Tasting Notes, Nov. 16, 2019; Southern Rhone

2018 Domaine les Grands Bois ‘Le Viognier’ Côtes du Rhône Blanc

Sainte Cécile, FR

Regular Price $19.99

Sale price $15.99

100% Viognier, the wine is fresh and bright with stone fruit and floral aromas and flavors. Nicely weighted and balanced, it finishes with crisp citrus acidity. It’s Viognier as it should be…unoaked, aromatic and very pretty.

2017 Domaine Charvin Côtes du Rhône Blanc

Orange, FR

Regular Price $31.99

Sale price $24.99

Crisp and fresh and full and rich, this blend of 15% Grenache Blanc, 20% Clairette old, 20% Roussanne, and 45% Bourboulenc over-delivers. With great texture and balance, this is another of those many big whites that make wine bigots and their  ‘only red’ stance look foolish. But then again, that can be said of all bigotry.

2017 Domaine Gour de Chaule ‘Amour de Rose’ Gigondas

Gigondas, FR

Regular Price $32.99 

Sale price $23.99

Composed of Cinsault (50%), Grenache, and Mourvedre, this pale and luminous rosé is a rarity from Gigondas, which is dominated by red wines (there is no such thing as a white Gigondas). And of course, its both age worthy and appropriate for fall imbibing (do people still think  rosé is a summer wine?). Richly flavored and brightly acidic, its very much a rosé for food (and fall) and works well with charcuterie, paté (of all types), white meats and seasonal vegetables.

2017 Domaine Palon Gigondas

Gigondas, FR

Regular Price $22.99 

Sale price $17.99

This blend of 79% Grenache, 15% Syrah, and 6% Mourvèdre walks the line between new and old world styles. Full and ripe but not lacking in the more nuanced garrigue aromas that perfume the wines of the southern Rhone. Touches of vanilla and smoke add some drama and the wine is chock full of alcohol (15%), but the overall weight provides sufficient support. 

2016 Domaine les Aphillanthes ‘Cuvée 3 Cépages’  Côtes du Rhône Villages Sainte Cécile 

Sainte Cécile, FR

Regular Price $24.99 

Sale price $19.99

The name ‘Cuvée 3 Cépages’ refers to the fact that this wine is made from equal parts of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, all picked at the same time and co-fermented in concrete tanks (that’s right, yet another unoaked red). The resulting wine is lush and rich and a bit fruit forward with a healthy dollop of alcohol (14.5% ABV) but with enough weight and structure and acidity to carry the alcohol. It’s a big, full bodied wine that is nonetheless balanced by firm tannins and invigorating acidity. It’s getting cold outside; this is a wine for the upcoming (or current) season.

2017 Domaine de la Janasse ‘Cuvée Chaupin’ Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Courthezon, FR

Regular Price $89.99 

Sale price $66.99

This is a seriously old vine (100+ years) Châteauneuf made entirely of Grenache. Its juicy and rich and bold with just a hint of oak but with plenty of ripe fruit and structured tannins. This wine exemplifies the modern style of Chateauneuf, yet still possesses charm and balance along with its more bombastic effects. It’s a pretty much a dancing bear, but one that actually dances pretty damn well.