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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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

90+ points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): ...75% Cariñena, 19% Garnacha and 6% Syrah that fermented with natural yeasts and with only 20% of the volume put in new oak barrels for 12 months. This feels more elegant than the other reds here, representative of the house style, with character and… ...

WA 90
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Celler Cecilio Black Slate Gratallops Vi de la Vila Priorat 2016  (#702026)

Rhone Blends - Red from Priorat, Spain

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available

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

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

100 points Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate): Composed of 80.5% Syrah, 7% Petite Syrah, 7% Mourvèdre, 2% Grenache and 3.5% Viognier, all sourced from estate vineyards--37% The Third Twin, 36% Eleven Confessions and 27% Cumulus--the 2015 Syrah Trouver L Arene was made using 34% whole cluster and… ...

WA 100
JD 96-99
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Sine Qua Non Syrah California Trouver l'Arene 2015  (#331744)

Rhone Blends - Red from Central Coast, California

750ml Bottle | In stock, 3 available

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%)

96-100 points Jeb Dunnuck: Violets, spring flowers, cassis, plums, and incense notes all define the stunningly good 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Imperiale. Made from 100% Grenache from very old vines, it's full-bodied and powerful, yet also graceful, balanced and pure, with terrific freshness and purity… ...

JD 96-100
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Usseglio/Raymond Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Imperiale 2016  (#331672)

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

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

97+ points Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate): Blended of 48% Syrah, 21% Mourvèdre, 20% Grenache, 10% Petite Sirah and 1% Roussanne, the 2015 Broken Stones displays a deep garnet-purple color and nose of freshly crushed black cherries and blueberries with touches of fertile loam, garrigue, mossy… ...

WA 97
JD 94-96
V 95
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Saxum Broken Stones Paso Robles 2015  (#332734)

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

750ml Bottle | In stock, 5 available
WA 97
JD 94-96
V 95

96 points Jeb Dunnuck: ...500 cases... 90/10 split of Grenache and Syrah. Fermented without destemming and aged in 20% new barrels, this beauty boasts a huge nose of smoked meats, pepper, camphor and layered black raspberry and cassis-like fruit. Full-bodied, opulent and powerful, with a big mid… ...

JD 96
WS 96
WA 94
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Saint Cosme Gigondas Valbelle 2015  (#331147)

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

750ml Bottle | In stock, 2 available
JD 96
WS 96
WA 94

95 points Wine Spectator: A ripe, velvety style, with lush layers of fig, boysenberry and blueberry reduction that are dense yet caressing in feel. Lovely anise and violet notes chime in through the finish, which is carried by a well-buried bolt of iron. Serious juice. Grenache and Syrah. Best from… ...

WS 95
JD 95
V 92-94
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Autard Chateauneuf-du-Pape Juline 2015  (#331139)

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

750ml Bottle | In stock, 2 available
WS 95
JD 95
V 92-94
$79.95
$100.00
Save $20.05 (20%)100.00
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95 points Wine Spectator: Enticing, with bright, engaging raspberry, cherry and red currant fruit infused with gently roasted sandalwood and apple wood, garrigue and licorice root notes. A swath of tobacco underscores the finish, giving this an old-school hint. Best from 2020 through 2040. 2,500… ...

WS 95
JD 91-93
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Giraud Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2016  (#332832)

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

750ml Bottle | Pre-arrival, 12+ available
PRE-ARRIVAL
$39.95
$55.00
Save $15.05 (27%)55.00
Save $15.05 (27%)
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