Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Belleruche

I always say that I never buy a wine based upon the label.  Well, I recently made a sort-of an exception.  I was looking for a French Côtes du Rhône but I was torn between a couple different wines.  Until I saw a label.  There were no bright colors, provocative names, eye-catching images.  Indeed, what caught my attention is something that ordinarily would not be seen by those for whom it was intended.  That something was the use of Braille.  After all, people who are visually impaired drink wine and why should they not be guided to a very delicious Rhone blend.

After remaking about the use of Braille, I was quickly informed by a friend that the winemaker's daughter is blind and, for that reason, Braille is used on the labels.  This tidbit led me to the winemaker's website to learn a little more about the winery and the vineyards.  The winemaker is Michel Chapoutier, who produces wines in France, Portugal, and Australia.  The wine that I enjoyed was one from the Côtes du Rhône region called Belleruche (2010).

The Belleruche is a Rhône blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah.  The grapes are cultivated in vineyards that cover four different departments (Drôme, Vaucluse, Gard and Ardèche) on different soils (such as clay and calcareous alluvial deposit terraces).  The winemaker believes that this variety gives the wine "an extraordinary richness and complexity."

Such a description is accurate.  The Belleruche pours a garnet red, almost burgundy in color.  The winemaker suggests aromatic elements of ripe fruit (such as morello cherries) and spice (like liquorice and grey pepper). There was definitely fruit and spice in the aroma of the wine, but I also got an earthiness in the aroma.  Many of the aromatic elements also carry over to the flavor of the wine.  There are a lot of ripe, red cherries in the flavor, along with other red fruits, like plums and currants.  There was also a little earth in the background.  There are also some tannins in the wine, but they hang around the edges of the wine, along with a little dryness in the finish. 

This is a great wine for any protein, whether beef, pork, lamb, chicken or fish.  One website suggested roast chicken or grilled lamb, although it would also complement grilled beef or steak, and even grilled fish.  It is also a great wine for any grilled or roasted vegetable dish.  Really, I think this is a wine that could be paired with just about anything.

I found this wine at a local grocery store.  A bottle sold for less than $15.00 per bottle.  This easy-drinking wine is definitely worth the price.


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