Screaming Good Deal – Chateau de Campuget, Le Campuget Blanc 2012

As the season moves toward autumn with holidays on the horizon, I am often asked by friends and colleagues to suggest a ‘party wine’ – something inexpensive, but good.   These are often mutually exclusive terms, but occasionally a wine pops onto our radar that warrants making a note….

The 2012 Le Campuget Blanc is one of those wines.   Hailing from the southern regions of France (Costieres de Nimes, southern Rhone) that seem to produce so many richly fruited wines at fantastically affordable prices, the Campuget Blanc is a wine that I will recommend to all my friends as a Screaming Good Deal because the price is affordable ($6.99) and the flavors solid.   And for those who care about logistics, the bottle features a highly efficient and easy-to-deal-with screw top (which also helps to maintain the freshness of this lively white).

Surprisingly for a wine of this price, the nose is attractive and floral with some citrus notes.  The texture is light and lifted, but nearly medium bodied and certainly not thin, which I might expect for a wine in this price category.   A blend of mostly Grenache Blanc and a smaller portion of Viognier, I tasted at above ice-cold temperature and found exotic/tropical and citrus flavors dominate the palate, with notable balance, followed by a legitimate finish that continues further than expected.   Is this wine on par with a $50 Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc?   No.   But it IS a lovely wine that would be well-received at double the price.   A few vintages before now, some friends found an inexpensive southern French white wine, which they bought by the case, and called it ‘ The Frenchy’ – I think this is my new ‘Frenchy’!

For those seeking a white that is soft enough to sip by itself, or pair with delicate salads/seafood dishes – I say buy it.   For those seeking a non-oaky-chardonnay-but-still-big-flavored-white for a party – I say buy it.   For $6.99 you will enjoy it!   (Chateau de Campuget Le Campuget Blanc 2012, Pennsylvania PLCB code: 32915, $6.99)

 

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Next up: Rhone Tasting!

Our Bordeaux tasting/dinner at e2 (www.e2pgh.com) was certainly tasty and instructive – so we are moving forward to our next region where we will dive into some interesting wines of the Rhone region.   We will taste and discuss the wines as a group, and then finish with a dinner to see how they stand up (or change/improve) with food.   I am a huge fan of Rhone wines as I feel they offer great value for money and, even at the lower price points, a great deal of character and sense of place.  

An added dimension for this tasting is the inclusion of two currently unavailable vintages of Chateauneuf du Pape wines (2001 Marquis Anselme Mathieu and 2007 Chateau de Beaucastel), acquired through a friend who shares our interest in wine and was quite generous to help us include these fantastic wines in our tasting.

Seats are available for this Wed Oct 30 event at: http://www.off-the-grid.ws/2013/10/30/rhone/

France’s Rhone Region produces what many consider to be the most characterful, rustic and big wines in France.   Join us to taste two Rhone whites and three Rhone reds, including the historic and hard to find 2007 Vintage of Chateau de Beaucastel!!!   If you are interested in the flavors of the Rhone – you won’t want to miss this tasting/dinner.

We expect a fantastic dinner from our friends at e2 (probably something with Lamb this time) that will match wonderfully with the rustic Rhone wines.

Domaine de la Solitude, Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2012 – Southern Rhone White, exotic fruit flavors and clean finish.

J.L. Chave Sélection Saint-Joseph Blanc Céleste 2011  (90pts IWC) – Northern Rhone White from Roussanne and Marsanne grapes, rich and deep with long finish.

J.L. Chave Sélection Saint-Joseph Offerus 2010 (91pts IWC) – Syrah-based Northern Rhone Red, red fruit flavors, spicy and sleek.

Chateauneuf du Pape Marquis Anselme Mathieu 2001 – Fully mature example of Chateauneuf du Pape red, 90% Grenache grapes, blended with 10% traditional Southern Rhone grapes (13 varieties permitted).   This wine is light to medium bodied, with layered fruit flavors – not powerful at this point in its maturity, but pleasingly complex.

Chateauneuf du Pape Chateau de Beaucastel 2007 (96pts Robert Parker, 96pts Wine Spectator) – This is a serious and highly sought after wine, from one of the most successful vintages of the past two decades – Rich and complex with more Syrah content than most Chateauneuf du Pape reds this one shows flavors ranging from cedar to licorice to red fruits and floral notes – – tasting this will be interesting as it will be interesting to see how many of us agree with the critics!

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