For my company’s holiday party charity raffle I donated hosting a horizontal wine tasting at my home.   The time had come to actually put charity into action.  12 people joined me last Saturday to hopefully get a little wine education while also enjoying a tasting along with expertly paired cheeses purchased from American Provisions.

So what is a horizontal wine tasting?  Well, firstly it’s not about drinking wine lying down even though a few did ask me that question in all seriousness.  A horizontal wine tasting is where you taste wines of the same grape, same year, same region but different wineries.  When doing a horizontal tasting, keeping the same wine type and wine region will help to emphasize the differences in winery and vintner styles.  For my tasting I picked wines of the Rhone Valley focusing on the Côtes du Rhône region and one Chateauneuf du Pape to taste a higher price point wine (about 100 miles away) all from the same 2013 vintage. 

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Côtes du Rhône Wines

The wines I picked were all red blends, which has the dominant grapes of Grenache a seriously fruity grape, Syrah which brings in a spice, Carignan, which brings in the tannins and the Cinsault, which adds softness to the wine.  It is quite extraordinary to do a tasting of wines from different wine makers and seeing how each one interprets the grapes into their wine making process.  Some were very fruity, some spicy and all were great, especially considering the price point. 

Here are the wines we tasted. 

Horizontal Wine Tasting

Côtes du Rhône Horizontal Wine Tasting

Le Plan des Moines ‘La Borde’ Côtes-du-Rhône 2013

Deep garnet. Delicate nose of bright red berries, black currant and notes of fresh cedar. Aromatic and lingering with fine and fleshy tannins leading to a menthol-like finish.  Varietal: 60% Grenache – 40% Carignan

Domaine La Vitalis Côtes-du-Rhône 2013

Lots of fruit and power, and a round and silky, a beautiful aromatic complexity in a velvet glove.  Varietal: Grenache 60% – Syrah 20% – Carignan 10% – Cinsault 5% – Mourvèdre 5%

Moillard “Les Violettes” Côtes-du-Rhône 2013

Medium-bodied, dry. Bright violet notes on the nose, and a palate of black fruit and red berries. The finish is balanced in tannin and acidity.  VarietalSyrah 55% – Grenache 35%- Mourvèdre 5% – Cinsault 5%

Roger Perin Chateauneuf du Pape 2013

Fresh, soft, sweet, kirsch and plum notes move to a soft, forward, slightly drying, medium bodied, red berry finish. The wine was made from a blend of.  Varietal:  Grenache 75% – Syrah 17% – Mourvedre 8%.

While I would say all were enjoyed two stood out as favorites of the evening.  The Domaine La Vitales and the Roger Perin Chateauneuf du Pape of which I had not a single drop left over just for me :(. 

A little education, wine drinking, eating cheese and a great time.  This is a super way to get together with friends or colleagues and do something a little different.  I know I had a fab time.  You also do not need to be any sort of wine expert to do this, just be a little wine enthusiastic!

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A great evening

Thank you to Social Wines for helping me source this awesome selection.