Roche Paradis Saint Joseph Bergerie 2018

Roche Paradis Saint Joseph

Syrah from hillside, granite-heavy soils above Chavanay (the tenderloin of Saint Joseph). Deep, spicy, rich, seductive red wine, full of black licorice, peppercorns, blue and blackberry, mole and espresso smells and flavors. Concentrated and robust yet smooth with medium acidity and rounded tannins, this is a young Northern Rhone Valley Syrah to either drink or […]

Cottebrune Faugères Rouge 2016

Cottebrune Faugeres Red 16

This Grenache/Syrah blend blend from the high quality yet relatively unknown Faugères appelation is a real gem. Growing in high density vineyards in the foothills of France’s Massif Central, Cottebrune Faugères “Les Moulins” is pure and pretty with loads of red plum, raspberry, strawberry and peppery spice pleasure. A subtle floral component-fresh violets and lavender-lurks […]

Mi Terruño Malbec “Reserve” 2016

Mi Terruno Malbec

Strong red berry compote and toasty oak at first whiff quickly transforms to a layered, deep red fruit, strong yet balanced red wine. Get kirsch, fresh blueberries, licorice, mineral, crushed thyme and black pepper. Medium/full bodied with soft tannins and acidity that give the wine structure. I had this wine with grilled flap steak tacos. […]

Pago Ayles “Y” 2014

Pago Ayles Y

This blend of 34% Garnacha, 27% Tempranillo, 23% Merlot and 16% Cabernet Sauvignon is a mouthful of spicy dark berry flavors with underpinnings of rocky earth. Smell and taste cinnamon, black cherry liqueur, ripe blackberries, licorice, crushed rocks and vanilla. Medium to full body, soft tannins and a happy core of acidity make this a […]

le Mas des Flauzieres Gigondas Grande Reserve 15

Mas des Flauzieres Gigondas 15

A robust, spicy red from Gigondas in France’s Southern Rhone Valley. Just opened I get briary raspberries, strawberries and blueberries and with resuscitation out comes the five-spice, cinnamon, black pepper, dark soy sauce and roasted red chili pepper. It gets bolder and stronger with each passing minute of air. You get a whole lot of […]

GRANGE des ROUQUETTE Syrah Grenache 2018

Grange des Rouquette Syrah Grenache

Rhone Valley producer Vignobles Boudinaud ventures outside the Southern Rhone for Grange des Rouquette. This is 60% Syrah, 40% Grenache all tank fermented and briefly aged before bottling. This delicious “quaffer red” is full of dark red strawberries, black pepper, black licorice and fresh violet smells and flavors. Perfectly ripe – neither jammy nor green […]

YVES CUILLERON Syrah “Les Vignes d’a Cote” 2017

Yves Cuilleron Syrah vigne da cote

100% Syrah from a single vineyard somewhere in Northern Rhone Valley. (It’s IGP Collines Rhodaniennes, a broad designation covering a lot of the Northern Rhone.) Quality fruit and precise winemaking makes for a fruit and spice-driven, medium bodied, ready to drink Syrah. Start to finish you get ripe blueberries, black raspberries, cracked pepper, anise and […]

Domaine VERRET Irancy 2017

Verret Irancy 2017

The Red Burgundy appellation Irancy is closer to Chablis than the Cote d’Or. One of high repute, then out of favor, and in the last 30-40 years on the comeback. The style, as you’d expect from Northern France Pinot Noir, is delicate and “bright.” The Verret is brilliant and bordering on transparent, smells of wild […]

GROS NORE Bandol 2016

Gros Nore Bandol

The “capital of Mourvedre,” Bandol lies on the French Mediterranean. The consistently very warm sun and hillside vineyards make Mourvedre ripe and the wines dark and rich. The 2016 Gros Nore is an outlier…it is dark, strong and rich as expected of Bandol. Its relative softness and accessibility (i.e. delicious now) is out of the […]

MAS DOIX Priorat Les Crestes 2016

Mas Doix priorat les crestes

80% Grenache, 10% Carignan and 10% Syrah. Showcases the Grenache grapes sappy, dark strawberry and raspberry fruitiness (relatively young 20 year old vines, so the fruit is highlighted over the earth). Peppery/minty spice smells and flavors, medium bodied, fine tannins that nibble on the gums. This delicious Spanish red pairs well with combo pizza, cheeseburgers, […]

BOUDINAUD Cotes du Rhone La Boissiere 2016

Boudinaud la Boissiere

The estate vineyard and winery Boudinaud consistently brings big value to their wines. The red Cotes du Rhone “La Boissiere” is 55% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre then Cinsault and Counoise. Dark blackberry and strawberry fruit smells and flavors plus dry French herbs, cracked black peppercorns, dried lavender and musk. Ripeness, firm tannins and an […]

Maison l’Envoye Moulin a Vent 16

Maison l'envoye Moulin a Vent

Deep red cherry and raspberry fruits with a peppercorn, dried thyme and orange rind gift wrap. Medium/light bodied on the red wine scale, full bodied on the Gamay scale, which is due to the 60 year old vines and the natural “bigness” of Moulin-a-Vent relative to the other Beaujolais crus. Showing intense berry fruits with […]

Department 66 Grenache “Others” 2015

Department 66 Others Grenache

Heady, rich, full-throttle red wine with no apologies for its big flavor. Fruits: ripe sweet blueberries, blackberries, chocolate covered strawberries. Black licorice and black pepper pop up as you savor and on the finish. So ripe and rich it’s almost sweet. Gentle tannins and not a lot of oak. This a real “bell ringer” of […]

Haut Plaisance Montagne Saint Emilion 2015

Haut Plaisance Saint Emilion

On the northeast flank of Saint-Émilion, the home of luxury wines like Ausone, Pavie and Valandraud, is Montagne Saint-Émilion. The soils, a mixture of clay, limestone and sand, are similar and the wines are too. Unbelievable values can be found in Montagne Saint Emilion, and here’s one that has earned my highest value status, a […]

LOUIS CHEZE Saint-Joseph “Ro Ree” 2016

Louis Cheze Saint Joseph Ro Ree

Textbook style of Northern Rhone Syrah here. Violets and lavender, bright red and blue berries, peppery spice and sun-dried tarragon & thyme. Has the intensity and a bit of wildness while keeping its appeal to a crowded room. It has easy-going tannins, medium high acidity and no oak flavor to speak of. It’s nicely surprising […]

COTTANERA Etna Rosso “Diciassettesalme” 2016

Cottanera Etna Rosso

Deep, dark red color. Earth-driven aromas of dry aged beef and quality cigar wrapper. Lots of dark red berry and cherry flavor. Wee bit of garden herbs and lavender in the taste. Long 20 second finish has fine tannins and lingering earth to complement the fruit. I really like this wine’s concentration and richness. Mount […]

DUREUIL-JANTHIAL Rully 2015

Dureuil Janthial Rully

I like the ripe, soft cherry smells and flavors and plush/creamy texture of this village-level wine from the Chalonnaise. The very warm, ripe 2015 vintage trumps the limestone soils and usual “feminine” style of Rully. That, and the nod to new-world winemaking practiced by Vincent Dureuil. Warm spices, candied orange zest and caramel peek through […]

GAVIGNET Hautes Cotes de Nuits “Clos des Dames Huguettes” 2016

Gavignet Hautes Cotes Nuits

Bright, energetic Red Burgundy from a vineyard directly above Nuits-Saint-Georges, on the plateau that designates Hautes-Cotes de Nuits. Feminine style: wild red cherries, cranberry, plums, talc, bay leaf, fresh red roses. Light bodied, intensity (a requirement of good Burgundy), perky acidity, fine tannins. I wish it was a little bit longer on the finish (clocked […]

Merieau Gamay “Le Bois Jacou” 2016

Merieau Gamay Bois Jacou

I really like this wine for its combination of Gamay-bright berry fruit, rustic character, light body, intensity of flavor and great price. Gamay, while not associated with Touraine (mid-Loire Valley, France) is definitely a “player” in the area, and rightly so. The cool climate, chalk/limestone soils and rich wine history make it a natural. Jean-Francois […]

MADELOC Banyuls “Robert Pages”

Madeloc Banyuls Robert Pages

Owned and made by the Northern Rhone Valley’s Pierre Gaillard, Domaine Madeloc is his Roussillon (Banyuls and Collioure) brand. The Madeloc Banyuls Robert Pages is 90% Grenache Rouge & 10% Grenache Gris, late harvest, fortified (i.e. a Vin Doux Naturel, or VDN) then aged partially outside, in the elements, in big glass bottles (and part […]

Allegrini Palazzo della Torre 2014

Allegrini Palazzo della torre

A home run for sub $20 red. But not surprising as Allegrini Palazzo della Torre wine has over-delivered for the price for many years. This Veronese red (from near Verona, Veneto region, northeast Italy) is a blend of local grapes Corvina, Rondinella plus a splash of Sangiovese. Ripe dark cherries, sweet spices, pick-me-up acidity, gentle […]

Clos des Centenaires Grenache 2015

Clos des Centenaires Grenache

Notice straightaway the bright, fresh raspberry and strawberry flavors of Grenache in the Clos des Centenaires 2015. Peppercorns, dry French herbs and plenty of fine, gum-coating tannins give the wine its definitive Rhone character. Medium acidity and really good intensity make me think of fatty pork, duck and bacon as ideal food partners. No oak […]

BESSON Givry “Petit Pretans” 16

Besson Givry Petit Pretan

I really like the delineation of flavors and richness of the Besson Givry Petit Pretans 2016. From a 30+ year old, Premier Cru vineyard in the Cote Chalonnaise, south of the Cote d’Or, in clay/limestone soil. Sports a deep, dark red, faint liqueur and plum sauce smell and flavor plus tarragon, truffle and black tea. […]

LOUIS CHEZE Cote Rotie “Bellisima” 2014

louis cheze cote rotie bellisima

Wild red berry fruits, healthy acidity, meaty and spicy describe the Louis Cheze Cote Rotie Bellisima. Generous smells and flavors both in fruit and earth-driven flavors of iron, truffle and meat locker. Medium-high acidity, easy-going tannins. The theme here is intensity rather than sheer power. Drink now through 2025. To see all the Rhone Valley […]