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Le Cordon Bleu News, 05/15/2012
Wine and Management Rhone Valley Vineyard student trip
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Wine and Management Rhone Valley Vineyard student trip
The Le Cordon Bleu Paris Wine and Management students discovered the Rhone Valley vineyard early this spring, accompanied by their professor Franck Ramage.
Despite a very early start, the group was full of enthusiasm as they set of for Valence in the Drôme department. Following a two hour train journey to the northern Rhone Valley, the students were welcomed by Alain Graillot, a winemaker who produces excellent Crozes-Hermitage. Monsieur Graillot organized a tasting for the group in his cellar which included two red Crozes-Hermitages vintages (2009 and 2010), a white Crozes-Hermitage, and his enigmatic "La Guiraude" cuvée, an elegant, racy wine made from grapes grown on the best lots and aged in oak for a year. This was to be the group's first peek into the deliciously subtle world of Rhone valley wines.
The next stop was Tain-l’Hermitage, where the students met Michel Chapoutier, the renowned master of the Hermitage appellation. Here, they tasted no less than five prestigious crus: a Condrieu "Invitare" 2010, a White "Le Méal" Ermitage 2007, a red Hermitage "Monier de la Sizeranne" 2007, an Ermitage "Les Greffieux" 2004, and the sensational red Ermitage "Le Méal" 2000, a smoky, spicy wine which topped off the tasting. The group and their professor were utterly enthralled by the tasting; indeed, Franck Ramage declared that "the standards of excellence had been raised".
In keeping with the elegance of the morning's tastings, the group enjoyed lunch at the "Table d’hôtes de Michel Chapoutier", where they were served an exceptional "Wine and Food pairing" menu. The meal began with a lobster parcel and verbena emulsion, paired with a Magnum of white Saint-Joseph "Les Granits" 1999. The main course consisted of beef with an Hermitage wine sauce, potato galettes and pan fried wild mushrooms, accompanied by a Magnum of Crozes-Hermitage 2000 "Les Varonniers". A fruit gratin paired with an Hermitage "Vin de Paille" 2000 was the perfect end to a meal whose caliber met the high standards of the wines it was served with.
The students spent the afternoon in the Cluzel-Roch Estate, where AOC Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu and Coteaux du Lyonnais are produced. Madame Roch gave the group a very warm welcome and invited them on a discovery of a wide range of rosé, red and white wines. The evening was spent at the “Bistrot Le Mangevins” in Tain-l’Hermitage, where the students tasted ten different wines in a fantastically convivial atmosphere.
The next day included a visit to Ampuis and the Jean-Michel Gerin Estate, known for its Côte-Rôtie wines. The owner, who now produces the notoriously difficult Condrieu white, as well as Saint-Joseph which he produces in red only, gave the students the opportunity to sample both in a 2010 vintage, as well as a Collines Rhodaniennes Red IGP from 2010. The group then had the chance to take a walk in the vineyard, whose slopes have a view over the tiny commune, and were able to see the “naked” vines. The “Bistrot de Serine” was the next stop for a gourmet lunch, accompanied by a superb variety of crus.
The last tasting took place a few kilometers away in Chavanay, at the estate of Yves Cuilleron, whose reputation was forged thanks to the quality of the Condrieu wines he produces, and is now maintained by his range of succulent Saint-Joseph and Côte-Rôtie wines. The students were taken on a journey through the vineyard with a generous seven wine tasting, including Condrieu La Petit Côte 2010, Côte Rôtie red 2009, and, to end their adventure in the Rhone Valley on a deliciously sweet note, a late harvest white Condrieu Ayguets 2009.
Having spent two days discovering the elegance and diversity of this regions wine, it was time for the Le Cordon Bleu Paris students to return to Paris.

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