Saturday, January 28, 2012

2007 Feraud-Brunel Cotes du Rhone Villages

The 2007 Feraud-Brunel Cotes du Rhone Villages is another one of those traditional, old school French wines that you don't want to drink on its own, but really kicks ass with the right meal. The brainchild of Laurence Feraud (Domaine du Pegau) and André Brunel (Les Cailloux), this blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah has an impeccable pedigree. On the nose and palate, I find it heavy on the earth, poopy diaper and graphite but nearly devoid of fruit. (I don't get any of the fruit that Parker and Wine Spectator gush about in the reviews I read when doing a little background research on this property.) Stout tannins and a long, bitter, matchstick finish may preserve the wine for a few years, but I would recommend drinking this now with the appropriate food.

And by "appropriate food" I'm referring to tonight's meal of horseradish-encrusted venison tenderloin with a sweet potato/Brussels sprout hash. Oh, my, what an inspired pairing! The gaminess of the venison really balanced the earthiness of the wine and the heat of the horseradish helped coax out a bit of pepper from the wine.

Not sure if this wine is distributed in Kansas or not as I purchased it from a clearance bin in a St. Louis grocery store last month for about $9. I had a bottle (from someone else's stash) at the time and tonight's notes are consistent with the initial tasting.


  1. Bill, another stellar review; "down to earth" if you know what mean! I've seen "Village" on the French labels and have been meaning to get a grasp of what that means,(probably just another geographic orientation proscribed by French law) but I'm still working on understanding right bank and left bank in my primary classes at Wine Thoughts and Blog Classof, both excellent blogs, as is yours.
    For now, I content myself with tasting the French wines, that for a variety of reasons I buy.
    I have some old friends who are big into hunting and cooking their game, but they've always had beer with this; I'm going to see if I can look some of them up and direct them to this post/blog.
    Cheers to you,

  2. Cotes-du-Rhone is the lowest classification of Rhone wines. This would cover the lesser communes as well as wines blended from sources in the northern and southern Rhone.

    Cotes-du-Rhone Villages is slightly more specific with regards to the communes the wine can come from. And there are more restrictive requirements concerning yields. That could mean declassified Chateauneuf-du-Pape or maybe a blend of wines from Rasteau and Gigondas.

    Above that, you have Cotes-du-Rhone + a village name (Rasteau, Gigondas, Beaumes de Venice, etc.). These wines must come from one specific village.

    The highest designation a Rhone wine can achieve is a Cru designation such as Chateauneuf-du-Pape or Cote-Rotie.

    I shot my first deer last December so I'm just now playing with venison and wine pairings. Not to toot my own horn too loudly, but I've been impressed with everything I've made with the venison. Up until now all I've heard about is how you eat the backstrap (loin) and the rest of the deer is just junk that you grind up and blend with beef or pork to give it some flavor. I disagree vehemently with that notion.

    Or the other thing that drives me nuts is seeing these recipes that says you have to marinate the venison in Italian dressing overnight. Let anything soak in that much salt and vinegar overnight and you're going to end up with salty mush. What's the point of that?

    Sadder still is something I overheard yesterday. One of my daughter's friend's mom was saying they've got the meat of 6 deer in their freezer because their friends like to shoot deer, but don't want the meat. That's just awful. I'd like to secretly remove the firing pins from their rifles...CLICK...

  3. Bill, thanks again for taking the time (precious to all of us)to make more clear what is what with French terminology. When I do buy French wines I go for Chablis, Grand-Cru, Grand Vin, or because someone I trust recommends the wine; this is a VERY deep well which I doubt I'll ever get a handle on, though I will try.