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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94-96 points Josh Raynolds (Vinous): Deep ruby. Deeply perfumed aromas of ripe red and dark berries, candied flowers and garrigue slowly pick up a spicy element as the wine stretches out. Juicy and seamless on the palate, offering alluringly sweet black raspberry, spicecake and lavender pastille… ...
V 94-96
JD 95
WS 95
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Vaudieu Chateauneuf-du-Pape Val de Dieu 2016  (#332901)

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

94-96 points Josh Raynolds (Vinous): Deep ruby. Deeply perfumed aromas of ripe red and dark berries, candied flowers and garrigue slowly pick up a spicy element as the wine stretches out. Juicy and seamless on the palate, offering alluringly sweet…

750ml Bottle | Pre-arrival, 12+ available
V 94-96
JD 95
WS 95
PRE-ARRIVAL
$59.95
$90.00
Save $30.05 (33%)90.00
Save $30.05 (33%)
92-94 points Josh Raynolds (Vinous): Dark ruby. Potent mineral- and smoke-accented cherry, boysenberry and garrigue scents pick up a sexy incense nuance as the wine opens up. Sweet, seamless and penetrating on the palate, offering intense red and blue fruit, spicecake and lavender pastille flavors… ...
V 92-94
WA 91-93
JD 91-93
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Domaine du Cayron Gigondas 2015  (#332506)

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

92-94 points Josh Raynolds (Vinous): Dark ruby. Potent mineral- and smoke-accented cherry, boysenberry and garrigue scents pick up a sexy incense nuance as the wine opens up. Sweet, seamless and penetrating on the palate, offering intense red and…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 5 available
V 92-94
WA 91-93
JD 91-93
$29.95
$46.00
Save $16.05 (35%)46.00
Save $16.05 (35%)
96 points Jeb Dunnuck: Similarly colored, the 2016 Gigondas Vieilles Vignes (80% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre) offers a killer bouquet of blackcurrants, sappy garrigue, exotic spices, and leafy herbs. It's full-bodied, ultra-pure, seamless and silky, with no hard edges and beautiful balance. Checking… ...
JD 96
WA 93
V 91-93
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Saint-Damien Gigondas Vieilles Vignes 2016  (#334055)

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

96 points Jeb Dunnuck: Similarly colored, the 2016 Gigondas Vieilles Vignes (80% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre) offers a killer bouquet of blackcurrants, sappy garrigue, exotic spices, and leafy herbs. It's full-bodied, ultra-pure, seamless and silky,…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
JD 96
WA 93
V 91-93
95-97 points Jeb Dunnuck: ...it has a vibrant, mineral-laced personality that I’m sure is loved by Laurent. As classic as it gets, with a rocking bouquet of black, black fruits, garrigue, crushed rocks, and pepper, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, remarkable concentration, yet also the… ...
JD 95-97
JS 95-96
V 94-96
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Charvin Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2016  (#333420)

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

95-97 points Jeb Dunnuck: ...it has a vibrant, mineral-laced personality that I’m sure is loved by Laurent. As classic as it gets, with a rocking bouquet of black, black fruits, garrigue, crushed rocks, and pepper, it hits the palate with full-bodied…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 7 available
JD 95-97
JS 95-96
V 94-96
93-95 points Jeb Dunnuck: Not yet bottled, the 2017 All Blocks comes from all the vineyards Tensley works with (although it’s mostly Colson Canyon Grenache). This deep ruby/purple-colored effort offers up a terrific bouquet of smoked earth, cured meats, pepper, and both blue and black fruits. It’s… ...
JD 93-95
WS 94
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Tensley All Blocks Estate Blend Tensley Vineyards Santa Barbara 2017  (#334752)

Rhone Blends - Red from Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California

93-95 points Jeb Dunnuck: Not yet bottled, the 2017 All Blocks comes from all the vineyards Tensley works with (although it’s mostly Colson Canyon Grenache). This deep ruby/purple-colored effort offers up a terrific bouquet of smoked earth, cured…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
93 points Jeb Dunnuck: Made from 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, and 10% Cinsault, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Olivets is a winner in this great vintage. Blackcurrants, black olives, licorice, and peppery notes all flow to a ripe, sexy, opulent Châteauneuf-du-Pape that has terrific purity, ripe tannin… ...
JD 93
WS 92
WA 92
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Sabon/Roger Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Olivets 2016  (#333133)

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

93 points Jeb Dunnuck: Made from 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, and 10% Cinsault, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Olivets is a winner in this great vintage. Blackcurrants, black olives, licorice, and peppery notes all flow to a ripe, sexy, opulent…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
JD 93
WS 92
WA 92
$33.95
$45.00
Save $11.05 (25%)45.00
Save $11.05 (25%)
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 | Pre-arrival, 12+ available
WS 94
WA 93
V 91-93
PRE-ARRIVAL
$39.95
$55.00
Save $15.05 (27%)55.00
Save $15.05 (27%)
93 points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): The 2016 M5, Margerum's Grenache/Syrah-based wine, is lifted and gracious, with generous Grenache red-toned fruit leading the way. Medium in body and understated, the 2016 finishes with terrific energy and verve. Drink: 2020-2031. (Sep 2018) ...
AG 93
JD 92
WS 91
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Margerum M5 Santa Barbara County 2016  (#334678)

Rhone Blends - Red from Santa Barbara County, Central Coast, California

93 points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): The 2016 M5, Margerum's Grenache/Syrah-based wine, is lifted and gracious, with generous Grenache red-toned fruit leading the way. Medium in body and understated, the 2016 finishes with terrific energy and verve.…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
AG 93
JD 92
WS 91
$21.95
$28.00
Save $6.05 (22%)28.00
Save $6.05 (22%)
92 points Wine & Spirits: If you like old-vine grenache from South Australia, check out this grenache/syrah blend; Angela Osborne sourced it from four sites farmed by Ruben Solorzano (which is to say, it comes from a sort of Santa Barbara grenache dream team). It has a rich, umami-laden red-cherry… ...
W&S 92
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Folded Hills August Red Santa Ynez Valley 2015  (#330270)

Rhone Blends - Red from Santa Ynez Valley, Central Coast, California

92 points Wine & Spirits: If you like old-vine grenache from South Australia, check out this grenache/syrah blend; Angela Osborne sourced it from four sites farmed by Ruben Solorzano (which is to say, it comes from a sort of Santa Barbara grenache…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre and Cinsault. ip your nose into a glass of Serge Férigoule’s Vacqueyras: you’ll find the liquid reincarnation of the stony terroir from which this red hails. Garrigue—wild thyme, rosemary, and, judging from the scent, some lavender—grows copiously around the… ...
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Le Sang des Cailloux Vaqueyras Cuvee Floureto 2016  (#333673)

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

70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre and Cinsault. ip your nose into a glass of Serge Férigoule’s Vacqueyras: you’ll find the liquid reincarnation of the stony terroir from which this red hails. Garrigue—wild thyme, rosemary, and, judging from the…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$29.95
$34.00
Save $4.05 (12%)34.00
Save $4.05 (12%)
93 points Jeb Dunnuck: The top wine of the estate based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, the 2015 Cairanne Vieilles Vignes' ruby purple color is followed by a classic, elegant bouquet of dark fruits, black olive, incense, and peppery garrigue. Medium-bodied, tight, and nicely structured on the… ...
JD 93
WA 90
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Alary Cairanne Vieilles Vignes 2015  (#333809)

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

93 points Jeb Dunnuck: The top wine of the estate based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, the 2015 Cairanne Vieilles Vignes' ruby purple color is followed by a classic, elegant bouquet of dark fruits, black olive, incense, and peppery garrigue.…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
91-94 points Jeb Dunnuck: I loved the 2016 Cairanne Maximilien and it offers terrific notes of plums, scorched earth, pepper and distinct minerality in a full-bodied, opulent, unctuous package. Made from 50% Grenache, 35% Mourvèdre and 15% Syrah, drink this smoking good red over the coming 6-7 years… ...
JD 91-94
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Grands Bois Cotes du Rhone-Villages Cairanne Cuvee Maximilien 2016  (#333816)

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

91-94 points Jeb Dunnuck: I loved the 2016 Cairanne Maximilien and it offers terrific notes of plums, scorched earth, pepper and distinct minerality in a full-bodied, opulent, unctuous package. Made from 50% Grenache, 35% Mourvèdre and 15% Syrah,…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
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