Red, Rhone Blends - Red, WINE

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Another regional style that has taken on a global application, the term "Rhône Blend" typically refers to wines made predominantly from the major, legally permitted varietals of the southern Rhône Valley in southeast France. Grenache is the primary grape varietal in most of these blends, and a wine will take on different characteristics depending on its proportional composition and its place of origin. As a blending component, Grenache is valued for the added body and fruitiness that it brings without added tannins. As a varietal, the grape's naturally low concentration of phenolics contribute to its pale color and lack of extract, but viticultural practices and low yields can increase the concentrations of phenolic compounds. Grenache-based wines tend to be made for early consumption with its propensity for oxidation make it a poor candidate for long-term aging. However, producers who use low yields grown on poor soils can produce dense, concentrated wines that can benefit from cellaring. Grenache-based wines can develop complex and intense notes of blackcurrants, black cherries, black olives, coffee, gingerbread, honey, leather, black pepper, tar, spices, and roasted nuts. When yields are increased, more overtly earthy and herbal notes emerge that tend to quickly fade on the palate.

Red wines from the southern Rhône can contain varying amounts of Cinsault, Counoise, Syrah, Mourvédre, and Carignan, but are almost always based on Grenache Noir. The characteristic of French Grenache-based wines depends largely on the selection of its blending partners and can range from the spicy richness associated with Châteauneuf-du-Pape to the chewy fruitiness associated with basic Côtes du Rhône Villages. Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Rasteau are other southern Rhône AOCs that produce their own distinctly characteristic Grenache-based wines. Generally, these wines are built for immediate consumption or mid-term aging, but the top examples, especially in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, can endure extended cellaring. Grenache is widely grown throught Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence, as well, albeit of generally lesser quality than in the Rhône Valley itself. Many sub-AOCs of Languedoc-Roussillon will use Grenache as a secondary component in blends featuring predominantly Carignan, Syrah, or Cinsault. But perhaps the most highly prized, non-Grenache-based Rhône blends in France hail from Bandol in Provence, where the hearty, meaty Mourvédre grape forms the basis of the wines. Elsewhere in Provence, Grenache is the main staple in the region's widely beloved, fruity rosé wines.

Spain, where the grape is known as Garnacha, has the largest concentration of Grenache vines in the world, and while the grape is often blended with local varietals across the country, the tiny, hilltop region of Priorat is considered the apex of Spanish Grenache-based wine production. Low yields, warm weather, and an increasing commitment to quality result in an iteration that, when blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and/or Carignan, can and must age for a number years to be fully enjoyable. These are wines of substantial power and body, with driving tannins, explosive fruit, and intensely earthy characteristics. Grenache is much less common in Italy, and in fact, it really only grows as Cannonau on the island of Sardigna, where it yields dark, brooding, powerfully tannic wines of supremely rustic character.

Grenache-based blends appear all over the New World, as well, but two countries in particular seem to have captured the formula to greater distinction than the rest. The grape appeared in Australia as early as 1832, and for a time it was the country's most widely planted varietal. Plantings in McLaren Vale, Barossa valley, and Clare Valley boomed, but by the mid-20th century it was overtaken by both Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. However, the past decade has seen a resurgence of the "GSM" blends with artisanal producers making the most of some seriously old vineyards. Varietal Grenache from the McLaren Vale is characterized by luscious richness and spicy notes while Barossa Valley Grenache is characterized by jammy, intense fruitiness. The United States has had its own surge of popularity in Grenache-based wines, beginning with the Rhône Rangers, a consortium of Central Coast growers in California who imported new cuttings from the Rhône valley for planting in the cooler Central Coast regions for use in the production of premium varietal Grenache and Rhône style blends. The wines of Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County are cool climate examples with bright red fruits and suave, gentle textures, while the warmer Paso Robles regions produces Grenache- and Syrah-based wines on par with Priorat for their ripeness, power, and intensity.

There are few, if any varietals, the world over that can display the kind of versatility and variance of style as Grenache, which goes a long way to explaining its popularity with growers and consumers alike. While it seldom reaches the same heights as Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir, it is nonetheless an equally important cornerstone in the world of wine.

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96 points Joe Czerwinski (Wine Advocate): Sourced from the lieux-dits of Les Brusquières and Cabrières, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Prestige is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre and 5% other varieties. Tasted blind, it's a big, full-bodied, lush wine. Powered by bold cherry and stone… ...
WA 96
JD 96
WS 95
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Sabon/Roger Chateauneuf-du-Pape Prestige 2016  (#333134)

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

96 points Joe Czerwinski (Wine Advocate): Sourced from the lieux-dits of Les Brusquières and Cabrières, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Prestige is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre and 5% other varieties. Tasted blind, it's a big, full…

750ml Bottle | Pre-arrival, 12+ available
WA 96
JD 96
WS 95
PRE-ARRIVAL
$47.95
$80.00
Save $32.05 (40%)80.00
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94 points Wine Spectator: Gorgeous, with a lush core of raspberry, blueberry and boysenberry puree flavors gliding through, flecked with anise, violet and incense notes. Carried by fresh, well-embedded acidity, this is lush and beguiling through the lengthy finish. Best from 2020 through 2035. 500… ...
WS 94
WA 93
V 91-93
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Vaudieu Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2016  (#332896)

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

94 points Wine Spectator: Gorgeous, with a lush core of raspberry, blueberry and boysenberry puree flavors gliding through, flecked with anise, violet and incense notes. Carried by fresh, well-embedded acidity, this is lush and beguiling through the…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
WS 94
WA 93
V 91-93
$43.95
$55.00
Save $11.05 (20%)55.00
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91 points Josh Raynolds (Vinous): Lurid ruby. Ripe cherries and red berry liqueur on the deeply perfumed, spice-tinged nose. Shows impressive power and breadth on the palate, offering rich black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors complicated by hints of lavender and peppery spices. The smooth,… ...
V 91
JS 91
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Chave/J.L. Selection Cotes-du-Rhone Mon Coeur 2016  (#332523)

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

91 points Josh Raynolds (Vinous): Lurid ruby. Ripe cherries and red berry liqueur on the deeply perfumed, spice-tinged nose. Shows impressive power and breadth on the palate, offering rich black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors complicated by…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$19.95
$25.00
Save $5.05 (20%)25.00
Save $5.05 (20%)
95-97 points Joe Czerwinski (Wine Advocate): A tremendous effort, might Beaucastel's 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape outshine even the 2016? I tasted a preliminary blend that Marc Perrin said represented 80% of the wine, and it showed ridiculous floral and fresh aromas of licorice, lavender and spice, all… ...
WA 95-97
JD 95-97
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Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2017  (#333431)

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

95-97 points Joe Czerwinski (Wine Advocate): A tremendous effort, might Beaucastel's 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape outshine even the 2016? I tasted a preliminary blend that Marc Perrin said represented 80% of the wine, and it showed ridiculous floral and…

750ml Bottle | Pre-arrival, 12+ available
WA 95-97
JD 95-97
PRE-ARRIVAL
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

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…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 4 available
JD 94
WA 94
WS 93
92 points Wine Spectator: Plump and appealingly gamy, with black raspberry, smoky beef and cracked pepper flavors that take on depth toward big but polished tannins. Grenache, Syrah and Petite Sirah. Drink now through 2023. (7/31/18) ...
WS 92
CGV 90
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Orin Swift Abstract Red California 2016  (#330764)

Rhone Blends - Red from California

92 points Wine Spectator: Plump and appealingly gamy, with black raspberry, smoky beef and cracked pepper flavors that take on depth toward big but polished tannins. Grenache, Syrah and Petite Sirah. Drink now through 2023. (7/31/18)

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12 available
$31.95
$40.00
Save $8.05 (20%)40.00
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Not yet reviewed; 2012 vintage rated 91-92 points by Josh Raynolds (Vinous): Deep ruby. A complex, assertively perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red and dark berries, potpourri and anise, with a hint of smokiness in the background. Smooth and broad on entry, then tighter in the mid-palate, offering spicy… ...
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Domaine du Terme Gigondas Reserve 2011  (#329122)

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

Not yet reviewed; 2012 vintage rated 91-92 points by Josh Raynolds (Vinous): Deep ruby. A complex, assertively perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red and dark berries, potpourri and anise, with a hint of smokiness in the background. Smooth and broad on…

1.5L Magnum | In stock, 12+ available
91 points Jeb Dunnuck: Value seekers need to latch on to a few bottles of the 2016 Côtes du Rhône from Domaine de la Solitude. This Provençal beauty boasts notes of peppery herbs, dark fruits, and incense, is medium to full-bodied, has tons of fruit, and a great finish. It’s ideal for drinking over… ...
JD 91
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Domaine de la Solitude Cotes-du-Rhone La Solitude 2016  (#333051)

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

91 points Jeb Dunnuck: Value seekers need to latch on to a few bottles of the 2016 Côtes du Rhône from Domaine de la Solitude. This Provençal beauty boasts notes of peppery herbs, dark fruits, and incense, is medium to full-bodied, has tons of fruit,…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
Blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah. Beautiful deep color. The attack is round and dense, with spicy fruit developing on the mid-palate. Beautiful Minervois and very charming. ...
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Luc Lapeyre Minervois San Bres 2015  (#332510)

Rhone Blends - Red from Minervois, Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah. Beautiful deep color. The attack is round and dense, with spicy fruit developing on the mid-palate. Beautiful Minervois and very charming.

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12 available
95-97 points Jeb Dunnuck: A wine that’s going to rival or surpass the 2015, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Réservée shows the quality of this awesome vintage with its deep, powerful, concentrated style. While Laurence says her 2015s remind her of her 2010s, I find a certain 2010-like purity in… ...
JD 95-97
WA 93-95
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Pegau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Reservee 2016  (#333150)

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

95-97 points Jeb Dunnuck: A wine that’s going to rival or surpass the 2015, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Réservée shows the quality of this awesome vintage with its deep, powerful, concentrated style. While Laurence says her 2015s remind her of…

750ml Bottle | Pre-arrival, 12+ available
JD 95-97
WA 93-95
PRE-ARRIVAL
91 points Josh Raynolds (Vinous): Lurid ruby-red. Powerful, spice-accented aromas of dark berries and violet, joined by a smoky quality that builds in the glass. Chewy and broad on the palate, offering sappy black currant and bitter cherry flavors and a touch of dark chocolate. Youthfully tannic on… ...
V 91
WE 91
WA 90
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Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Rouge Paso Robles 2016  (#333683)

Rhone Blends - Red from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California

91 points Josh Raynolds (Vinous): Lurid ruby-red. Powerful, spice-accented aromas of dark berries and violet, joined by a smoky quality that builds in the glass. Chewy and broad on the palate, offering sappy black currant and bitter cherry flavors…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 10 available
$19.95
$25.00
Save $5.05 (20%)25.00
Save $5.05 (20%)
90-92 points Josh Raynolds (Vinous): (raised in concrete and stainless steel vats) Ruby-red. Smoke-accented red berries, lavender and succulent herbs on the highly perfumed nose. Spicy and expansive on the palate, offering sweet cassis, raspberry and floral pastille flavors that show good clarity… ...
V 90-92
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La Bastide Saint-Vincent Vacqueyras Pavane 2015  (#333125)

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

90-92 points Josh Raynolds (Vinous): (raised in concrete and stainless steel vats) Ruby-red. Smoke-accented red berries, lavender and succulent herbs on the highly perfumed nose. Spicy and expansive on the palate, offering sweet cassis, raspberry and…

375ml Half Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
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