Saturday, September 19, 2020


This month Cam is hosting the #winophiles exploration of Côtes du Rhône wines. It is a very open theme with the choice of any Côtes du Rhône wine of our liking. Côtes du Rhône AOC is  the second largest appellation in France and includes rosé, sparkling, red, white, dessert, and even orange skin-contact wines. With such a vast region to play in, and a large number of grape varietals allowed, we've got a great variety of wines and some food pairings in the line-up this month. Check out the wines, tastings, pairings, musings... below. And then come join us on Twitter on Saturday, 19 September at 8 AM PST under #winophiles to chat to everyone about their thoughts on the AOC, the wines, and their wine picks!

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  • Rhone Roam #3: Crozes-Hermitage Is Syrah, Condrieu Equals Viognier Paired with Fall Fish by Wine Predator

Côtes du Rhône wines come in three quality levels: Côtes du Rhône, Côtes du Rhône Villages, and Côtes du Rhône Villages (named village). Although the named village wines are highest quality of the three levels, no matter which Côtes du Rhône you pick, the wines are versatile, wallet-friendly, and a foodie's dream since they are very food-friendly. I wanted to compare three reds - one Côtes du Rhône and two named village wines, paired with herb-crusted lamb chops and roasted potatoes. 


All good things, it seems, begin in the shadow of impending doom. Domaine de Cabasse was a highly regarded producer making wines from the Rhône villages of Sablet, Gigondas and Séguret. In 2012 the family decided to sell their property - the family with the exception of one family member who couldn't bear to see it go. Nicolas Haeni scraped together money, but managed enough to afford only the Séguret vineyard which he purchased and made the focus of his new project, "Malmont".

Nicolas Haeni is a young winemaker who made the first Malmont wines in 2013. The winery is set on steep rocky soil making all aspects of vineyards management including winemaking a challenge and a labour of love. The winery follows the principles of organic and bio-dynamic farming with a special focus on balanced soil nutrition. No synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides are used in the vineyard, and s
ince 2018 Domaine Malmont is officially in conversion to organic agriculture.

According to the winery: "Our winemaking aims at translating in the most accurate way the great fruit we harvest in the terroir of Malmont. Hence our interventions are reduced to a strict minimum. We use wild yeast to ferment and very little sulfites. No other additives than sulfites enter our winemaking process."

2017 Malmont Côtes du Rhône
13% ABV | SRP $13
60% Syrah, 40% Grenache

Destemmed grapes are allowed a 12 day maceration followed by spontaneous fermentation then aged on fine lees in tank.


Blackberries, pepper, faint geranium, not too complex

Similar to nose: ripe blackberries, very present black pepper, not too complex. A refreshing juicy acidity, somewhat jagged-edged tannins, a medium body, with a medium finish. The wine was a bit austere just out of the bottle but opened up and softened a bit as it sat in the glass. Overall it needs a rest in the bottle - I think it would be great starting in about 3 years, ~2023 or so although it is not complex enough to go very long in the bottle.

2017 Malmont Côtes du Rhône Villages Rouge Séguret
13.5% ABV | SRP $17
70% Syrah, 30% Grenache

Destemmed grapes are allowed a 20 day maceration followed by spontaneous fermentation then aged on fine lees. 
Fermentation, maceration, and aging are done in a truncated cone-shaped French oak vat.

Medium Ruby

Black cherry, violets, black and white pepper

Similar to nose: Black cherry, violets, black and white pepper. Juicy acidity, plush tannins, medium+ body, long finish. This wine was superb out of the bottle and as it opened up. It can certainly be had now, and it would also be terrific in 2-3 years.

Ferraton Père et Fils Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu
14% ABV | SRP $15
Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan

Limestone gravel and large pebble soil from vast alluvial terraces (Riss), 80 to 150 m above Aygues and Ouvèze rivers.

Destemmed grapes are pressed and vinified in concrete vats. Vinification is traditional with daily punching down and controlled temperature. Aged in vats.

Medium Garnet

Mainly black fruit: blackberry and blackcurrant, a hint of wet earth

Similar to nose: mainly black fruit but also a slight bit of white pepper and a meaty savouriness on the palate. Juicy acidity, restrained velvety tannins, medium+ body, long finish. This wine was superb out of the bottle and as it opened up. Similar to the previous Séguret, this wine can also be had now or in 2+ years.

We paired all of the wines with herb-crusted  lamb chops and roasted fingerling potatoes. All three wines were splendid with the food. Lamb chops with classic French herbs - savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and oregano - in my opinion, are just the perfect thing to pair with the nuanced red blends of the Côtes du Rhône.


  1. We LOVE lamb in our household. I will have to get my hands on more CDR wines to give your pairing a try. Thanks for joining the fun this month.

  2. How brave of Nicolas to save this piece of property. With wine, that is never easy, you must wait before you have bottles to sell and as you mention, these wines must age.
    Your pairing looks delicious.

  3. The lamb looks fantastic and all three wines sound wonderful. Great idea to compare quality levels. I loved the story of Domaine Malmont, but couldn’t help hoping that your statement “ All good things, it seems, begin in the shadow of impending doom” proves prophetic for 2020 in general as well.

  4. Those lamb chops sound gorgeous!

  5. Love the backstory of the winemaker who couldn't bear to see the property go. Comparisons are such fun, right? Herby lamb chops sound just right for these CdR wines.