COTES DU RHONE. 1982 – DOMAINE DE LA RENJARDIERE
by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr | June 1984
Pierre Dupond and his son own and operate the Domaine de La Renjardiere. They are the 3rd and 4th successive generations of the family that owns this rather large estate. (300 acres). It is in the valley of the Ayges tributary of the Rhone river. Situated on the plateau of Renjarde, north of the town of Orange, this region contributes the better Cotes-du-Rhone wines of France.
The domaine was once an ancient forest in the Venaissin, a hunting territory of the Avignon Popes. Some huge oak trees still exist on the vineyards which were established in 1880. The soil is a mixture of silica, clay, and limestone, covered with huge round shingles typical of the lower Rhone.
Let me not mislead you! The “Cotes-du-Rhone” classification is the lowest on the scale for wines from the “Rhone” wine producing region of France. Next up the ladder is the “Cotes-du-Rhone-Villages” group, and then come the individual town or district appellations like Hermitage, Cote Rhone, Chateau-Neuf-du-Pape, Cornas, etc.
Each group has its own level of standards, characteristics, and price ranges. Naturally among each of these categories will be outstanding examples, good examples, mediocre ones, and downright bad ones.
I guess that’s where I come in! For four and a half dollars, this one is outstanding.
But let me tell you more about the Rhone wines. They are usually blends of different grapes, and often, some white grapes are used in the blend of the red wines. This is the tradition of the area. That is all they used to know in the old days, and they do the same today to maintain the continuity of style and character.
Five grapes varieties are usually used by the Duponds to make this wine. Three of them are red grapes: Grenache contributes body and scale to the wine, Carignan adds zest, and Syrah is used for color and added strain of complexity. The two white grapes are: Cinsault which contributes perfume and elegance to the wine, and Clairette adds finesse and warmth.
It is apparent that the winemaker is influenced by the style of wine produced on the other properties of the family. They own vineyards in the Beaujolais wine-producing region. As a result, our wine has the warmth and generosity of the Rhone combined with the charm and fruit of the Beaujolais. It is therefore not a typical “Cote-du-Rhone” Rhone wine!
Our wine is medium red in color with a definite young purple tint. It has a young, fruity, fresh aroma with typical Rhone character, but, not too intense. This is overlaid with a Beaujolias aroma. Amazing! The taste shows a light to medium body. It has three distinct sequences of taste sensation. First it is fruity and lively, developing quickly into a dry sensation, and ending with an acid touch. It has a short finish. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled with ham, veal, or pork entrees. I think it is also a good summer picnic sandwich wine.
Cellaring Notes: Drink young. Will be at its best during the next 2 years.