The Cotes du Rhone appellation is one of the world’s largest wine-producing regions. The variety of grapes is amazing. Sainsbury’s updated ‘Taste The Difference’ range is doing a good job of teaming up with good producers and releasing own-label wines that are interesting and reasonably priced. Ventoux is about 30km from its famous neighbour Chateauneuf du Papes near the town of Avignon in Provence. It rises from a plain in a series of jagged hills called ‘Les Dentelles’ (nothing to do with teeth, but rather lace). It gained a degree of notoriety in 1967 when Tom Simpson, a British professional cyclist (one of Britain’s most successful of all time) was the undisputed leader of the British team. In the 13th stage of the race, he collapsed and died during the ascent of Mont Ventoux. In 1967 drugs in cycling were rife and permitted (the team doctor jacked them up with cocaine). I ascended Mt Ventoux (drug-free) and paid my respects at his monument, before checking out the tiny (locals) ski resort. We drove down to the vineyards and the car got stuck in the red, clay mud… I pushed, the wheels span – and the terroir covered me and went up my nose and in my mouth. At a subsequent tasting, I could literally taste the terroir – and it left an indelible impression.
Tasting notes: Deep purple colour. Complex aromas of plums, truffles and spice. Flavours of black fruit, pepper, spice and slight oak nuances whilst still being rustic. Silky tannins. Balanced acidity. Medium length to the finish. Some intensity and some complexity. Good value for money.
Wine Colour – Red
Price – £8
Where do I get it from? Sainsbury’s
Current Vintage – 2018
Grape – Blend of (probably) Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Carignan
Region/Country – Cotes du Rhone, Southern France
Verdict – Good wine for the money
Food pairing – richly flavoured meat dishes, game and fine cheese.