Chene Bleu - The Blue Oak

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After doing a little investigative work, I did find out that there is actually a species of Oak that is referred to as "Blue Oak."  However, this is not my next venture into Dendrology.  I couldn't help but use that word as it's so fun to throw around words that few people actually know.  For folks like me that don't or didn't know, that's the study of woody plants, typically trees.

No, what I'm talking about is a winery in the Rhone Valley of France that I had an acquaintance with back at the wine shop a few years ago and was reacquainted with recently at a Wine Industry Trade Show.

The winery?  Chene Bleu.  Translates to Blue Oak.  Why the reference?  Just so happens that on the property the winery had an old oak tree that had seen better days.  After a terrible drought in 2005, it was decided to preserve the tree and it was coated with a special substance that would protect and preserve the tree.  It happens to have a bluish tinge to is, hence The Blue Oak or Chene Bleu.

Maybe I'm paying more attention to the surroundings as I've been writing more than I ever have.  Aren't you folks lucky??  Or maybe things have been just falling in line more and more.  How so, you ask?  Well, I knew that the winery would be represented at the tasting and subsequently I would be able to familiarize myself once again with their wines.  What I didn't know was after getting to the wine station, I engaged the person pouring the wines.  What struck me right off was the passion and knowledge this person had for the wines.  


I was impressed by how passionate she was and that she could talk on about the wines with such knowledge.  She reminded me of someone very close to me.  ME!  Although in my case I know I just love talking about wines in general.  Here was someone talking about the wines like they were her children.  Any surprise that they were?  Yep, I had been fortunate enough to meet the owner of the winery.  Nicole Rolet and her husband Xavier?? (who was not there) began the winery back in 1993 and have put their heart and soul into the winery.  Painstaking restoring the property and bringing it the highest standards for a modern winery.  An effort that took more than 10 years!  It's no wonder Nicole and her husband have such love for their wines.

The wine that I had bought for the shop and I was most interested in sampling was the most current vintage of their Rosé. A blend of Grenache Noir (60%), Syrah (18%), Rolle (12%), Cinsault (5%) and Mourvedre (5%), and coming from the specific appellation of Vaucluse, this is not your typical Rosé from France.  Much richer in style and having a headiness that far outweighs those Rosés coming from the South of France.  The modest use of French oak (about 25% of the wine) undoubtedly adds to the structure and texture of the wine.  Unlike most Rosés, it is a wine that can age.  Something that I saw at the shop.  It wasn't a wine I had to sell before the next vintage.  I could relish in the knowledge the wine would improve with age.  Click here for tech sheet.

Nicole had two other red wines with her, Héloïse & Abélard, both from the 2009 vintage.  The Héloïse using 60% Syrah, 36% Grenache and 4% Viognier and the Abélard being a blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah.  The wines, named after a French love affair, that you can read about here, were wonderful as well and a great representation of Rhone wines.  Both garnered wonderful reviews to which I would concur.  Click here for tech sheets on both wines.

Finding these wines may not be easy, but a good wine shop should be able to order them for you as they are imported by Wilson Daniels (the sponsor of the Trade Event I attended) and distributed here in Illinois by Tenzing Wines.