First up is a rare creature in the Northern Rhône, a white wine. M. Sorrel Crozes-Hermitage Blanc 2010 is a 50/50 blend of Marsanne and Rousanne, a yellow gold beauty with an exotic, honeyed perfume, and aromas of grass and stone. This is an elegant, aromatic wine, distinguished in its body and acidity. Served with chicken salad in a lettuce cup (to make it easier to hand out to the crowd), topped with crunchy, roasted chicken skin, there is an equal purity and depth of flavor, sip of a round, full wine and bite of luscious chicken salad.
Next, Jean Louis Chave “Mon Coeur” Côtes du Rhône 2010 is a Grenache/Syrah blend. The Chave family, an important producer in the Northern Rhône, has been making wine for over 500 years. In their desire to offer a value-priced wine that was delicious, they stepped out of their area, and bought grapes from the Southern Rhône, in areas where the fruit is not as typically jammy and ripe. This medium-bodied wine is more in the style of a Northern Rhône wine, with aromas and flavors of black cherry, black currant, licorice, meat, with a touch of pepper. Cured sablefish (black cod) on a bagel with cream cheese, dressed with onion, olive oil, pepper, and a drizzle of lemon juice accompanied the wine. At this point, Storefront Deli’s resident bread maker, Pete Scherer, joined the crowd, accepting kudos for his mastery of the dough.
Third, another example of Southern Rhône wine more like the North, the Eric Texier Domaine de Pergaud “Vieille Serine” St-Julien-en-Saint-Alban Côtes du Rhône 2010 is 100% Syrah. This is the first year this wine was made, farmed by a Protestant religious order, from 70-year-old vines, grown in a tiny plot of land, a natural wine with no chemicals used in the vineyard and minimal sulphur in the winery. Say “Amen” to a refined, elegant wine, deep black cherry and raspberry fruit with some peppery notes, and a tinge of mineral. Storefront Deli paired an abbreviated version of their Mousa sandwich, a sub sandwich to the nth degree, made with housemade cold cuts (goat, veal, pork, beef, and yes, pig’s head, remember the whole animal philosophy of Storefront Deli), pickled chili peppers, and drizzled with Italian dressing. A very nice take on a sub!
Finally, my favorite of the tasting, the Domaine Faury Saint Joseph 2010, a classy wine loaded with classic Northern Rhône flavors of red fruit, pepper, herbs, and cigar box, balanced, silky in the mouth, nice minerality, and refreshing acidity. Zac and Alex put up their Spicy Beef Dog, plumply tucked into a pretzel bun, topped with mustard relish.
Overall, these 2010 Rhône wines reflect perfect growing conditions and the dedication of small, artisan producers, a labor of love that is shared with Storefront Deli. Zak, Alex, and Pete deconstruct their less than a dozen deli creations, making every ingredient from scratch, sourcing from local producers, it’s a labor of love.