When you’re choosing wines from overseas – and the best values often come from Spain, South America, southern France and elsewhere – the name on the back of the label is often as important the one on the front. And this evening at Paul’s of Chevy Chase, you have a rare opportunity to taste through eight different wines – most of them mid-priced, for special occasions rather than everyday drinking for most of us – from one of the very best importers of value wines.
Wines from Kysela Pere et Fils, Ltd of Winchester, VA, are sprinkled all over our Top 5 Value Wines lists. From the delicious $7 white from Languedoc, Picpoul de Pinet Cave de Pomerols, and $10 Domaine de Coussergues among our Top 5 French white wine values to both the Castelmaure Col des Vents Corbières and the Château de Ségriès Cotes du Rhône on our Top 5 French red wine values list to the wonderfully consistent Montebuena Rioja featured among our Top 5 Spanish red wine values, Fran Kysela brings us a wide array of consistently good yet inexpensive wines.
There is one $13 wine to be poured tonight that does qualify as a consistently great value worthy of stocking up on. And the best part is that you can try it before you buy. We recommended the 2010 Domaine Grand Veneur Cotes du Rhone Reserve when it was first hitting the market last December and was on sale locally for $12 to $15 a bottle.
Find this Grand Veneur Reserve online or at a wine shop near you nationwide.
The world’s most influential wine critic, Robert Parker, scored it 91 points when he first reviewed it in the June 2010 issue of Wine Advocate. Though he only gave it 90 points in his subsequent review last June, he still called it, “outstanding. … and certainly far deeper and more concentrated than one has any reason to expect from a wine that sells for $15 (the taste is more like one for $35 to $50).”
A blend of 70 percent grenache, 20 percent syrah and 10 percent cinsault, this rich red is medium to full-bodied, according to Parker, who described it as, “a winner that will drink well for 4-5 years.
“Dense purple, with notes of roasted meats, black raspberries, blackberries, licorice and lavender, this wine is just terrific.”
The utilitarian reason to head to Paul’s in Friendship Heights tonight is to taste and potentially stock up on the Grand Veneur. But the real fun will be tasting the higher-priced Kysela wines, and maybe picking something up for a special occasion or as a gift for a wine loving friend or loved one.
Also on the tasting table will be three white wines from the Loire Valley in France, an $18 sparkling chenin blanc from Vouvray, a $19 Sancerre that Parker describes as, “quite dry but surprisingly plush,” and a $16 drier style of Vouvray, all of which earned 90 points from Parker. If you find you enjoy whites that Parker scores well, you might find something to splurge on here (or just enjoy tasting them).
The one wine not from France at the Paul’s tasting is also one of the most expensive. The 2005 Bodegas Valsacro Diorofrom Spain’s famed Rioja region is a big, brooding red that earned an identical 92 points from three of the popular wine publications, Wine Advocate, Wine Enthusiast and Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar.
On sale at Paul’s for $21.99 a bottle, you very well may find that you like it enough to splurge on a bottle, but don’t be fooled by Paul’s reprinting Parker’s estimated release price of $57 a bottle. Valsacro Dioro is available at Total Wine stores in Virginia and their sister stores in Maryland, Corridor Wine & Spirits in Laurel and Beltway Fine Wine in Towson for$19.99 a bottle every day.
Three more Rhône Valley reds round out the tasting, two $19 wines from Domaine Grand Veneur and Domaine de la Mordoree and the $27 Cotes du Rhone from Chateau de Segries, makers of our favorite $9 to $10 CdR.
All in all, well worth battling the Friday evening traffic around Friendship heights – luckily Paul’s has its own small, off-street parking lot. But prepare yourself. You may not come out of this free tasting with your wine budget in tact.
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