Import Selection: Cotes du Rhone, 1990. Moillard

The venerable French wine producing firm Moillard was founded in 1850 by Symphorien Moillard. It is now managed by the fourth and fifth generations, and remains a family owned and oper­ated concern. While 60% of Moil-lard’s turnover is achieved in France, its wines are sold interna­tionally in over 30 countries.

The elite part of the operation is sixty acres that they own in France’s illustrious Côtes d’Or re­gion, the best section of Bour­gogne (“Burgundy” — the real thing). Moillard ferments and vinifies all the precious grapes produced within its domaines, but they also purchase grapes from many different growers and vinify them, too. Additionally, the firm purchases already made wines from other growers. They then “finish” these wines (the French term is eleveur, “one who ele­vates”) by fining them.

Fining consists of removing particles which might cloud the wine by techniques other than fil­tering (floating egg-whites through them, for instance). Moillard also filters the wines before bottling and aging them in their 3 million bottle cellar. With modern equipment for labeling and packing, the firm is able to produce over 5000 cases a day with all the necessary care any good wine deserves.

Our selection represents Moillard’s product line mainstay . This is good, inexpensive, appealing wine from due south of the exalted Bourgogne region, the sunny southern Rhône Valley. Here is where California’s “Rhône Rang­ers” got their inspiration. The four grape blend features Syrah, for el­egant texture and bouquet; Gren­ache for fruitiness in both the nose and flavor; Mourvèdre for acidity, depth and complexity; and Cinsault for backbone.

The wine has a brilliantly clear raspberry/red medium dark color. The nose offers exotic passion-fruit and multiple berry aromas, with a hint of the violet flowers al­luded to in its proprietary name (“Les Violettes”). Though high in acid, the wine is quite smooth on the palate, medium to light in body, with fairly intense “jammy” clean fruit flavors following through. It finishes with moderate tannins drying the tongue and the aroma of violets lingering on.

Serve at room temperature with broiled steak, beef dishes with sweet fruit sauces, soy sauce chicken or a roast beef sandwich.

Cellaring notes: Near its peak now, drink over next 2 years.

Reviewed by Larry Tepper

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