One of the secrets to finding good tasting affordable wine is to look at Europe's prize offerings and then look to wines they make that don't fit the famous region's rules. You can buy Cristia's Chateau Neuf du Pape for a special occasion but what about just for dinner tonight?? Then you grab their Grenache for $9!
Andre Brunel Grenache $11.00
We've found that many of the rock star wine makers in France own property outside of traditional AOC regions. While they can't charge big dollars, they can't help but make good wine. This is a good example, being a IGP Vaucluse with about all Grenache from the southern Rhone. Pretty black raspberry, fennel, and a little smoky tobacco showing on the nose. Soft fruit jumps out on the palate and its very drinkable. Buy two because they are great patio pounders.
Mas Carlot Rose $11.00
Nathalie Blanc-Marès crafts this lovely, mouthwatering rose from the Southern Rhone that is a classic blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre. It's medium-bodied, with pretty cherry, herb and stone. Another crazy good deal!
Leon Perdigal Cote du Rhone $12.00
With a ruby red robe, this wine features a bouquet of red berries with hints of pepper and garrigue herbs. On the palette, the red fruit flavors carry over with spicy, well integrated tannins on a medium body.
Chapoutier makes wine in the Rhone valley that can go for over $400 a bottle. But whether it his rock stars or his everyday drinkers, they are made with style and substance. And this one tastes like it should cost a lot more! Great spicy blackberry flavors and tangy spice notes.
This wine isn't just fun to say, it's incredibly delicious too! Full bodied, with flavors of grapefruit, melon, and citrus. This wine has mouth watering acidity, and a minerality that is reminiscent of the Mediterranean that the vines grew along. This is sure to become your new favorite white!
From vineyards dating back to Roman times, comes this rich and full bodied blend from the lower Rhone Valley. Lovely floral and citrus nose, bold flavors of stone fruit, peach, pear and lime zest. These overlooked wines can stand up to about anything.
Cotes du Rhone Cypress Cuvee $16.00
Considered by Kermit as one of the best values ever. A bistro styled, gulpable quaffer that is a product of natural fermentation, honestly vinified and aged in cement tanks, then bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Domaine Lafond Tavel $16.00
This richly colored Rose from Tavel opens with a mild wet stone and gentle strawberry bouquet. On the palate, this wine is light to medium bodied, balanced, and savory. The flavor profile is a mineral infused strawberry and gentle red raspberry blend with a hint of white pepper. The finish is dry and nicely refreshing. I would pair this very nice Rose with grilled salmon this summer.
Delas Freres Croze Hermitage $17.00
Nice meaty Syrah dominates but well balanced with spice, blackberry and some herbal notes. A bit of violet shows from the 10% Grenache. Good structure, nice clean peppery finish in an easy drinking wine that pairs with just about anything!
Domaine de Fondreche Fayard $19.00
Perhaps the best value region in all of the Rhone Valley for red wine, if this was in Chateaunuef-du-Pape it would be well over 150, not so in Cotes du Ventoux. Smooth cherries and round black fruits dominate the nose and palate with a lingering finish.
Plan Pegau $19.00
A wild blend from 4 grapes and 3 different vintages! This rich, meaty red captures the essence of the Southern Rhone Valley, with layers of red and dark fruit character, soft supple tannins, and complex spice notes from extended aging in small oak barrels.
La Champine $21.00
Condrieu is one of those wines that can break your heart and your wallet forever. Unlike any other white wine, Viognier in the Northern Rhone takes on magical ethereal yet contradictory character. Tastes acidic but it isn't, seems like it should be better with age but it dies quickly, fleshy weighty body but so delicate, and on we go. Viognier from the US tends to have the character of canned pear juice, and even Southern Rhone versions lack much depth. But it turns out surrounding Grillet and Condrieu is the Collines Rhondaniennes where Viognier can now be had at a fraction of the price as its famous neighbors. No its not Condrieu but its close enough to still break your heart while leaving your wallet intact.
Croze Hermitage loves to pretend that it's "real" Hermitage, trading on the name. This pretty wine is actually more like a CDP with soil showing a bit of clay but the massive gallets. The all Syrah shows bright violet and spicy nose with just a hint of that stone. Nice fleshy body, but a bit reserved. Ends with a bit of dried beef and dusty herb. Emmanuel still crushes the fruit by foot himself from his less than 30 acres of vines.
The Barrot family produces pure, unpretentious, classically-styled Chateauneuf-du-Pape from their 40 acres of vines scattered throughout 28 different parcels. This abundance of tiny plots helps protect against hail. Winemaking here is very straightforward and unfussy: no de-stemming of the grapes; fermentation of all varietals together; long, slow macerations; long aging in large, old foudres; bottling without fining or filtration.
Chapoutier La Bernardine CDP $44.00
Almost all Grenache, this nose is intense spice and ripe red cherry and raspberry. A little time open and it transforms and softens. Try to count the number of aromas and flavors, you'll never stop. And probably at the best price in the state here in our little shop.