belleruche_blanc.jpgI’m sitting here drinking a delicious glass of 2006 Chateau St. Jean Robert Young Chardonnay. It’s rich, with plenty of vanilla and nutmeg, perfect as a nightcap without food, kinda like dessert. I have no complaints, except: why oh why am I falling back on chardonnay? Because yesterday — in good part because I’m preparing for an upcoming meeting of the Ladies Tasting Society, where we’re focusing on whites from the Rhône region in France.
 
I ordered a Chapoutier Côtes du Rhône blanc Belleruche ($10 per glass at the Fairmont in Santa Monica, $11 retail), and totally loved it.
 
Why? Click here to discover:
 
First of all, the Côtes du Rhône was vitalizing, rather than tiring. That’s important, because I drank it (I confess) before noon, while I was watching the turtles in the fountain at the Fairmont in Santa Monica. The sun was out, there was a nice ocean breeze, and although we weren’t noshing I felt like I wanted something lighter and fresher. And this Chapoutier was perfect. It smelled of melons, lemons, and honeysuckle flowers. It tasted like a summer fruit salad of honeydew melon, quince, kiwi, a tiny bit of clove, and maybe a note of stone, like granite. Even if it didn’t have the excellent, cleansing finish that it does, this Côtes du Rhône would have put my day on the right footing, as it did.
 
Oh, and can I revisit the fact that the Chapoutier costs about $11 retail? That sure is a break, compared to the $25 that the Chateau St. Jean “Robert Young Vineyard” will set you back. I’m not saying that the latter isn’t good; it’s just that, especially if you want something that will bring you up, no down, think the South of France.