Updated: Aug 2, 2020
Quarantine has been kinder to me than most. And one of the reasons it’s been so good to me is because I’ve been sipping and reading about the wines from France’s famous Rhône Valley the whole time.
Being a lover of the lighter reds and rosés, I was a bit skeptical that I would find any Rhône wines that I really loved, but I was happily wrong. Here below are some of my favorite ones from this series!
1) Domaine de Montine, Côtes-du-Rhône rouge – $9
Yes, really. This wine was only $9, post import fees AND it’s good enough for top billing on this post. This wine was almost a little too delicious. Full of juicy raspberries and blackberries that just exploded on the palate – it went down way too easy. I got it from Warehouse Wines & Spirits, and it is among the best purchases I made during the quarantine. Domaine de Montine is an exceptional, organic certified, biodynamic and family owned Domaine in Grignan-les-Adhémar. I loved this wine so much I’m definitely going to be on the lookout for more from them – that is if I don’t just order a whole case tonight!
2) Château d’Aqueria, Tavel Rosé, $26
There’s no mistaking Tavel. And what’s more, there’s no mistaking its reputation. People LOVE this appellation – given the response I received on Instagram when I posted this bottle, I’d argue that this is France’s most popular and well loved rosé appellation, even with the famous Côtes-de-Provence serving up some real competition. This is among one of the top rosés I’ve ever had. Blood orange, complex, beautifully perfumed – among my favorites from the Rhône any time, any place. Purchased at Wine.com.
3) Le Grand Comtadine, Vacqueyras – $12
I think Vacqueyras is quickly becoming one of my favorite Côte du Rhône crus. This one in particular was a beautiful balance of violet florals, raspberries, and a bit of black pepper on the end. Wonderfully soft and supple, this would be a great food pairing! Also – can you believe this price?? This is an incredible wine all around!
This was a gift from WTSO.
4) Domaine de Verquière, Rasteau – $18
This baby was a mix of spice, earth, and dark fruits. If you like fuller-bodied red wines but aren’t in the mood to pay a pretty penny for Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe or Cornas, this wine might be the ticket for you. Definitely needs some decanting time to open up. Not my favorite but it pairs excellently with smoked gouda, sharp cheddar, and various charcuterie. Purchased from Warehouse Wines & Spirits.
5) Domaine du Vieux Lazaret, Ventoux – $16
This was a gift from Famille Quiot on behalf of the #Collectif21.
Yet another wine that proves there *is* incredible QPR to be found in the Rhône! Like the Rasteau before it, this wasn’t my all-time favorite wine from the Southern Rhône, probably because it was a little heavier in terms of body. That being said, still a beautiful expression of terroir, and definitely a producer to add to the list. Famille Quiot has been producing wines in the Rhône for 300 years. Now that’s some history and tradition that can’t be beat!
6) Domaine de Dionysos, Cairanne – $17
Cairanne is the newest Côtes du Rhône cru, appointed as such in 2016. This one was a bit lighter than its cousin, Rasteau, with notes of dark cherry, tending to be on a more medium body rather than heavy. The acidity was wonderfully balanced, with lower alcohol than its other southern Rhône appellations as well. This was a gift from WTSO, but usually retails for about $17.
7) Domaine Gour de Chaulé, Gigondas – $31
WOW is all I can say about this Gigondas. This is an exceptional wine. Medium bodied, well balanced between tannin and acid, and bursting with aromas of plum, blackberry, and allspice. On the palate it’s juicy and an amazing food pairing. While is has higher alcohol as well, the balance is so well done that you barely notice (which is dangerous!). Incredible value for $31, this wine is impeccable and one of my favorite Côtes du Rhône crus to date.
This was a gift from WineSplurge, a digital retailer that specializes in representing small producers.
8) Domaine Barville, Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe Blanc – $35
$35 for a Châteauneuf-du-Pape? SIGN. ME. UP. We certainly couldn’t round things out on Rhône without an overview of CNDP! This was probably one of the most unusual wines I’ve ever had. On the nose, stunning mineral notes of wet stone, with a bit of salinity tossed in there. Secondary notes for me were overripe apple and pear – yum! This was a great one to pair with swordfish and could probably stand up to salmon. It just has the structure and body to do so. Not my favorite white wine in the world, but it’s certainly memorable and stands apart from the rest.
The Rhône Valley wines overall absolutely stunned me – then again, did I expect anything less? One of my favorite discoveries from this series was the fact that you can truly find great wines for affordable prices no matter where you are in the Rhône – from Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe to Tavel and beyond. Santé to great wine!