Tasting Report: Rhone Valley Wines at Mondovino, 2018

Tasting Report: Rhone Valley Wines at Mondovino, 2018

I recently had the opportunity to attend Mondovino, an annual tasting event in Northern Virginia hosted by Kysela Pere et Fils wine distributors. The company was founded by a Master Sommelier whose own father is one of the larger wine collectors in America, so it was no surprise that the event showcased an exceptionally well-curated (and massive) collection of wines. I spent the bulk of my time stalking the Rhone Valley tables where I discovered some real gems you’ll want in your cellar for 2018.

Brief thoughts on everything tasted follow.

Rhone reds

2015 Alain Jaume, Cairannes, Les Travees – big and bold with lush dark berry notes. A-
2015 Alain Jaume, Rasteau, Les Valats – fruity with a touch too much drying smoke. B+
2016 Alain Jaume, Vacqueyras, Grande Garrigue – bright and clean with black fruit and spice. A-
2015 Chateau Mazane Vacqueyras Rouge – full-bodied with nice vanilla and cinnamon notes. A-
2015 Alain Jaume Gigondas Terrasses de Montmirali – surprisingly sweet and light on the palate. B+
2015 Alain Jaume Domain du Clos de Sixte Lirac Rouge – floral nose and big dark fruit palate. A
2016 Alain Jaume Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge Vieux Terron – a little too much stewed fruit and currant. B
2016 Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge Le Miocene – drinking a tad on the sweet side. B+
2016 Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge Les Origines – rich and complex; young but absolutely ready to drink. A
2016 Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vielles Vignes – big tannins but impressively balanced. A
2014 Les Pieds dans les Galets, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rouge, Vieilles Vignes – great balance with beautiful strawberry notes. A
2015 Les Pieds dans les Galets Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rouge, Vieilles Vignes – fresh with good red fruit notes but remarkable what a year of age does for this one. B+
2015 Corne Loup Lirac Rouge – a lot of woody tannins on this one. B
2015 Segries, Cotes du Rhone Rouge – sweet with a good acidity and clean. B
2015 Segries, Lirac Rouge, Cuvee Reserve – juicy with black licorice notes. B
2017 Mordoree, Tavel Rose, La Reine des Bois – intense flavors, fresh and mineral heavy but elegant. A
2016 Morderee, Lirac Rouge, La Dame Rousse – impeccable balance with a long finish. A
2016 Mordoree, Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge, La Dame Voyageuse – big body with anise and a long, slightly smoky finish. A-
2016 Mordoree, Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge, La Reine des Bois – sublime drinking with incredible blueberry notes and a lush, silky body. A+
2015 Clos des Cazaux, Vacqueyras, Cuvee des Templiers – herbal and mineral rich. B
2015 Clos des Cazaux, Gigondas, Tour Sarrasine – mineral heavy with leather and an intense earthiness. B+
2015 Colline St. Jean, Vacqueyras Rouge – big dried herb notes layered with overripe dark fruits. A-
2015 Colline St. Jean, Vacqueyras, Rouge, Vieilles Vignes – lavender notes with dark fruit and a subtle smokiness. A
2015 Fayolle Crozes-Hermitage, Rouge, La Rochette – somewhat bitter, young, and tannic. B
2015 Fayolle Crozes-Hermitage Rouge La Grande Seguine – nice minerality with a touch of white pepper on the finish. A
2015 Fayolle Crozes-Hermitage Rouge Dionnieres – deep red and black fruit notes with a long, juicy finish. A

Rhone whites

2017 Grand Veneur, Cotes-du-Rhone Blanc Reserve – floral and fruity. A-
2017 Grand Veneur, Cotes-du-Rhone Blanc de Viognier – intense white peach notes but a little thin. B
2016 Grand Veneur, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Blanc, La Fontaine – buttery and layered with honeysuckle and citrus. A

Drew Beard is assistant editor for Drinkhacker and winner of several booze-related merit badges, including Certified Specialist in Spirits and Executive Bourbon Steward. A former federal employee turned hotelier and spirits journalist, he looks forward to his next midlife crisis.

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