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 hold. Great value for a high-impact Syrah. Domaine de la Roche Paradis (“Rock Paradise”) is the creation of Yann Menager, whose day job is vineyard manager for the prolific Yves Cuilleron. Menager recently started purchasing special yet underappreciated vineyards in the Northern Rhone and making […]
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 wine for your money here. The blend in the Mas de Flauieres Gigondas Grande Reserve is 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 25% Mourvèdre.
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 wines I’ve reviewed, GO HERE.
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 […]
Vacqueyras: Southern Rhone Valley appellation. 65% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre. Older vines at around 50 years old. Montmirail is a “traditional producer” in the best sense. Their wines are pin-point expressions of their land, see no oak, and are made with great care. Destemmed grapes, long fermentation, bottled for America unfined/uniltered. This Rhone red takes an abnormally long time for a $22 wine to open up. It starts with smells and flavors of sasafrass, raw meat, black pepper, black licorice and muted flavors of dark strawberry and blueberry. Over time (2-3 hour of good breathing) the fruit blossoms and […]
Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsaut blend. Plan de Dieu (“God’s Plain”) received Cotes du Rhone Villages status in 2005. Located a few miles northeast of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and next to Vacqueyras, Plan de Dieu wines often have a similar concentration and fruity core as their better known neighbors. This red from Mourre de Tendre is a winner. Get dark strawberry jam, cracked black peppercorns, licorice and marasca cherries. It’s a mouthful while maintaining balance and dimension. Compares favorably to Chateauneufs that cost twice the price.
Over 90% Syrah then Grenache from a single vineyard near Avignon. Minimal handling (“natural winemaking”) and tank aged. Dark strawberry and blueberry smells and flavors here with a few twists of the peppermill and crushed thyme. A clear, concise note of acidity gives brightness. Definitely young at the time of this tasting, I’ve put on my calendar to re-review this wine this summer (if it’s still on the market).