Domaine des Senechaux Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2010
If you haven't already figured it out, many things about wine get me really excited. One of the top instances is unexpected wines. I'm talking about reds from a predominantly white wine region, uncommon grapes, atypical methods of winemaking, so on and so forth. While both the red and white grape varieties of the Northern and Southern Rhone have been drilled into my head, many people tend to think of the Rhone Valley as a red wine region, and for good reason: the Southern Rhone is responsible for approximately 95% of all production in the Rhone Valley and only about 5% of this majority are white wines. The grapes that you'll find in a white wine from the Southern Rhone will consist of a blend of any of these varieties: Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, and Bourboulenc, while the Northern Rhone produces a blend of the first two or single varietal Viognier.
You can generally expect white wines from the Rhone Valley to be full bodied with a low to medium acidity, show flavors of stone fruits like apricot, along with some floral and spice notes. The region is considerably warm for growing white grapes, so the grapes will reach full sugar ripeness, which leads to a full bodied wine with a lower acidity and a higher level of alcohol.
I busted the Domaine des Senechaux Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc out of my cellar for this post. Chateauneuf-du-Pape is the largest subregion (called "cru" in the Rhone Valley) of the Southern Rhone. The white grapes permitted in this specific area are Clairette, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, and Bourboulenc and this wine is a blend of all 4. The wine was full bodied with a medium acidity and it had a nice silky texture. It showed notes of clover, lemon, mango, apricot, hazelnut, and a stony minerality. Pretty tasty and well balanced! It's a really nice example of a white Rhone wine.
Domaine des Senechaux Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2010: Thumbs up. $50 - $60