Add to that the sometimes bewildering assortment of varietal grape blends that are sometimes allowed, sometimes demanded, all according to the traditions of each village, and you have a situation that provides opportunities for the intrepid and adventurous wine drinker…or the distinct possibility of buying just another inconsequential and eminently forgettable wine.
Fear not: in the Rhone your chances are far better for good choices than bad. A good example of that is a wine you may never have heard of that happens to be a collaborative effort of several vintners from two separate villages banded together into a co-operative enterprise, the better to pool their resources and further establish the vinous identity of their villages.
The only negative to this collaborative spirit is the somewhat unhandy name that may be applied, in this instance the Vignerons de Laudun et Chusclan La Ferme de Gicon Rosé, Cotes du Rhône, 2011. Er…Let’s decipher that, okay? “The winemakers of the villages of Laudun and Chusclan offer a Rosé from the Gicon Farm Vineyards in the rolling hillsides of the Rhône Valley.”
What you won’t know, unless you read up a little, is that the rosé is a blend of approximately 80% Grenache, the dominant grape of the southern Rhône, and Cinsault, a lesser-known pungent and flavorful dark grape with wonderful rustic flavors. That means you get the fresh strawberry scents and flavors on top, with more dark and plummy flavors underneath---in other words, just what you want your springtime rosé to be.
This Ferme de Gicon (and when you visit the region, you can visit the ancient ruins of the castle of Gicon with the vines growing profusely beneath and watch the vignerons work the fields) has been tilled for centuries by the same families, always producing the same wine: an honest, sturdy, full-flavored and persistent rosé with vibrant pink/purple color, strong berry fruitiness, and a pleasing dry, tart acidity tangy in the mouth. It’s a versatile, all-purpose wine---and that’s exactly the way the locals drink it, all the time, with all their foods, because that’s what they make it for.
So if you’re noshing on fougasse, the lovely flavored bread of southern France rich with herbs and olive oil, or slurping up bouillabaisse or chewing on garlic sausages and smelly cheeses, or having something simple like a roast chicken or a fresh green salad, this wine will suit the occasion.
Plus, with this wine you can get all that pleasure for less than $10 (on average). That’s right: this is not only a taste good, it’s a feel good---if you feel good when you get a bargain for a sawbuck, that is. Hey, why not buy two? The first bottle will taste so good, you’ll probably want to have another on hand. Just in case. HH