When I first Joined the Society I purchased a bottle of The Society’s Côtes-du-Rhône 2017. I did not like it because there was an acidic aftertaste. So i never tried another Rhone until now. A friend told me that it might have been a duff bottle. Try Rhone again. So today i opened a bottle of Lirac Rouge La Fermade, Domaine Maby 2016. It was completely different. A nice wine full of body . Though of course more expensive than the The Society Cotes… However was it a duff bottle how would i know?
Not sure it was faulty (though I do not have any experience of this exact wine). But I do think it’s a fact that there’s such a stylistic breadth to the wines from this region that extrapolation from a single experience is risky. I’ve been drinking Ogier’s La Rosine rouge and I do think the style might put off many northern Rhône neophytes. The issues around the society’s Bourgogne rouge being thought thin and acidic by many is a good example (there are also many who like it precisely for that ‘austerity’).
It’s not quite clear when you opened each, but the one you liked was what, a year and a half older, depending on the gap between the two wines. That’s not a lot of difference in absolute terms, but as a percentage of the wine’s age it’s a fair bit. Also, they are different wines. Furthermore, what you ate before and with each would have an impact, and bottle temperature would have a significant impact, too. Easy to say with hindsight, but if you don’t like a very young wine,but there’s no obvious fault (eg it’s “corked”) put the cork back in, put in the fridge and return to it a day later (after letting it come back to drinking temperature… Which can take some time at this time of year depending on how warm your home is).
The society’s CDR is basically an eastern hill village wine so is naturally spicy, acidic and dark fruited. Lirac is on the sunny low elevation plains and in terroir and climate terms is a continuation of chateauneuf so will be opulent, on the sweeter side and red fruited. So if you know a little about the Rhône crus it’s easier to work out what will suit your tastes. Additionally 2016 is an exceptional vintage in the southern Rhône and having tasted that specific wine in that vintage it is very good if that is your thing.
I have exactly the same debate about Rosine and have recently debated whether to take a bottle of it or Chave Offerus to a dinner with non wine geeks as a good ‘gateway’ northern Rhône l. I have gone with the Chave as it is just a bit more generous. Interestingly a foodie friend really liked the Rosine because it complemented without dominating quite subtly flavoured meat dishes.
Same applies to any region, country, grape or stye.
But one can only try so many wines, and wine selection is not a life and death issue, so I am sure unfair extrapolation happens quite a lot.
I know exactly what you mean. At the table I would have no hesitation offering La Rosine (indeed having a bottle with duck confit tonight) but like you would choose something a little more ‘generous’ if choosing a wine as an introduction to a particular region. It was sometimes argued that it was better with burgundy to start at the top of the hierarchy and work down - these days not really a financially viable option…