Cotes du Rhone - Cellier des Dauphins

French wine has always been my favourite although there are so many producers, varieties and regions it's impossible to try them all. Nick and I have enjoyed Cotes du Rhone, in particular Cellier des Dauphins since the early 1990s, bringing many bottles back from our holidays.

Cellier des Dauphins distribution centre
Cellier des Dauphins now have an international brand Les Dauphins which means we can easily buy their wine here in the UK as well as still bringing a few back from France.

This year some of our holiday was spent in the Cotes du Rhone region and you can read about our travels on my main blog posts; this page is dedicated to the wines of Cellier des Dauphins and the amazing private tasting they hosted for us.

Tasting room in Suze-la-Rousse Chateau
We were in a room on the top floor, left side, up a twisty spiral staircase.
But before I review the wines here's a bit of background information about Cotes de Rhone wine - it's appellations and standards form a pyramid with general Cotes du Rhone at the bottom and Chateauneuf du Pape at the top. At the tasting we were given a map showing the main Cotes du Rhone area and villages along with a level explanation diagram.

The first is Cotes du Rhone which is the largest quantity of wine produced from the Grenache and Syrah grapes grown in the region - there are just over 20 other varietites, including Mouvedre, Carignan and Grenache Blanc, allowed to be grown but it's a complex study on which, why and where.

This is the type of wine most known and most commonly drunk. The next level is Cotes du Rhone Villages, followed by named Cotes du Rhone Villages and topped with Cru named villages which include Chateauneuf du Pape.

It is a very complex area of appellations, names and labels and I still have a lot to learn. There are many many web sites and books helping to explain, they all have slight variations too.

So back to our tasting in the chateau; Steffen and Philibert arrived with a bottle of Les Dauphins white and rose and had already set the room with five bottles of red.

We have enjoyed Les Dauphins wine at home and at other tasting but this was a chance to really learn about the brand, wine and discover more about the taste.

The white was crystal clear in the glass with a lovely dry crisp palate and a long finish - one of my favourite whites.

Not being rose drinkers it was a good opportunity to try, and what a surprise. It's glistening salmon pink colour led to a strawberry slightly floral nose.

Medium dry in taste the strawberries were apparant but not sweet giving the wine a full flavour which I really enjoyed, again a lovely long finish.

Before I had always thought of rose wine for just summer days and lunch time glass when in France but now, as suggested by Stefen, I would drink rose as an aperitif to a dinner as an alternative to bubbly or pastis.

Moving onto red wine the first tasting was our old favourite Les Dauphins Cotes du Rhone Reserve - it brings back so many happy memories which always adds to a good wine.

A nose of spice and fruitiness followed by a palate full of blackberries with a kick of white pepper and a lengthy finish.

Graduating up the wine pyramid to Les Dauphins Cotes du Rhone Villages Grande Reserve with its peppery nose which was not quite as intense.

A much deeper colour in this red and so too a deeper flavour and an added warmth to it's finish.

Nick and I have not had many actual named village Cotes du Rhone so it was a real treat to try two at this tasting - Les Dauphins Cotes du Rhone Villages Saint Maurice was first with it's deeper red colour.

This wine had that comforting nose of rich spice, cigars and libraries and was brimming with hedgerow fruits such as blackberries and dark cherries. A long, long finish with warmth and very soft tannins.

Les Dauphins Cotes du Rhone Villages Puymeras was our next named village wine, this village is on the slopes and so the grapes grow in a slightly cooler climate. There was still a deep colour, good nose, abundance of dark fruit but slightly less spice. It was surprising how similar the wines were yet each had their own distinctive differences.

Our final tasting was Les Dauphins Cru des Cotes du Rhone Vinsobres; such a smooth wine much much deeper than the other four. It's nose had a hint of spicy black pepper, it's palate full of the expected fruitiness with a much longer finish and such smoothness.

Steffen and Philibert kindly gave us a bottle of Puymeras which we have brought home and also the unfinished bottles of Saint Maurice and rose which we enjoyed later in our room.

Cellier des Dauphins / Les Dauphins produce some amazing wine available in most of our major supermarkets under either label. It's a wine and area I'd like to learn more about as it's so complex.

Thank you so much Les Dauphins, Steffen and Philibert it was an afternoon I will remember always, amazing location, great company, such information and knowledge shared and of course the enjoyment of 7 wonderful wines - thank you

Keep up with all the latest Les Dauphins at 

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'm so pleased you're enjoying my travel and wine ramblings - I love reading your replies too, thank you for posting a comment