Thursday, May 13, 2010

When in Rhône... 2008 Beaumes de Venise

I stumbled upon this wine while shopping at my local supermarket - InterMarché - and it was another sweet InterMarché surprise...

It's labeled Beaumes de Venise and it has its own appellation. The area is nestled in a growing area that touches well-known meridionale wines Gigondas and Chateaûneuf-du-Pâpe, an enclave northeast of Avignon.
The wine is blend of four varietals - grenache (predominately), syrah, cinsault and mourvèdre - the workhorses of the southern Rhône. It has a lighter robe than the wines I prefer, such as Saint Joseph, but hey it comes from a completely different terroir, so one shouldn't be surprised. The color made me think that I did no harm decanting it now.
The winemaker that crafted this bargain is Vignerons de Beaumes de Venise S.C.A. in the department of Vaucluse. They are another example of the larger winemaking operations in the southern Rhône that have the capacity to produce lower-grade wines at three-to-five-euro price range.
Like most of the wines from this area, they are pretty much ready to drink the moment you leave the store. It's not dense, not particularly well structured, but it brings us to the low-price border-line fruit bomb land that we appreciate that has a lot of blackberry, according to the label. I would agree as it doesn't have the red berry that I know up north and it misses the mark on intensity and acidity that I love, but at three euros what can you say? It was also borderline "delicious".

Food: Cincinnatti Chili or a cheap steak
I made homemade Cincy chili to go with it. For most folks who are reading this, Cincinnatti Chili entails cinamon / clove spice in stead of chili poured over pasta (called a "two way"). I chose to drink three wines with a "three way". If you don't fancy a "three-way", I would definitely pair this wine with capon, duck, turkey. Perhaps consider cheap, thin euro-steak that is drenched in some BBQ sauce such as Ken Davis or Sweet Baby Ray. As for cheese, I would try this with some double cream brie or a creamy chevre (It's available in the U.S. and U.K. cheese shops).

Price point is on "pont"
If you are visiting Avignon and you are low on the "sou", buy this. You save the pain of blowing 30 euros on a CdP or a 20-euro Gigondas.

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