This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2007 and can be found at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20070926.php.
What rhymes with Orange?
In the Southern Rhone Valley, some of the more enthusiastic vine growers in the Principauté d'Orange might argue that their "Orange" rhymes with "Châteauneuf-du-Pape."
In fact, Principauté d'Orange is a mere, humble Vin de Pays (a French classification reserved for vineyard land that lacks sufficient status or wine-producing heritage to rate the "Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée" moniker).
Still, this good-size stretch of vineyard land that lies around the ancient Roman town of Orange ("Aw-rahnzh," in fractured French), lies not far north of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and shares some of its geological history, a prehistoric period beneath the waters of a greater Rhone that left behind fields of gravel and rounded stones. What's more, Orange makes its hearty red wines from some of the same grapes used throughout the surrounding Cotes du Rhone, including Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan.
That's sufficient similarity to give la Principauté d'Orange an intriguing selling point, and what more does a canny wine marketer need? What's more, while a good Châteauneuf will set you back at least $30 or so nowadays, and a great one two or three times that toll, it's hard to find a Principauté d'Orange (if, in fact, you can find one at all) for more than $10.
Does it taste like Châteauneuf-du-Pape? Well ... based on today's featured wine, an affordable Orange from Domaine le Grand Destré, I wouldn't want to push this analogy too far. Let's say that this Orange is to Châteauneuf as an orange Popsicle is to a freshly picked Valencia orange.
But for a couple of dollars under 10 bucks, it's not a bad buy. My notes are below
* If you've got time on your hands and just have to learn more about words that rhyme with Orange ("Lozenge"? "Strange"?), here are a couple of Web links to spend some time with.
Oxford Dictionaries: Are there any words that rhyme with orange?
Wikipedia: Orange (word)
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Domaine le Grand Destré 2005 Vin de Pays de la Principauté d'Orange ($8.99)
Very dark garnet. Aromas of plums, black pepper, smoke and grilled meat. A bit light in the mouth, an odd combination of bold aromas, light body and seriously astringent tannins cloaking simple black fruit and rather soft acidity. Rustic, somewhat awkward, yet pleasant overall, and good at the table; rare beef brings it around. Wine Adventures Inc., West Des Moines, Iowa. (Sept. 8, 2007)
FOOD MATCH: Medium-rare, pepper-crusted rib eye steak makes a fine companion, taming the wine's tannins and bringing it into balance.
VALUE: Excellent quality-price ratio at this under-$10 level, particularly as a food wine.
WHEN TO DRINK: There's no particular rush to drink it up, but I don't see it gaining from further aging.
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