60 year old vines of 100% Syrah – Blackberry and cranberry dominated the aroma and flavor profile, with a hint of Shitake mushroom at the finish

2006 Cote Rotie $79 – 85% Syrah and 15% Viognier – Barny, earth, raspberry and floral notes. The Viognier gave the wine noticeably more viscosity and the floral aromas were very nice. I would have bought this but they didn’t have it in stock yet.


Domaine de la Charbonniere


2005 Vacqueyras $37 – 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah aged from 6-8 months in large oak tanks bottled unfiltered. Dill pickle, green olive and cassis with a earthiness and mushroom notes on the palate

2004 Chateauneuf du Pape “Mourre de Pedrix“ $49 – did not try

2005 Chateauneuf du Pape “Mourre de Pedrix“ $65 – Comprised of Grenache (69%), Syrah (15%), Mourvedre (15%) and Cinsault (1%). Aged in both oak barrels and large tanks for 12-18 months and bottled unfiltered. I got cake batter aroma on the nose as well as earth, cassis and a hint of fresh dill. On the palate I got similar flavors with green olive making another appearance and the earthiness became more evident. Magnificent body and structure, firm leathery tannins that will take quite a few years to smooth out. This was a great wine and the second bottle that I decided to purchase.

2005 Chateauneuf du Pape “Vielles Vignes” $75 – Comprised of 70% Grenache and 30 % Mourvedre. Toast, blackberry, sulfur on the nose with blackberry and tobacco flavors on the palate. Good body and firm tannins but not overly so.

2005 Chateauneuf du Pape “Les Hautes Brusquieres” $75 – (did not try)


The event seemed like a success (to me) with a good size crowd turning out for the tasting. I know myself and the few people I brought from work sure enjoyed our time and the opportunity to taste some pretty pricey wines of great caliber. Good job Barrel Thief team, I look forward to the next one!

If you haven’t already, make sure to stop by the Barrel Thief for some great wine and food or just to browse their selection.




Categories: Barrel Thief, Kermit Lynch, Rhone Wines, wine tasting | 3 Comments