Rhone grapes here and there

Les Restanques de Pibarnon Bandol 2003
This is a good value offering from Pibarnon, showing ripe fruit overlaid with ripe tannins. This wine gets better each time I taste it. The complexity is there and the edges are softening when tasted August 27, 2008. Tasted again at the end of April ’09, the wine is evolving further, with the fruit getting stewed in the nose and the mouth softer yet, with raisined fruit and nice acidity. Mis au chateau par Comte de Saint Victor, prop.-recolt. a La Cadiere-d’Azur14% $14.99 at Bottle Barn Pibarnon

Pibarnon map

Bridlewood Central Coast Arabesque Reserve 2005

Evolved, stewed fruit, a raisiny character and quite supple. 36% Grenache, 27% Mourvedre, 13% Cinsault, 11% Counoise, 7% Viognier, 6% Syrah from the winery’s Sunnybrook Ranch in the Templeton Gap, Paso Robles. Aging for six months in new and used French Oak. Winemaker David Hopkins. P&B in Santa Ynez 14.8% $22 at the winery, winery sample Bridlewood

Le Clos du Caillou Cotes du Rhone Vielles Vignes Cuvee Unique 2006
This wine is fantastic – full of fruit, black pepper and quite chewy. The previous vintage was also a solid wine, balanced in medium weight with ripe fruits and structure. Sourced from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, this wine is a blend of 88% old vine Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, aged in mature oak, large and small. This Cuvee for North Berkeley Imports is a bit different in composition from that which you’ll find on the winery’s site. Mis en bouteille at the Domaine Pouizin-Vacheron in Courthezon. 14.5% $15.69 at Bottle Barn.

Clos du Caillou map

About Ray

Ray Johnson is the Executive Director of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University. He writes about food and wine, his travels and the business of wine. He makes his home in Sonoma County, California.
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