Thursday, July 30, 2009


Is there an art to wine tasting? The French seem to think so. Being able to pick the right wine for the occasion is a matter of pride. Local wines, however, always seem to have the leg up on the competition.

Chusclan is home to many award-winning vintages. Most of the villages in our region belong to the Côte du Rhone AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée). This means that the types of grapes used, the aging process and even the way the grapes are grown are all closely monitored by an independent organization. In theory, this promotes consistent quality and adherence to the traditional customs of the region. For this reason, you will not find many sweet wines in this area.

Don't worry. The wines are still smooth and fruity. Rosé is a traditional specialty, but we've been very impressed with the Rouge. And that's really saying a lot coming from Mary Ann. Of course, you'll have to find your own favorites.

For that, the local wine cooperative is fully stocked and ready for tastings. The cave is the only retailer in the village that is open seven days a week and maintains consistent hours. And you can usually count on someone being able to speak near-fluent English to help you through the process. On my first visit to the Cave, with my Mother in law, we tasted four rouge and two rosé wines. The final selection in each flight was a clear winner.

We each walked away with two bottles of wine. Why stop there? The price for the quality is super cheap. Our most expensive 2004 vintage rouge titled, "Excellence" was less than 8€. The French sometimes complain about the prices, but they have no concept of what these wines are going for in the States. Then again, when wine is cheaper than water, you'll indulge enough to make up the difference.
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