The most recent issue of The Wine Spectator featured a review of the 2016 vintage. Rhone wines are some of the most affordable French wines and generally portray a heartiness and fullness of flavor. The Rhone Valley is in the Southeast part of France abutting the Rhone River. Numerous grapes are grown, both white and red, but Grenache and Syrah dominate.
The Wine Spectator gave the vintage a 99 rating, the best in ten years. To verify this, I decided to try a few from 2016. I found three under $15 at ABC Fine Wine. The first is a 2016 Famille Perrin Cotes du Rhone Reserve. Perrin is the most respected producer in the Rhone Valley and is noted for it’s higher end wine, Chateau Beaucastel. The Famille Perrin started somewhat dry and tannic, but soon developed a roundness and structure that was very enjoyable. It had good body and pleasant finish. Great wine for the price. My wife and I enjoyed it with pork tenderloin. Great match.
Belleruche Cotes-du-Rhone from M. Chapoutier. Along with Perrin, Chapoutier is one of the top producers in the Rhone Valley. This wine was very deep at onset and quite tannic and astringent. At 14% alcohol, it was a big wine. As dinner progressed, it became more enjoyable with good complexity and body. It was a bit too strong for my wife.
Les Carteresses Cotes-du-Rhone -The previous two wines did not list their grape content but this states clearly it is made from 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Carignan, and 10% Mouvedre. Carignan is the most popular red blending grape in France and allows the winemaker to keep the price low. This was not produced by a dominant winery but more likely a custom bottler. Since it was imported by Grantham Distributing (ABC) this is probably their arrangement.
This was not as rich as the previous wines, but from the outset was very smooth and flavorful. Very approachable and balanced with medium body. My wife thought it light but I believe it was a good representative of Cotes-du-Rhone.
Enjoyed it with lamb burger, stuffed mushrooms, winter squash and zucchini.