210 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 76 PART 2 MARCH 2018
Antinori Tignanello #705442 $93
Ornellaia #359687 $205
Sassiacaia #145383 $206
Arcanum Il Fauno 2012 #694216 $38
This is the “second wine” from noted Tuscan producer
Arcanum. It captured 93 points from Wine Spectator and was
#19 on the same publication’s list of Top 100 Wines of 2016, if
that means anything. The 2012 vintage is a blend of fortyeight
per cent Merlot, twenty-seven per cent Cabernet Franc,
twenty-two per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and three per cent
Petit Verdot. We noted stewed prunes, raspberries and wood
smoke on the nose. On the palate were round mouthfuls of
black cherries with a hint of rosemary, and a long satisfying finish of black
pepper and charcoal. This is a very well-crafted wine for the price.
This is an easy region from which to choose high and low examples,
because there is so much wine produced in the Rhône, and at a great range
of price points. The hierarchy of appellations in the Rhône Valley is as
1. at the entry level, wines designated “Côtes du Rhône”;
2. at the next level, wines from one of 95 communes designated “Côtes
du Rhône Villages”, without any name of the place added;
3. then, wines designated “Côtes du Rhône Villages”, with the name of
the commune added, such as “Côtes du Rhône Villages Rasteau”;
4. any one of 13 crus designated simply by their specific geographically
localized appellation, such as “Côte-Rôtie”, “Crozes-Hermitage”,
“Gigondas” or “Vacqueyras”.
The predominant varietal of the northern Rhône is Syrah, a dark-skinned
grape that produces full-bodied wine of richness and depth. Syrah-based
wines evoke flavours of dark berry and peppery spice. The wines of the
southern Rhône, such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape, are made predominantly
from the Grenache grape, and are usually combined with several other varietals.
Grenache fruit is lighter than Syrah, producing flavours of red fruit.