How Good is Domaine Berthète Sensation Rhône Red?
Wine Review of 2016 JP Bourgeois Domaine de la Berthète Cuvée Sensation Côtes du Rhône, France
Made by Domaine de la Berthète in Southern France, the cuvee ‘Sensation’ was made in collaboration with and distributed in the USA by JP Bourgeois.
From a blend of 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 20% Carignan, and 5% Cinsault, aged for 12 months in stainless steel tanks (85%) and in French oak barrels (15%), and given that JP Bourgeois claims that they “offer one of the best and most comprehensive selections of wines under $15 retail”, this could prove to be an interesting French Rhone wine.
In fact, sold around $11 and $13 in the USA (ex-tax), it could in fact be a steal, if it’s any good!
Let’s find out…
This is how JP Bourgeois describes the project and the wine:
So, How Good is Domaine de la Berthète Cuvée Sensation Red?
This Rhone red comes in a rather dark and intense ruby red color filled with youthful purple hues, betraying both its apparent concentration and its young age.
The nose is predominantly fruity, although feeling still quite introvert and restrained, like a wine in need of further ageing to get fully mature.
Dark cherry and fresh raspberry are coated in a tight dark cocoa and clove envelope, while a touch of lifted vegetal spices such as fennel and green pepper give a pleasant spicy tone that makes things quite interesting.
Put the wine in your mouth, and the palate reveals a dry and granulous wine, with smooth velvety tannins that feel like fine grains of sand or grains of clay I guess would be more accurate.
Flavors are generously fruity, dominated by juicy dark and acidic cherry notes, elegantly coated in delicate caramel and vanilla. The whole feels super soft and salivating, vibrant from the dry feel combined with the juicy acidity, ending on a salivating slightly salty finish.
Make sure to decant, or should I say aerate aplenty a slid half-hour before serving. Clearly the wine opens up and settles with time after opening and within the glass.
A young wine at this stage, it is pleasant already, but will certainly benefit in depth and general balance from at a year or two of further ageing in the bottle. From there, drink within 5 to 7 years (2019-2026) and you will certainly enjoy a balanced and lively red.
Possibly headed towards the 91-92/100 score mark should it gain length and a more refined texture over a few months/years of maturing.
Given the price tag, it’s hard to argue this Cuvée Sensation by Domaine de la Berthète will impress the discerning wine lovers in search of dry and savory red in a typical European, characterful and mineral style. An age-worthy wine at this pricing level is also quite rare!
Wine & Food Pairings
Pair with generously-tasty dishes, of Mediterranean or oriental influence. Tomato, basil and mozzarella salad for example, a spicy tajine, or an elegant Italian tomato paste dish come to mind as the perfect every-day-life typically-European matches.
In any way, I’d suggest to go for oily, generously flavored and slightly herbal and/or spicy recipe.