October 18, 2018
le mas de flauzieres gigondas

MAS de FLAUZIERES Gigondas “Four Danuga” 2016

Fresh, bright strawberries and raspberries with a dusting of peppery spice and herbs de Provence is your first impression of Mas de Flauzieres Gigondas Four Danuga. It makes sense, as it is the winery’s “early drinking” wine: gentle tannins, neutral oak aged, transparency. The blend is 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre. Along with the red berries, pepper and herbs, with air also get deep red plums, sweet grapefruit and anise. It’s polished and super-pretty…nothing like the rustic style Gigondas is known for. Tasty now with best drinking I’d say 2020-2026. To see all the Rhone Valley wines I’ve reviewed, GO […]
August 28, 2018
Coteaux Travers Cotes du Rhone Char a Vin

Coteaux des Travers Cotes du Rhone 16

The Domaine des Coteaux des Travers Côtes du Rhône Char à Vin is 50% Grenache, 30% Carignan, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah. Certified biodynamic winery. Opaque ruby color, nose of cooked fresh raspberries and cracked black peppercorns. It’s wild berry fruits first in the mouth with tasty, peppery spice and dried herbs de Provence swirling about. Soft tannins, medium acidity, juicy, quite bold and fresh. This is a very tasty Southern Rhone Valley red that, for $15 or less, is an easy choice for friendly dinners or when you’re all by your lonesome. More Information From the importer: “A char is a military […]
June 24, 2018
Clefs des Murailles Vacqueyras

Clefs des Murailles Vacqueyras 16

A tasty Southern Rhone Valley red from the highly regarded village/appellation of Vacqueyras. Typical blend of the area: 70% Grenache followed by Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault. This wine has loads of ripe, dark, slightly jammy blueberries and dark strawberries plus anise, lavender and cracked black pepper. A whiff of barnyard but no more. (Good bret, IMHO) Firm tannins along the gums on the finish are to be expected from Vacqueyras. Overall, this is clean, juicy, fruit-first Southern Rhone red that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. At $23 it is a Great Value. I would suggest letting it breathe to […]
June 2, 2018
Longtable The Gathering

LONGTABLE “The Gathering” Red 2013

A Southern-Rhone style blend of 50% Grenache, 47% Syrah and 3% Petite Sirah from a single vineyard on Mount Veeder. It’s “Estate” in that the vineyard is winery-owned, but winemaking happens elsewhere, so it’s technically not. Smell and taste deep, dark black and blueberries with allspice, black licorice, cola and smoked red meat back-ups. Strong wine, with firm, fine tannins and a small explosion of flavor as it sits in your mouth. Longtable waits almost five years after harvest to release The Gathering so it’s ready. It’s sort of ready…it’ll start peaking in 2020 is my guess. Grapes are co-fermented with […]
June 2, 2018
Cochon Whole Hog Red Wine

COCHON “Whole Hog” 2015

44% Syrah, 25% Grenache, 15% Carignane, 10% Cinsault, 5% Mourvedre, 1% Viognier. Napa Valley and Lodi are the two main sources for the grapes. The Syrah (from Phoenix Ranch in Southern Napa) takes centerstage with its dark blueberry/blackberry, black olive, peppery, intense smell and flavor. This is rich, ripe and strong. You get a lot of flavor and quality for your money here…that said, I suspect it will greatly improve with another year in bottle. Keep some around until summer 2019 if you can. I highly recommend you get to know the three labels under the Cochon “umbrella.” They are […]
April 24, 2018
The Withers Bel Canto

THE WITHERS Bel Canto 2016

Blend of 73% Grenache, 22% Mourvedre, 5% Syrah. Very pretty, high-toned aromas of strawberries, raspberries, lavender, black pepper and crushed garden herbs. Fruit, spice and herb play nice together on the palate…all have a voice. Touch of ruby red grapefruit and pomegranate sneak into the taste too. Finish is more about the peppercorn, lavender, bay leaf and thyme. It all works together like a charm. More Information “Cool climate wines from the Sonoma Coast and Sierra Foothills” states The Withers on their website. The talent and passion is there, including David Low as winemaker (he is co-owner & co-winemaker for […]
April 23, 2018
Cochon Pape Rocks Red Wine

COCHON “Pape Rocks” 2015

70% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault. An ode to Châteauneuf du Pape at a much better price than most CdPs. For $21, this wine is ridiculously good. Brooding, dark berry fruits with Rhone-like complements of black olive, black pepper, dark soy, mint and lavender. Robust, fruity and spicy finish with ripe tannins that give structure but don’t dry your mouth out. This is a real find for wine lovers, especially fans of Southern Rhone and Cal-Rhone red blends.  Most of the fruit in Pape Rocks comes from Lodi and nearby. Great fruit, but “affordable,” allowing a $21 price […]
April 22, 2018
le Artishasic Rose Wine

Le ARTISHASIC Rosé 2017

This is Napa winemaker/wine consultant Artie Johnson’s tiny Rosé label. It’s all “Shake Ridge Vineyard” Amador/Sierra Foothills fruit. 55% Mourvèdre, 44% Grenache, 1% Syrah.  Purposeful Rosé: whole cluster pressed, fermented and aged in neutral French oak. Get ripe strawberries and red plums, tarragon, green tea, raspberry. On the fuller bodied side of Rose while being graceful. On the higher side for Rosé at $38. It justifies its price by giving more texture and flavor than most. It’s not a wine for everybody, but if you like the richer styles of Rosé then it’s for you.
April 22, 2018
Skinner Rose

SKINNER Rosé 2017

47% Grenache, 23% Mourvedre, 16% Counoise, 14% Cinsault. A Rhone-style “purposeful” Rosé from El Dorado/Sierra Foothills. I like the subtle yet obvious smells and flavors of fresh peaches, strawberries, black pepper, orange fleshed melon and orange zest. Very pleasing. What truly sets this Rosé apart from the masses is its round texture, ideal acidity and delicious, apparent Rosé flavors. Bright and refreshing without being severe. Skinner Winery, a Rhone-grape specialist located outside of Placerville, calls this purposeful Rosé, meaning the grapes were harvested for Rose – not saignée. First time I’ve heard this time. I like it – think I’ll […]
March 3, 2018
John Duval Plexus

John Duval “Plexus” Barossa Valley 2014

A classic Australia GSM blend of 47% Shiraz, 32% Grenache and 21% Mourvedre. Blueberry sauce, roast coffee, black pepper, cola, anise, black raspberry and cherry compote smells and flavors. It has a big, rich mouthfeel yet with acidity that perks up the wine, especially on its 30 second finish. This plush, lush, full-bodied and classy red embraces classic Barossa power but also has finesse and complexity. At $40/bottle, for what you get this is a screaming deal!