A Wine Lover’s Weekly Guide To $10 Wines – A French Rothschild Pinot Noir

Who hasn’t heard about that famous banking family, the Rothschilds? They have also been in the wine business since 1853. Two short years later Bordeaux, France came out with a famous wine classification, one that is still in use. Those poor Rothschilds’ best wine only made second level. They lobbied and lobbied and in 1973 Chateau Mouton Rothschild finally made it to the A list, the only such promotion in the entire Bordeaux classification. Today’s wine comes from the unpretentious Languedoc region of south central France, where this branch of the family has been producing such inexpensive wines since 1995. Unlike Bordeaux, where most wines are blends, in Languedoc they are varietals. Phil offers four reds and three whites, all in this price range. In case you are in the market, the Mouton often goes for $1000 or more. The 1865 runs about $10K, so you won’t see it reviewed here. Our companion wine is another Pinot Noir, a California offering at about four times the price, ounce for ounce.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Philippe de Rothschild Pinot Noir Indication Geographique Protegee 2011 12.5 % alcohol about $9

Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. “Tasting Note : Ruby red colour; ripe red and black cherry aromas; dry, light-medium bodied, ripe cherry flavours with smooth finish. Serving Suggestion : Serve with roast chicken.” And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine offered some earth and was balanced. Japanese rice crackers with no Wasabi had virtually no effect. The main dish consisted of homemade Shepherd’s Pie. In response this libation’s acidity sharpened and it grew longer. I tasted dark cherries. The accompanying mixed salad, composed of tomatoes, red cabbage, red pepper, red onion, cucumbers, and cilantro, thinned our Languedoc friend who remained earthy and long. I slathered lots of peppery green, garlicy Yemeni Jalapeno Pepper sauce on the meat and the libation picked up the spice’s power.

The second meal centered on slow cooked beef round steak. The drink was somewhat sweet at first. I even got an unwanted burst of bubble gum. This juice remained sweet and there wasn’t much fruit. Simultaneously cooked white potatoes did manage to cut the sugar in my glass. Simultaneously cooked sweet potatoes seemed to give the taste of cherries in the liquid’s background. Fresh pineapple for dessert virtually gutted the wine but I did get some burnt taste.

The final meal’s piece de resistance was a baked salmon filet that had been marinated in agave and sesame seeds. In response our French friend was sweet, providing some acidity and few tannins. The steamed quinoa darkened the liquid but it was still thin. Fresh strawberries simply muted the wine.

Final verdict. In my future this Pinot Noir and Chateau Mouton Rothschild will be treated the same; they both go into the I’ll never, ever be drinking them category. Not that I’m casting any aspersions on the plebe’s fancy-schmancy cousin.

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but definitely prefers drinking fine wine. He teaches computer classes at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com features a weekly review of $10 wines. Visit his Italian wine website www.theitalianwineconnection.com .

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