Rhône, France, WINE

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The Rhône Valley is really comprised of two very different regions, in terms of weather, topography, and viticulture. The variable climate and gentle rolling hillsides in Southern Rhône make it one of the world's great regions for the art of blending, with 13 distinct varietals (red and white) permissible in the vineyards and wines. Grenache is the workhorse grape of the region, while Syrah, Mourvédre, Cinsault, and Carignan round out most blend compositions in one proportion or another.

The earthy, soulful, sometimes decadent wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape are the unrivaled champions of the Southern Rhône, but numerous neighboring villages are exerting themselves based on their individuality and terroir. The communes of Gigondas, Lirac, and Vacqueyras often produce bold, meaty, spicy wines, enough to warrant their own respective AOC designations. Other villages currently ensconced within the overall Côtes-du-Rhône Villages AOC include Vinsobres, Séguret, Sablet, and Cairanne, and we should not be surprised to see one or more of these villages awarded AOC status in the coming years, such is the quality and individuality of the wines being produced here.

The Northern Rhône is quite a different story, with steep vineyards and hot micro-climates making it ideal for mono-varietal wines. Syrah is the red grape of both legal and viticultural preference, and it achieves varying expressions depending on where the vines are located. The majority of vine-growing occurs on the west bank of the Rhône river. St-Joseph is the largest AOC in the region, and the resulting quality is, of course, very mixed depending largely on the standards of the specific producer. Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage are the king and queen of Syrah, the former producing dark, brooding, masculine wines of depth and structure, the latter being famous for its complex, ethereal aromatics and refined texture and longevity. Cornas is the more rustic cousin to Rôtie and Hermitage, but quality is on the rise, year after year. The Northern Rhône's lone white grape is Viognier, and Condrieu is its ancestral home and considered the apex of its expression worldwide. Viognier also serves as a very small percentage of blends with Syrah, typically in the Crozes-Hermitage AOC. France's most ancient winemaking region has a lot going for it, and the future looks as bright as the past.

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90-92 points Josh Raynolds (International Wine Cellar): Light red. Sexy, fragrant scents of Moroccan spices, dried strawberry, raspberry and minerals, plus a whiff of cherry skin. Very sexy, sweet red fruit flavors are perked up by blood orange and smoky minerals, with dusty tannins adding support.… ...

IWC 90-92
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Rayas Cotes du Rhone Chateau de Fonsalette 2008  (#332678)

Rhone Blends - Red from Côtes du Rhône, Southern Rhône, Rhône, France

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available

93 points Wine Spectator: Intense, with a racy graphite edge driving the core of crushed plum and cherry fruit along. Dried anise, fruitcake and black tea notes run along the edges, adding range and texture. Drink now through 2026. 1,000 cases made. (7/25/18) ...

WS 93
V 92
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Chave/J.L. Selection St-Joseph Offerus 2015  (#332520)

Syrah/Shiraz from St.-Joseph, Northern Rhône, Rhône, France

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$29.95
$36.00
Save $6.05 (17%)36.00
Save $6.05 (17%)

The Leydiers at Domaine de Durban are particularly proud of their Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise, a vin doux naturel, as they are among the last to craft it in the traditional style. The old-fashioned vinification keeps the spirits as low as possible, so that they may hold on to the bright freshness in… ...

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Durban Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise 2015  (#332642)

Muscat from Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, Southern Rhône, Rhône, France

375ml Half Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$13.95
$16.00
Save $2.05 (13%)16.00
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95 points Jeb Dunnuck: The 2015 Gigondas Cuvee Louisiane comes from a site located just beside the domaine, which is a mix of clay and sandy soils. Aged all in foudre, it boasts terrific notes of framboise, spring flowers, black raspberries and orange blossom (which I normally find more in the Les… ...

JD 95
WA 95
V 92-94
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Saint-Damien Gigondas La Louisiane 2015  (#332305)

Rhone Blends - Red from Gigondas, Southern Rhône, Rhône, France

750ml Bottle | In stock, 6 available
JD 95
WA 95
V 92-94

94 points Jeb Dunnuck: Coming from an old vine selection and a smaller production release for the US market, the 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes tastes like the classic cuvée, only on steroids. Kirsch, loads of black and blue fruits, flowers and lavender notes all emerge from this full… ...

JD 94
WA 94
WS 93
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Clos Saint-Jean Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes 2015  (#330506)

Rhone Blends - Red from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhône, Rhône, France

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
JD 94
WA 94
WS 93

95 points Wine Spectator: Solidly packed, with a bramble-edged core of dark plum, bitter cherry and black currant fruit, inlaid with bay leaf and savory notes. The serious chalky grip through the finish will need some time to stretch out. Shows terrific interplay between the grip and fruit. Best… ...

WS 95
V 94
WA 93
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Clape Cornas 2014  (#329161)

Syrah/Shiraz from Cornas, Northern Rhône, Rhône, France

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$104.95
$132.00
Save $27.05 (20%)132.00
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94 points Josh Raynolds (Vinous): Opaque ruby. A deeply perfumed, complex bouquet evokes ripe, spice-tinged cherry and boysenberry, along with complicating suggestions of potpourri, incense and smoky bacon. Sappy and expressive in character, offering palate-staining black and blue fruit liqueur and… ...

V 94
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Faurie/Bernard Hermitage Bessards & Meal 2015  (#332849)

Syrah/Shiraz from Hermitage, Northern Rhône, Rhône, France

750ml Bottle | Pre-arrival, 12 available
PRE-ARRIVAL

96 points James Suckling: Astounding purity and depth. This wine emanates old vine concentration with deep raspberry and red plums, spicy complexity and a sappy, bracken-like edge. Powerful and elegant tannins, reminiscent of great Barolo! Drink from 2023. (8/14/17) ...

JS 96
V 94-96
WA 93
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Charvin Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2015  (#331031)

Rhone Blends - Red from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhône, Rhône, France

750ml Bottle | In stock, 6 available
JS 96
V 94-96
WA 93

50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Cinsault, 10% Mourvèdre. The elegance of citrus fruits combines with the freshness of red fruits. A racy and balanced rosé. ...

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Domaine de Fontenille Cotes-du-Luberon Rose 2017  (#332508)

Rosé from Côtes du Luberon, Rhône, France

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available

94 points Joe Czerwinski (Wine Advocate): Bottled in July, the 2015 Cote Rotie Ampodium is fairly full-bodied and quite rich. The black olive and raspberry notes verge on being jammy but are balanced by peppery spice and firm, savory tannins. Give it 5 years in the cellar to settle down, and drink… ...

WA 94
WS 93
V 91-93
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Rostaing Cote-Rotie Ampodium 2015  (#332297)

Syrah/Shiraz from Côte-Rôtie, Northern Rhône, Rhône, France

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
WA 94
WS 93
V 91-93
$68.95
$90.00
Save $21.05 (23%)90.00
Save $21.05 (23%)

88 points Joe Czerwinski (Wine Advocate): A lovely pale flamingo pink in color, Charvin's 2017 Cotes du Rhone Rose is a bit confected. Sweet-smelling and sweet-tasting cherries and peaches lead the way, backed by modest wet stone and citrus notes in this medium-bodied rosé. Solid, but not… ...

WA 88
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$15.95
$18.00
Save $2.05 (11%)18.00
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95 points Jeb Dunnuck: I also loved the 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Côte Ronde, and while this cuvée can show a rustic edge (especially compared the Cuvée Juline), it's pure, silky and polished in 2015. Black raspberries, cassis, olive tapenade and tobacco leaf all emerge from this full-bodied,… ...

JD 95
WS 93
V 91-93
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Autard Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Cote Ronde 2015  (#331140)

Rhone Blends - Red from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhône, Rhône, France

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
JD 95
WS 93
V 91-93
$41.95
$85.00
Save $43.05 (51%)85.00
Save $43.05 (51%)
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