Davergne Ranvier 2011
This bottle is brought to the masses by Davergne Ranvier (or François Dauvergne & Jean-François RANVIER, more formally), a wonderful and rapidly up-and-coming wine duo from the Luberon appellation (an appellation is a region that strictly adheres to the French wine laws of the area, including regional boundaries as well as growing and winery practices) in the southern part of one of my favorite regions in the world: Côtes du Rhône. The Luberon region – as it relates to wine – was established in 1988 and is situated near the Luberon National Park and about 20 miles North of the Mediterranean coast. The region’s hills, which mostly face the South and pitch ever so slightly towards the Mediterranean Sea, enjoy long, warm days and atypical cooler nights.
My aforementioned love of wines from the Rhône region led me to believe that I would fully enjoy this bottle. And at $10 retail, I was anticipating a great value wine. Many French red wines blend three grapes: Grenache, Syrah, and Merlot. This bottle being only Grenache and Syrah, I was piqued about the journey on to which I was about to embark.
This very typical 750 ml bottle has a clean, ecru label displaying the classy Davergne Ranvier brand and a standout bronze foil. After removing the foil, I noticed that the cork was a plastic cork. Now, I’m typically a purist when it comes to cork. I love the classic corkwood, but plastic corks don’t ever dissuade me. In fact, with the rising cost of corkwood (around €1.00 per real cork), using plastic or even aluminum screw caps can keep overhead low, production high, and wine makers focusing on great product rather than a seemingly insignificant corking experience. The plastic cork, however, doesn’t absorb the wine as corkwood does, allowing you to gauge the color and cork saturation (an experience I do quite like). Enough talk; let’s get to it, shall we?
The first, four-ounce pour showed the wine had strong legs (an indication of a slightly higher alcohol content. No arguments there!). Dry soil and plum were the most noticeable scents both before and after swirling the glass for a couple of minutes. Younger wines generally don’t open up quite as much as older wines that have been bottled up for years or even decades more.
The first sip packed an unexpected tart punch of bright red fruit (think almost-ripe strawberries) and a medium amount of dryness. After a few ensuing sips, a floral (mostly rose petal) flavor started to quickly develop. This may sound weird to non-wine drinkers, but the floral taste was reminiscent of how a dryer sheet smells, which in theory sounds bad, but in drinking is fantastic!
About halfway through the first glass, the tartness and brightness subsided a little giving way to the most meager hints of saltiness and darker fruits. This was a much more balanced taste from the first half of the glass and the dryness on the tongue was welcomingly soothed by a clean, smooth finish.
Into the second glass, noticeable musty flavors arose. When I use the term “musty” please don’t think about how your high school locker room smelled (that’s disgusting). Rather, think of the inside of an old barn on the heels of a summer afternoon rain (much better than that locker room you were thinking of).
After the second glass, I corked the bottle and called it a night. The next day, not much had changed in terms of flavor or aroma with the exception of a meager acidity on the palate. This wine definitely held its own after nearly 24 hours.
On it’s own, this wine is highly enjoyable. The initial unexpected tartness did surprise me, but only a few sips later, this homely girl had matured quickly into a beautiful lady. Is this a wine for everyday drinking? You bet your bottom dollar it is! And at it’s $10-12 retail price point, you may consider picking up a case. Insider’s note: most wine retailers will discount the purchase of a case by 10-15%.
While I didn’t pair this wine with food, it went wonderfully with the tunes of French chanteuse, Brigitte Fontaine. A truly French experience, to be sure. Personally, if I were pairing this with food, I’d lean towards food from the grill. I could see this going extremely well with a cheeseburger and salted, sweet potato fries.