30 Second Wine Advisor: Natural red 30 Second Wine Advisor: Natural red

The real Judgment of Paris

If you saw the movie Bottle Shock, you may think you know this story. But you really need to read George Taber's "Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine," to know how it really went down. Buy it from Amazon.com for $17.50 in hardcover, an $8.50 saving (33 percent) from the $26 list price.
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Natural red

A few weeks ago we talked about the Perrin family's 2009 white Côtes du Rhône Réserve, an excellent value in a quality Southern Rhône white blend.

Today let's have a look at a similarly affordable Perrin red from the Côtes du Rhône, this one labled "Nature" to signal that it is their certified organic wine, made from organically grown grapes without any chemical intervention in the vineyard.

Perrin Côtes du Rhône "Nature" ($12.99 at my local wine shop) is a blend of 80 percent Grenache and 20 percent Syrah in this 2007 vintage, which is made entirely from a single vineyard not far from the Côtes du Rhône village Vinsobres, a vineyard with full organic certivaction by Ecocert, an authorized European organic certification panel.

As I point out from time to time - it's worth repeating - I respect the principle of organic food and wine production. The effort required to grow grapes and make wine under increasingly strict organic regulations reveals a commitment to quality by the producer, who's willing to go a step beyond in order to gain the organic label.

That said, I'm not convinced that I can reliably taste a difference between organic and standard wines in my glass, and most of the artisanal wine producers that I admire, organic or otherwise, tend to treat the vine-growing and wine-making process with respect.

So let's say that I enjoy Perrin "Nature" Côtes du Rhône very much, not merely because it's certified organic but because it's a very good wine at a very good price.

Today's Tasting Report

Perrin 2007 Côtes du Rhône "Nature" ($12.99)

Perrin Nature

Dark garnet with a clear edge. Red berries, plums and fragrant black pepper in a very typical Southern Rhône aroma, with a burst of black plums, raspberries and pepper on the palate, nicely structured with food-friendly acidity and soft tannins. Good, typical Côtes du Rhône, an organically grown blend of Grenache (80%) and Syrah (20%), with structure and tannins to suggest some potential for two or three years in the cellar. U.S. importer: Vineyard Brands Inc., Birmingham, Ala. (Jan. 14, 2011)

FOOD MATCH: Red meat and Côtes du Rhône are natural companions; it was a great match with a locally produced grass-fed strip steak, crusted with black pepper, pan-seared then pan-roasted, and served with sauteed onions. On the other hand, the leftovers went great the next day with a sausage pizza.

VALUE: A good value at this price. Wine-Searcher.com shows U.S. prices ranging from $11.24 to $17.

Côtes du Rhône = "Coat doo Roan"
Click this link to hear "Perrin Réserve Côtes du Rhône" spoken in excellent French on the importer's site.

WEB LINK: Click here for the U.S. importer's technical fact sheet on Perrin Nature.

Check Wine-Searcher.com for vendors and prices for Perrin Côtes du Rhône Nature.

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