Sunday, December 19, 2010

Scent of a Wine: Garrigue (Les Sauvageonne: Les Ruffes)

It's amazing how much your mood can affect how you perceive a wine.  I was rather tired all day because of some relatively heavy drinking the night earlier.  When I first opened the wine I was still tired, and that is pretty much how the wine tasted: tired and boring.  As I drank a little more and did a little bit of research on the wine my energy levels went up and the wine started to taste better and better.  Rather than just the one flavour of pepper the wine started to display a cornucopia of beautiful flavours.

I don't believe that a person can fully grasp the aroma and flavour of a wine with just a couple sips.  There is too much that can distort your view, to fully appreciate a wine at least one or two full glasses are needed. Unfortunately in the wine industry people tend to taste a wine in one or two sips and then move on.  One or two sips may be enough for the bold in your face wines but it leaves the rest behind.  Do movie critics judge a movie by the first 10 minutes?  Maybe, but hopefully they have the courtesy to go on watching till the end if they plan on reviewing it.

It is unfair to judge a wine in one or two sips and I assure you, to the protest of my liver, I always do my best to finish off the bottle to make sure my judgement is acute.  Don't let your mood get in the way of enjoying a good wine, if you are tired go for a cheap but decent wine, crack into the good stuff when you have the energy to appreciate it.  Luckily for me my energy levels improved, I went from drinking a mediocre wine to a fine wine indeed and here it is...

Producer: La Sauvageonne
Wine: Les Ruffes
Region: Coteaux du Languedoc, France
Grapes: Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault
Vintage: 2006
Alc: 13.5%
Price: $23

Notes:  The aroma of this wine is beautiful displaying: raspberry, blackberry, pepper, leather and garrigue(more on that below).  The flavours are pretty similar: raspberry, cherry, pepper, leather, garrigue, and a slight saltiness.  The wine is relatively light in body and the flavours are soft and delicate but quite pleasant this wine is Very Nice!  Be aware the pepper is very prominent in this wine, if you don't like peppery wine avoid this one.

Garrigue: a descriptor for pompous wine snobs.
Yes garrigue is a strange term most people aren't familiar with.  Garrigue refers to a quality in the air of the Languedoc region.  It's basically an easier way of saying a wine has a sort of earthy, flowery, herbyness to it.  Garrigue is a handy word when you know you smell or taste something along those lines but can't quite put your finger on it, sometimes vague words are important.  If you ever want to come off as pretentious as hell while drinking wine remember this word.


  1. You have hit the nail on the head, Mush! I recently tried a Viognier, but didn't come at it on its own terms. I had a strict idea of how I wanted it to taste, and no wonder I was disappointed! Luckily, when I went back to the bottle (happens often enough, I'll admit!) without expectations, I actually came away with a much better impression of the wine. It was delish. I just had to change my 'tude a bit.

  2. It goes both ways too though, I started out with a wine the other night that I thought was awesome, I had one last glass and realized while the wine was nice it wasn't nearly amazing as I had initially thought. That's one problem I have with rating wine at all it's so subjective and context dependent but I suppose it is helpful to a certain degree.