After a nice break from blind tasting, we were back at it with these two French wines! We've been sitting on these wines for a number of months now, mostly waiting for the weather to turn slightly cooler so we can fully enjoy these two earthy reds.
2018 Kirkland Signature, Châteauneuf-du-Pape ($20.99)
2016 Brotte, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, "Les Hauts de Barville" ($24.99)
Wines from the Rhone region are a bit of an outlier for us, so we were really excited to taste these two bottles. Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the village in the Southern Rhone region where these wines are made and take their namesake from. There are 13 permitted grapes that can make up a Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine, most familiar to us are the Grenache, Syrah and Mourvédre varietals. Each producer has a different blend of these grapes, so the flavor profiles can presumably vary quite a bit. The Kirkland label indicates 70% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvédre, and 10% Cinsault. Brotte doesn't reveal its exact composition, but their website suggests a similar blend to the Kirkland, minus the Cinsault.
How did these wines compare?
Wine #1: Perfumed wine with a rather pronounced bouquet of aromas. This wine was has flavors of dried fruit, yet still has a nice acidity and brightness to it that is appealing. Lingering finish. 3 tasters preferred this wine.
Wine #2: Nose was more muted on this wine and therefore harder to pick out the characteristics of the aroma. On the palate, this wine was funky and earthy, with notes of roasted chestnut and some heat (alcohol). Right out of the bottle this wine was a bit bolder and a little uneven, but did seem to settle down to a more consistent profile as it evolved in the glass. 1 taster gave this wine the edge.
Wine #1 was the Brotte and the victor of this tasting.
Is it worth it?
Well, not really. These wines are quite similar in nature and tasting profile. The wines both changed over the course of our meal and there was a good bit of flipping and flopping. It's about a 20% markup for the Brotte, but if the Kirkland is in stock, we suggest picking that one up and giving it a taste.
In the end, we were all a little disappointed with these wines. Not because the quality wasn't there, but perhaps because our palates weren't. We have limited experience with wines from this region and sometimes it can take a while to understand a style of wine. Ten years ago, we only understood California wine and didn't "get" Italian or French wine at all. Now, we love Italian wines (almost to a fault) and Burgundy wines. We aren't ready to pass on wines from the Southern Rhone just yet - nobody likes a quitter!