The Ventoux is a wine region in the southeastern part of the Rhône valley and is generally considered as part of the larger départment Vaucluse. The region was formerly known as the Côtes du Ventoux, but is now simply known as the Ventoux. The wines are generally easy-drinking in style with a rustic character. The principal geographic element of the region is Mont Ventoux, which is not particularly high as summits go. However, the name Ventoux derives from the French term venteux, meaning “windy.” And windy it is… for more than 200 days a year the wind averages speeds in excess of 50 mile per hour, with high speeds clocked at over 200 miles per hour… Yeah, that’s a formula for perpetual “bad hair…”
Despite these challenging conditions, enterprising vignerons plant vineyards on the foothills of Mont Ventoux and swear that the wind and weather contributes to the strength of the grapes pulled from their plots of land.
Economically, a lot of producers choose to sell to the more popular producer/négociant houses to maximize their return on investment. The Perrin family, the house of Jaboulet and the Frère Delas are large investors in the Ventoux with really stunning results. Most of these wines are meant for current consumption and are perfect for summer, grilled fair.
Recently I picked up the 2011 Frère Delas Ventoux, looking for a ripe, approachable summer red and I have to say I was not disappointed. The wine is predominantly Grenache, with some Syrah in the blend. The lack of black pepper and structure argues for more Grenache than Syrah, which is fine by me. The wine is NOT for aging and it is simply gulpable…
My tasting notes:
Ripe, jammy nose with bright fresh cherries, violets and dried herb hints. Medium-bodied with moderate acidity and soft, well-integrated tannin – good balance. Juicy palate with fresh, red berry fruit- easy drinking to a fault. Moderate length – smooth. Drinking well – not for aging. Great value!
At an average price of $9.99 per bottle, this is a very strong value.