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Rhône Valley

Ferraton Pere & Fils Côtes du Rhône Samorëns Blanc 2016

Ferraton Pere & Fils Côtes du Rhône Samorëns Blanc 2016

A winsome blend of 60% White Grenache and 40% Clairette grown in clay lime soils, the 2016 Ferraton Pere & Fils Côtes du Rhône Samorëns Blanc has a subtle nose of pear and dried yellow apple, followed by a lilting top note of jasmine. It's soft on entry, with flavors that match the nose, save for a suggestion of lees and lemon zest that wends its way through to a long, mouthwatering finish. Biodynamically-farmed. 13.5% ABV | Sample Ferraton Pere & Fils 8.9 Points ...

Yves Cheron Les Dentelles Côtes du Rhône 2015

Yves Cheron Les Dentelles Côtes du Rhône 2015

I wanted to find a little more concentration of fruit at the core of this otherwise easy-drinking blend of 65% Grenache and 35% Syrah from Yves Cheron. The 2015 'Les Dentelles' sports a classic Southern Rhône profile of plums and blackberries couched in garrigue, warm spice, and dried violet. It's bright on the palate, not surprising given that this wine is aged in concrete—a vessel that enhances acidity and minerality, as well as pure fruit expression. It finishes with pronounced notes of iron ore, peppercorn, and dried herbs. 13.5% ABV Vignobles Cheron 8.8 Points...

Clos du Joncuas Côtes du Rhône Villages Séguret Domaine de la Garancière 2015

Clos du Joncuas Côtes du Rhône Villages Séguret Domaine de la Garancière 2015

From organically farmed old-vine Grenache, with a smidge of Carignan and Cinsault. The 2015 Domaine la Garancière Seguret radiates black fruit on the nose—a bit deceptive because the true red-fruited character of Grenache comes through on the palate. Layered flavors of raspberry turnover, roasted strawberries, and a suggestion of black blackstrap molasses dissolves into chewy tannins, damp earth, garrigue, and char. Clos du Joncuas 8.8 Points...

Domaine de la Mordorée Plume du Peintre Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2014

Domaine de la Mordorée Plume du Peintre Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2014

Brooding, serious and bordering on high-octane, the 2014 Domaine de la Mordorée Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Belle Voyageuse-du-Pape opens with notes of blackberry reduction, freshly turned soil, graphite and violets. A faint topnote of barnyard eventually blows off revealing a wine with lots of power and verve, firm tannins and close of Garrigue and spice. Lots to love in this blend of 75% Grenache, 14% Mourvèdre, 7% Syrah, and 2% each of Counoise and Vaccarese. It's even better on the second day. 15.0% ABV Domaine de la Mordorée 9.3 Points...

Domaine d'Ouréa Gigondas 2014

Domaine d’Ouréa Gigondas 2014

An example of the sort of wine I bring when visiting the boyfriend—as a chef he has a real passion for game meats, so this seemed like a good choice. Brooding plums, black cherries, and grilled meat form the base of the profile. Add to this a dusting of earth and iron ore followed by lighter notes of anise and violet. Medium-bodied with muscular, chewy tannins, aging in concrete has graced this Gigondas with texture and trace minerality. Drinking well now. 14.0% ABV Domaine d'Ouréa 8.9 Points...

Ferraton Pere & Fils Côtes du Rhône Samorëns Rosè 2016

Ferraton Pere & Fils Côtes du Rhône Samorëns Rosè 2016

Like the perfect accessory, Ferraton Pere & Fils' 2016 Samorëns Rosé matches my reading glasses. I sit here in my studio, pondering this Provencal pink, I am reminded of how much I love these wines despite a long, chilly spring in the Willamette Valley. It's a wine that manages to be energetic and delicate all at the same time. A pleasant tumble of white peach, cherry blossom, sea foam and pomace. Minerality dominates the textual landscape of the palate along with a pleasant streak of crushed green herbs. 13.5% ABV | Sample Ferraton Pere & Fils 8.8 Points...

M. Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes du Rhône 2013

M. Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes du Rhône 2013

A wine I return to year after year, simply because it's such a stellar value. Belleruche is one of Chapoutier's entry-level labels, a tempting and fleshy blend of classic Rhône varietals: Grenache blanc, Roussanne, Viognier, Clairette, and Bourboulenc. It's rife with pear and stone fruit with the merest twist of lemon peel, fennel and white flowers. On the palate, it's round and silky with enough acidic verve to keep it light on it's feet. This is a great, versatile wine to keep stocked for any occasion. 14.0% ABV Maison M. Chapoutier 8.8 Points...

Paul Jaboulet Aîné Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert 2010

Paul Jaboulet Aîné Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert 2010

Infused with smoky blueberries and blackberry jam, and crowned by lighter notes of ash, dried violets, and baking spice—the Paul Jaboulet Aîné Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert 2010 has much to offer. It's softly textured on entry, with fine, slightly woody mahogany-tinged tannins encircling a richly fruited core. From start to finish, it's a seamless wine, with enough acid and energetic thrust to ensure longevity in the cellar. 13.5% ABV Maison Paul Jaboulet 9.2 Points...

Boutinot La Côte Sauvage Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne 2012

Boutinot La Côte Sauvage Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne 2012

Flat out pretty the 2012 Boutinot La Côte Sauvage Côtes du Rhône Cairanne is a warm embrace. Juicy black cherries, plums, lavender, vanilla and perhaps even a whiff of blackberry cobbler, fresh from the oven. It's satiny smooth, with moderate acidity and body with ultra-fine tannins to match. This is a wine that will deliver near-future drinking pleasure right down to its spice infused finish, but I wouldn't cellar it for too much longer. Sample | 13.5% ABV Boutinot Wines 9.0 Points...

Cave de Tain l'Hermitage Crozes-Hermitage Grand Classique 2016

Cave de Tain l’Hermitage Crozes-Hermitage Grand Classique 2016

A lovely winter white, the Cave de Tain Crozes-Hermitage Grand Classique 2016 is composed of 100% Marsanne, sourced from granitic slopes of Hermitage. It's got that classic Marsanne profile; Asian pear, white peach, blanched almond and just a touch of lanolin. I love the tension in this wine, one that perpetually borders on silky richness and mineral-driven acidity, with a prolonged finish of limestone and citrus. An excellent value. Sample Cave de Tain 9.1 Points...