Sixteen wines were featured in the Rhône roundup, and a quarter of them made my wine picks. The Valériane is a blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah, from old vines that are between 30-40 years of age, while the Lafond Lirac is 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 5% Carignan, and 5% Mourvèdre. The Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of 80% old vines Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre, and 5% others. And finally, the Clos Bellane is an unspecified Grenache-blend. As you can see from the above, Grenache tends to play a large role in Rhône, with Syrah not far behind. Within the region, wine can be traced as far back 600 B.C., and many houses have long traditions dating back several generations. Personally, Rhône is one of my favourite wine regions and I am quite pleased with the selection available in this release.
All six white wines I've recommended below are from the secondary focus on crisp white wines. None of these wines are sweet, and five are the classic, cool French grapes - Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. The Sancerre is a Sauvignon Blanc, while the Chablis is an unoaked Chardonnay. If you want to try something different and off the beaten path, then check out the Picpoul de Pinet - it's made using the Piquepoul grape, meant to served well-chilled and pairs well with seafood and shellfish.
From the rest of the release, the 2012 Bila-Haut continues to be a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan (same as the 2011), while the Château Vincens is an Malbec/Merlot (80/20) blend. There are a couple of very ageable reds from the Iberian peninsula that would make worthy additions to your cellar. Both of these wines are made using only local grapes - the Castro Ventosa is a 100% Mencía, while the Meandro do Vale is 35% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca, 27% Tinta Roriz, 3% Sousão, 3% Tinta Barroca and 2% Tinto Cão. The Barolo is, of course, made with Nebbiolo, and can be aged for at least the next dozen years.
Enjoy my wine picks for this week and let me know if you try any of these! Cheers!
- M. CHAPOUTIER LES VIGNES DE BILA-HAUT CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON VILLAGES 2012 - AC, Midi, France (#168716) (D) - $14.95
- DOMAINE LES YEUSES LES ÉPICES SYRAH 2011 - IGP Pays d’Oc, Midi, France (#177584) (XD) - $14.95
- FABRE MONTMAYOU RESERVA MALBEC 2012 - Mendoza, Argentina (#261867) (XD) - $15.95
- CHÂTEAU VINCENS PRESTIGE 2011 - AC Cahors, Southwest, France (#272427) (XD) - $17.95
- DOMAINE DE LA VALÉRIANE VIEILLES VIGNES CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2012 - AC, Rhône, France (#374280) (XD) - $17.95
- ROLF BINDER HALES SHIRAZ 2010 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#054239) (XD) - $18.95
- DOMAINE LAFOND ROC-ÉPINE LIRAC 2011 - AP, Rhône, France (#128660) (XD) - $18.95 reviewed here
- MONTES ALPHA SYRAH 2010 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#000612) (XD) - $19.95
- CLOS BELLANE CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES VALRÉAS 2010 - AP, Rhône, France (#374991) (XD) - $19.95
- MEANDRO DO VALE MEÃO 2011 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#244731) (XD) - $24.95
- CASTRO VENTOSA EL CASTRO DE VALTUILLE 2010 - DO Bierzo, Spain (#366930) (XD) - $27.95
- MARZIANO ABBONA TERLO RAVERA BAROLO 2008 - DOCG, Piedmont, France (#067918) (XD) - $49.95
- E. GUIGAL CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2007 - AC, Rhône, France (#727503) (XD) - $59.95
- BEAUVIGNAC PICPOUL DE PINET 2013 - AC Coteaux du Languedoc, Midi, France (#350124) (XD) - $13.95
- LA JOYA RESERVE VIOGNIER 2013 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#168542) (XD) - $14.95
- JACKSON-TRIGGS GRAND RESERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#367797) (XD) - $19.95
- STONELEIGH LATITUDE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2012 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#324228) (XD) - $21.95 reviewed here
- ROGER & DIDIER RAIMBAULT SANCERRE BLANC 2012 - AC, Loire, France (#082255) (XD) - $27.95
- JEAN-MARC BROCARD VAUCOUPIN CHABLIS 1 ER CRU 2011 - AC, Burgundy, France (#288019) (XD) - $27.95
The rest of the wines from this release can be found here.