Saturday, November 12, 2005

2001 Chateau de Fonsalette Côtes du Rhône

This wine is a sentimental favorite. On my wife Liz's and my first date (in March 1987), I made dinner for her--grilled lamb chops (grilled on my fire escape), green beans with tomatoes, onion, and basil, and rice. The wine was a 1983 Chateau de Fonsalette. So each year, either on our wedding anniversary or the anniversary of the first date, we make this dinner and try to have a bottle of Fonsalette if we can find it.

To my taste, it's always been one of the top Cotes du Rhones most vintages, with flavors, texture, and complexity that surpasses most Chateauneuf du Papes (Fonsalette is made by the same family that makes the elite Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape.) But it's expensive and hard to find.

The 2001 was dee-licious! Medium ruby colored with a touch of brick. An amazing nose of sweet cream ice cream, fresh-squeezed ripe plum juice, and fragrant cedar-tobacco scents. (As I wrote in an earlier post, the nose was much more animated when sniffed outside on the porch rather than inside the house.) Not weighty or particularly full-bodied, but concentrated fruit and hints of iodine and lightly-bitter minerals in the mouth. Very rich, lengthy finish.

A very complex Cotes du Rhone. 90. I got this shipped in from Zachys (in NY) a year or two ago. Can't remember what I paid, but I'm sure it was at least in the $30-40 range.

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