White wines from France’s Rhone region aren’t particularly well known and, at least in this country, don’t get all that much respect. You don’t see many of them on store shelves or restaurant wine lists, and you don’t see many of them reviewed, for that matter.
Which is a shame, given that white Rhones are usually different and interesting, and that’s something I’m always looking for. The Belleruche ($12, purchased, available at Spec’s), from one of the Rhone’s largest producers, has always been one of my favorite wines for just that reason. When I can find it, of course.
This is a previous vintage, and the extra year of bottle age has given the wine, a blend of grenache blanc, clairette and bourboulenc, a little more character. There is lots of white pepper, some oiliness and just a hint of a green fruit, like lime or apple. This is a not a white wine for people who need something fruit forward, like sauvignon blanc or chardonnay, but it’s not supposed to be.
And don’t worry that you haven’t heard of the grapes used to make it — almost no one who isn’t in the wine business has heard of them, either. Which is another reason why the wine is so interesting, and that’s three more grapes for your Wine Century Club effort. Chill this and drink it on its own or with something like goat cheese; roast pork with apples would be terrific, too.