The Food Maven Diary
Wine Buy -- Chateau La Roque
Those of you who love big, powerful red wines should take great pleasure in this week's Wine Buy, selected by Carol Berman.
Chateau La Roque 1996 is a blend of Syrah and Mauvedre grapes from Coteaux de Languedoc in southwestern France, and it has a big bouquet, rich with berry notes balanced by leathery aromas, a very long finish – meaning the taste lingers on your palate and the aromas in your nose – and a solid structure of tannin and acid.
The so-called structure not only makes it seem much grander than its price – only about $9.99 – but will keep it youthful for years to come. That means it is a good wine to buy in bulk keep for future drinking. You should know that most wine merchants will give a 10 percent discount on case purchases.
Chateau La Roque is a very old estate – Carol says the first grapes may have been planted as early as in the 1200s – that is now owned by Jacque Boutin. His name is very small on the front label, but you will see the words Pic Saint Loup directly under the chateau name. Pic Saint Loup is the area of the Languedoc from which the wine comes. It is imported by Kermit Lynch and distributed by Winebow, both of which are noted on the back label. If your wine merchant doesn't carry the wine, give him or her all this information and they can easily order it.
By the way, the 1996 is drinking well now, although it is still young. You should decant it to aerate it, or at least pour it into a large glass well before starting to drink it, then keep swirling the wine to, as they say, "open it up." Carol Berman opened a bottle one night and finished it the next and said it had, indeed, improved. The 1997 should be slipping into the market soon, so buy 1996 while you can.