When I hear “Ventoux” my first thought is always the Tour de France stage, rather than the appellation. Unlike most wines, I get to see the slopes where this wine is grown on TV every year, and it goes past much slower than most Tour de France countryside. The Mont Ventoux stage is brutal, and when the riders get to the top of the mountain there’s no wine, and certainly no shady vineyard to rest in, it’s a barren moonscape.
Fortunately the grapes are grown down in the foothills, where the Mistral wind isn’t so fierce and there’s shade to be had, but it’s still hot in the summer and the wines tend to have that cooked Cote du Rhone feel about them.
This Famille Perrin Cotes du Ventoux from Laithwaites looked a bit cooked, it was a dark aubergine colour. It smelled fruity though, with cherries and blackberries suggesting something like a Spanish Rioja. It didn’t taste like Rioja though. The fruit was cooked together with a bit of raspberry, but more of a crumble flavour with everything jumbled together and baked. There was a hint of peppery spice too, giving it a bit of zip.
The alcohol level was in the medium range and the tannins soft and ripe, it was an easy drinking wine, and a second glass didn’t seem like over indulgence. I love wines that have a real sense of place, and this one put me in mind of hot, painful days of cycling, as well as happy relaxed summer afternoons watching the professionals make it look easy on TV.