90 Points, reviewed by Michael Rockich, Appellations Ten
We are going to scrutinize a Rhone wine in this review, always one of my favorite areas. I once wrote an article calling Rhone-style wines fun-wines, associating them with al fresco events. It’s true Rhone-style wines brighten up outdoor occasions, but I enjoyed this wine indoors and it was splendid. Not to forget that Rhone-style wines can be contemplative in character also. The wine we are reviewing here is a 2018 La Jassine Cote-du-Rhône Villages by Bieler Père et Fils.
New York City based Charles Bieler is recognized for his innovation in the wine industry. One of his major contributions is bringing rosé to the market’s attention in the USA. Charles continues to be a robust presence in the beverage world with his numerous endeavors which include the Three Thieves project which in partnership with Trinchero Family Estates provides user-friendly versions of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay, the Gotham Project, and Bieler Père et Fils wines La Jassine, Sabine Aix-en-Provence Rosé, and Bandol Rosé. All this while being the current class leader in wine on tap.
Charles’ Father, Philippe Bieler, was making wine in Provence in the early 1990s founding Chateau Routas in Coteaux Varois. Charles and his Sister Mira founded Bieler Père et Fils the same year they sold Routas.
The Côtes du Rhône Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée is an AOC in southeast France comprising nearly 85,000 ha. Within the Côtes du Rhône lies Côtes du Rhône Villages approaching 8,000 ha of planted vines. Côtes du Rhône Villages, comprised of 18 individual communes, carries added prestige due to the smaller area and therefore more precise specification of vineyard location, instead of anywhere in the entire Côtes du Rhône AOC.
Charles sources the grapes for La Jassine from an area noted for high quality wines, the Rhone’s left-bank. The specific vineyard lies in one of the 18 specified “Village” communes on the southern Rhône’s east side, and is farmed and owned by the Lavau family in the Village of Valréas,. This is a hilly location facing North and West which tends to prevent sunburn on the grapes, and provides cooler nights with a longer, gentler ripening season.
La Jassine employed native yeast in a very-slow fermentation taking 30 days on the skins in concrete vessels. A few lots included the stems to bring savory and spicy notes to the wine. Élevage was in new French oak for about five percent of the production.
The blend, approaching 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, is a traditional combination of Rhone grapes. Grenache is the lighter of the partners bringing red berries, dried fruit, and spice to the marriage, while the Syrah contributes rich black plum, dark berries, and a hint of tar.
A beauty sparkling in brilliant crimson-red-ruby with numerous tears descending the glass! Aromatics of red bramble-berries, blackberry compote, and garrigue with notes of cedar, redwood, dried oak, sagebrush, dried cherries and ripe blackberries. In the mouth, dark berries, rhubarb pie, a note of tar, pomegranate, dried cranberry, and fig jam. Rocket fuel! Delivers an intense bright, flavor profile. Juicy! I suggest slightly chilling this exotic wine for serving to about 50 degrees F. That’s about five degrees F under typical cellar temperature. Soft tannins and good balance with alcohol dominating the components at 15.3%.
I supposed the animation in the Rhone blend should pair well with my rotisserie chicken, which I generously seasoned with Meyer lemon sections, rosemary, slices of garlic cloves, all topped by a dash of soy sauce. The full bill of fare included accompaniments of sautéed button mushrooms and thinly sliced red organic potatoes sautéed in a herb – spice mix. It was a proper match, with the multiple high points of the wine and cuisine complimenting and contrasting with each other. Imported by Trinchero Family Estates, Bieler Père et Fils. About $16.
A sample for review.
Photo credit Bieler Père et Fils.