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 […]
August 7, 2018
d'or et gueules Rose Les Cimels

d’Or et GUEULES Rosé “Les Cimels”

Southern Rhone Valley, very dry Rosé made from Cinsault, Mourvedre mostly, with a little Grenache and Syrah. Smell and taste dried orange zest, dried pink rose petals, white pepper, crushed thyme & tarragon on the Chateau d’Or et Gueules Rose Les Cimels. Has higher acidity (I call it mouth-watering acidity) and a less fruit/more earthy finish. In the whole realm of Rosé styles, this is more Provence style (less fruity, very dry) than Rhone style (more berries and not so acidic).
July 25, 2018
Jerome Gradassi Chateauneuf du Pape

JEROME GRADASSI Chateauneuf du Pape 2016

This is a blend of 75% Grenache, 25% Mourvedre. It has a deep, ripe core of sun-ripened blue and blackberries with a supporting cast of black currants, cola, leg of lamb (gamy), black pepper and mint. I like the power, and with a one hour decant I’d be happy to drink it tonight. But I think the best move is to cellar this short term. 2022-2030 drink zone sounds about right to me. For power, complexity and price (especially price), the Jerome Gradassi Chateauneuf du Pape takes me back ten years, when this was my favorite appellation. But with escalating […]
July 25, 2018
Santa Duc Quatre Terres

SANTA DUC Cotes du Rhone Les Quatre Terres 2015

Domaine Santa Duc Quatre Terres is a blend of 70% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre and 5% combined of Cinsault, Carignane and Clairette. Grapes grow in four distinct plots owned and farmed by Santa Duc. (See below for more on this.) The wine marries ripe wild strawberries and plums with new leather, veal stock and black pepper character. It’s a straightforward red that delivers the goods for those looking for a good, honest Cotes du Rhone. More Information Santa Duc calls this Cotes du Rhone “Les Quatre Terres” because the fruit comes from four estate vineyards, one each in the […]
February 20, 2018

Chateau Montmirail Vacqueyras Deux Freres 15

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 […]
February 20, 2018
mourre de tendre plan dieu

Mourre du Tendre Plan de Dieu 2015

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.
February 20, 2018
Andezon Cotes Rhone

Domaine d’ANDEZON Côtes du Rhône 2016

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).