EXQUISITE: 2007 Côtes du Rhône, J.L. Chave “Mon Coeur.” Available three months ago for $16.99/bottle, now difficult to find for less than $19.95. Yes, it’s worth it.

This is one of the best wines we’ve ever had, and it’s my Number One wine of the year so far. With a half-case under our belts since my birthday last year, it has become our reliable go-to for a special-occasion wine. We recommend that you obtain this now—it is increasing in price and becoming more difficult to find. (Only 3,000 cases were imported.) The best online price we could find today was $19.95/bottle (up $3/bottle from a month ago). Yes, it’s worth it.

We first enjoyed “Mon Coeur” (translated “my heart”) at Eola Wine Company in Orlando in December 2010. We enjoyed a flight of Oregon Pinot Noir, too, and some other delectables, but when I tasted this big boy, I said, “Oh, my GOD!” and, after the second sip, “This is totally flowers!” Lilacs, violets, beautifulness.

When we tried our first bottle at home, my sweetheart opened the bottle and the floral aroma filled the room, along with something slightly sexual—a light musk, or a mare in heat a paddock away. This description might be slightly disturbing, but the effect is captivating. One of the challenges of a wine snob is to “Name That Smell!” and it isn’t always as easy as it might seem. (I swear to you that I tasted a wine once that amused me to no end because it reminded me of those orange-colored, marshmallow-ish, chemical-ish candy circus peanuts!)

So, back to the 2007 Chave “Mon Coeur.” This is a fabulous wine. The aroma matches the taste, with flowers being the first impression along with the huge yet smooth character of the wine. It stands up to anything food-wise we’ve ever prepared, including the delightful and very spicy chicken Tom Ka Gai soup we enjoyed recently along with gently sautéed wild-caught cod. Get this: nothing overpowered anything else!

The Chave family has been making wine since before Columbus set foot in America. This is the lowest-priced wine in their lineup. Other J.L. Chave wines are priced in the hundreds of dollars. This is an exquisite wine to drink alone or to pair with literally anything. And don’t forget to swish and chew! :-)

Footnote: We tried the 2009 and it isn’t nearly as good as the 2007. Get it while you can.

WHAT OTHER REVIEWERS HAVE TO SAY:

WINE ADVOCATE: The 2007 Cotes du Rhone Mon Coeur is sensational, offering superb purity, texture, and richness. It should drink well for 5-7 years.

BOTTLEROCKET: Jean-Louis Chave respects tradition yet embraces innovation. He has an MBA from U of Hartford, an American wife and is the scion of one of the oldest family owned domaines in France, passed from father to son since 1481. Mon Coeur is sourced from 4 organically farmed estates, each lot vinified and aged separately, in either oak or cement, for 12-18 months. Explicit, elaborate and delicious.

SIMON FIELD MW, BBR BUYER: Sourced from the very best villages in the Southern Rhône, namely Valréas, Vinsobres and Rasteau, this is a fantastic Côtes du Rhône, self-evidently punching above its putative weight. This is more than confirmed by the palate; sweet Grenache at the core but with plenty of Syrah colour and grip lending support. Jean Louis spends a lot of time on this cuvée, the benefit of which should soon become abundantly clear.

JOSH RAYNOLDS: Component #1, from Rasteau, 100% syrah: Intensely spicy scents of black raspberry, cassis and cracked pepper. Tangy and finely etched dark berry and bitter cherry flavors show very good depth. Component #2, also from Rasteau, 100% grenache: Lively raspberry and baking spice aromas are complicated by fresh flowers and minerals. The palate shows energetic red fruit and candied floral flavors and no obvious tannins. Very sexy. Component #3, from Cairanne: Spicy licorice and cherry skin scents, with a subtle floral undertone. Deeper on the palate, with sweet blueberry and candied licorice qualities. Component #4, from Vinsobres: Smoky red berries, herbs and dried flowers on the nose. Juicy red fruits on the palate, with dusty tannins adding grip. “This component really brings the southern character,” Chave said. The ultimate blend should be a superb example of Cotes du Rhone, with plenty of spicy red fruit and herbal character, not to mention structure.

P.S.: I am not normally very enthusiastic about French wines. Generally I think they are too serious (austere), just as Italian wines tend to be a little bitter. This wine is just fabulous. It reminds me of John Travolta in “Phenomenon” when I forgave him for all the cheesy and steely roles he played before.

Don’t forget to swish and chew! :-)

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One Response to EXQUISITE: 2007 Côtes du Rhône, J.L. Chave “Mon Coeur.” Available three months ago for $16.99/bottle, now difficult to find for less than $19.95. Yes, it’s worth it.

  1. Updates:

    1. We tried the 2009 “Mon Coeur.” It wasn’t as good as the 2007.

    2. Last night, we sampled another Chave product: Yann Chave’s 2009 Hermitage. It was a little young (and less floral, dang it) but displayed the same beautiful style of wine-making. This family has been making wine for 500 years. That’s a lot of experience and a lot of genetic programming! The Hermitage is available for $22 and up, usually around $25, so it doesn’t qualify for this blog. (The 2007 “Mon Coeur” was a little better anyway.)

    3. Today, I ordered the last two known remaining bottles of the 2007 “Mon Coeur” in the United States. Wow. Sad face.

    4. We’ll order a 2008 soon and let you know what we think.

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