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Rhône Valley

Alain Jaume & Fils Rasteau Les Valats 2015

Alain Jaume & Fils Rasteau Les Valats 2015

Soft, plummy and plush, the 2015 Alain Jaume & Fils Rasteau Les Valats offers ample drinking pleasure. On opening, black cherries, ripe Damson plums, cedar, sweet tobacco and menthol. The palate takes its cues from the nose, with a uniform profile—juicy black fruit cozened in velvety, ripe tannins and tempered acidity. This is a wine I would, and am, happy to enjoy it on its own. 13.5% ABV | Sample Alain Jaume & Fils 89 Points...

Domaine Amido Lirac 2014

Domaine Amido Lirac 2014

A splendidly perfumed nose that is so classic of Grenache: raspberry pastis, market strawberries, forest floor, black licorice candy, violets, and warm spice. The 2014 Domaine Amido Lirac is fresh and vibrant on the palate, with a sweet-fruited raspberry turnover core supported by ultra-fine tannins. The finish, while not lengthy, offers bay leaf and spice. I poured myself another glass without giving it a second thought, something I rarely do with samples. 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 20% Syrah | 13.0% ABV Domaine Amido 91 Points...

Alain Voge Les Vieilles Vignes Cornas 2014

Alain Voge Les Vieilles Vignes Cornas 2014

Crafted from 60 year-old biodynamically farmed Syrah, Alain Vogue's Les Vieilles Vignes Cornas 2014 is expressive, yet restrained. Blueberries and blackberries wind 'round earth, black olive, and pink peppercorn. As its opens, secondary aromas emerge: clove, cinnamon bark, cardamom, lanolin, spice, violets, incense. It’s poised, with all of the power Syrah commands, but there is freshness too. It ends on a decidedly mineral note, an arc of volcanic granite, long since decomposed. 13.5% ABV | Sample Alain Voge 91 Points...

M. Chapoutier Saint-Joseph Les Granits Blanc 2015

M. Chapoutier Saint-Joseph Les Granits Blanc 2015

M. Chapoutier's Saint-Joseph Les Granits Blanc 2015 opens with a smoky undertow that burns off like morning fog to reveal denser aromas of mandarin orange, lemon curd, poached pear, and a base note of grilled pineapple. In the mouth, this 100% Marsanne is round, silky, and wonderfully expressive—orchard fruit and orange pastille are enlivened by sonorous chords of pleasantly bitter pink grapefruit pith, baking spice, and crushed quartz. Incredible length. 13.5% ABV | Sample Maison M. Chapoutier 95 Points...

E. Guigal Château d'Ampuis Côte-Rôtie 2012

E. Guigal Château d’Ampuis Côte-Rôtie 2012

Seductive aromas of sous bois, mushroom, brambly forest fruit, cloves, cardamom, and violets, or perhaps an elusive note of heliotrope flow from the glass. Of note, Guigal's 2012 Château d'Ampuis is slightly lighter in body than the typical Cote-Rotie, but the intensity and palate tension is there—a framework of fine tannins and taught acidity that seamlessly knits together this soulful blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Viognier. The finish is one of subtle smoke and spice. 13.5% ABV | Sample E. Guigal 93 Points...

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...