Côtes du Rhône (Hills of the Rhône in French) is red wine from southern Rhone Valley in France. Unlike northern Rhone wines which are single varietal (Syrah), Côtes du Rhône (CdR) and Châteauneuf-du-Pape (CDP) are produced with the famous GSM blend. Grenache (for fruit and acidity), Syrah (for dark color and spice) and Mourvèdre (for tannins and structure) are the primary grapes with smaller amounts of other grapes.
50% of CdR wines are the “entry level” classification and are primarily Grenache. These wines cost below $20 and are ready to drink upon release though decanting is always helpful. The better CdR wines are “village” level from the Côtes du Rhône-Villages appellation. And the best CdR are from one of 16 villages whose name appears in lieu of “Villages” (names such as Cairanne, Seguret, Sablet). Villages CdR may be slightly more expensive ($20-$25) and can age 3-5 years.
BOUTINOT Cairanne Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2010
Rhone Valley, France $20
Predominately Grenache with Syrah, small amount of Mourvèdre and Carignan Noir.
If you’re not impressed with your first CdR, try a different GSM blend. Many CdR’s are Grenache dominant so try one with more Syrah or Mourvèdre.
Wine Spectator 91 rating “Very fleshy and engaging, with plum, blackberry and blueberry flavors, buttressed by roasted apple wood notes. Lively acidity keeps the finish pumping along. Drink now through 2016”
CHATEAU BEAUCHENE Côtes du Rhône 2014
Rhone Valley, France $12
60% Grenache, 27% Syrah 27%, 3% Cinsault, 10% Carignan
Wine & Spirits says “Intense garnet red in color. this wine develops bouquet of red ripe fruits, violets and blackcurrant, with a woody and spicy hint on finish. palate is round and unctuous, this wine is full and supple. The tannins are present but well-blended with long lasting flavor.”
Cheers, Bob the Wineguy
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