I lament that the wine industry has had to change the way business is conducted, though from the reports that I have seen, wine consumption is up since the lockdown began. So many businesses have been closed for periods of time, that a lot of the populace has learned to drink at home again, and hopefully they are still drinking responsibly. Wineries could do tastings outdoors, but with social distancing. Wine tasting is part of the experience of wine shopping, unless you are at a drug store or grocery store and that experience has been curtailed, but not extinguished. It has become more personalized and unfortunately not a group experience, which does take some of the fun away. Also, the shops need less help in the store, because there are less glasses to be washed and less areas to keep clean, and more people that are unemployed, but the consumption is up and understandably acknowledged.
I got a chance to try some wine that the shop got a tremendous deal on, in a three-liter bottle of Famille Perrin Cotes du Rhone Reserve 2017. While Famille Perrin, a wine maker and a negocient, is a relatively new company founded in 1997, the Perrin family has been making wine since the early 1900’s when Pierre Perrin inherited the Chateau de Beaucastel estate. They are now in the fifth generation of a family owned and managed business. Besides the original estate, they make wines with famous appellations, and regional wines from the Rhone Valley. Their portfolio also includes the La Vielle Ferme brand which started in the 1970’s and they also have Miraval. They produce Red, White and Rosé wines and surprisingly the majority of the wines that they produce center around the three famous varietals of the region; Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, though there are nine more varietals that are sanctioned, but seldom seen. The Cotes du Rhone appellation was created in 1937 as a catch-all for all the wines not from the more prestigious regions of the Rhone Valley and it is now one of the largest selling districts in France. This was just a lovely wine, but I had to pass, just because of the size of the bottle, as our parties don’t seem to move that wine anymore.
I also had a tasting of Chateau Montlandrie Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon 2010, produced by Denis Durantou. I could barely find any information on this wine other than it was a Merlot and Cabernet Franc blend. Until 2009, the wines were sold as Cotes de Castillon and then the appellation became Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon. All of the wines of this appellation are red and they must be predominately Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are allowed to be a supporting grapes and Malbec, Petit Verdot and Carmenere are also permitted. The appellation is a combination of Blaye, Cadillac, Castillon and Francs, as each of these entities were not strong enough on their own for name recognition. The amazing thing was that I also had a tasting of the 2015 and they were the same price and they both were excellent, and I really had trouble distinguishing one from the other. Which I found very interesting and just another joy of wine tasting.