Nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees in the South of France, Côtes du Roussillon-Villages is a red wine sub-appellation of Roussillon. Roussillon is famous for its sweet wines—Rivesaltes, Banyuls, and Maury. For still wine it struggles to get out from under the shadow of the better known Rhone region in the very competitive global wine market. Quality red wines from this region are relatively rare in the U.S.
Although the region is warm enough to produce fruit-forward wines in a modern style, the traditional style is more austere with distinctive earth and herbal fragrances and a rustic character.
The Chateau de Jau has one foot in each camp. Dark berry aromas with layers of baked earth and thyme that turns to refreshing mint notes over time, the nose is a bit closed but will open up with aeration. Very juicy with fresh, dark red fruit on the palate, it appears lush on entry but adds bitter herbs with bracing acidity midstream, with a dry, medium-length finish. Medium-plus acidity and fine-grained but persistent tannins make this a good everyday drinker that will go well with a variety of foods.
If you’re tired of the sweet, spofulated wines with no structure or character that you find in the supermarket, this wine will satisfy.
A blend of 45% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre, 15% Carignan, and 10% Grenache
Price: $14 Available online at Wine Chateau
Pair with some uncompromising, grown-up music like Steve Earle “Back to the Wall”
A sample for review