The variety of red wine produced in the southern Rhône is a story of slopes and stones, with one common denominator—Grenache. The Rhône Valley is so wide it takes nearly an hour in the car to traverse. You’ll notice when driving across that there are many hills and plateaus located in the valley—great vineyards aren’t only planted on the sides, but nearly everywhere. The stones? You can hardly take a step in a vineyard without finding stones littering the soil or the galets roulés—large, rounded riverbed stones made famous by Châteauneuf but also found in Lirac and elsewhere. It’s a challenge to walk, let alone work, in the midst of these vines. But the vines no doubt work harder than anyone, and the vineyards are planted predominantly to Grenache with a handful of other grapes, like Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, and Carignan. The proof, as we like to say, is in the bottle. The various combinations of slopes, stones, and grapes create nearly unlimited diversity. Unlimited is a lot of wine, so we’ve selected just twelve to present to you in this collection. They hail from the various corners of the southern Rhône, all represent different appellations, and some are made to drink now (Beaumes-de-Venise, Pigeoulet, Il Fait Soif) and others can be held for a few years (Floureto, Côtes du Vivarais, Gigondas). If you stash one away for a number of years, let it be Vieux Télégraphe, from Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Domaine Les Pallières France | Southern Rhône | Gigondas
If you’re familiar with the wines of Vieux Télégraphe, you know that grapes in the hands of the Brunier brothers are treated respectfully to coax nuance and finesse.
Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe France | Southern Rhône | Châteauneuf-du-Pape
The wine is at once pleasure, richness, depth, and freshness. The body is velvety and not at all aggressive. You smell the stones, the minerality, a smokiness, the magnificent old-vines Grenache fruit.
The list of factors goes on and our list of overachievers could, too. For now, we’ve narrowed down our selections to twenty-four wines—four each at six price points, because tremendous value isn’t exclusive to inexpensive bottlings. You can find it at all prices, from $12 to $120, as these wines resoundingly show.
Few wines pair better with grilled foods than a savory, smoky expression of Syrah. Additionally, its characteristic spice and assertive flavor make it a great partner to many dishes in Indian, Pakistani, Persian, North African, and eastern Mediterranean cuisines, without forgetting its affinity to rustic French cooking.
Many of our best values, all in one place for your browsing pleasure: bargain whites, rosés, reds, and even a couple of sparklers, made by real people and reefer-shipped so they arrive in your hands in nothing less than perfect condition.
Her wonderfully complex terroir of schist, granite, and galets roulés (alluvial riverbed stones) produces some of the most ethereal rosés you’ll ever taste. And the olive oil—well, it isn’t easy for us to get as excited about olive oil as about wine, but when you taste these, you’ll understand why they have become Corsica’s pride and joy.
You will be hard pressed to find better wines anywhere in the Côte Chalonnaise, and don’t underestimate their appellations—de Villaine wines routinely outperform more prestigious, more expensive appellations.
In very few appellations throughout France and Italy do we import the wines of three or more domaines. Joining Bandol, Meursault, Morgon, and a few others in that short list is Pic Saint-Loup, situated forty-five minutes north of Montpellier.
The Geggiano winemaking operation is about as artisanal as can be, housed in a thirteenth-century cellar filled with nothing but old wooden casks, where the elixir of these Tuscan hillsides patiently blossoms to maturity...
While Barolo and Barbaresco are aged for years in wood before release, many growers also bottle a fresher, lighter, more approachable expression of the variety under the Langhe Nebbiolo denomination...
It’s as if the fossil-laden chalky soil running through Chablis has helped create a wine that is a visceral reminder of our amphibian past, with its bracing smell of waterfalls and oncoming rain, wet stone and coastal citrus groves. Briny, crisp, chiseled, and mouthwatering, it refreshes and invigorates.
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