Traditionally, blending is the rule, rather than the exception, in Côte Rôtie. Despite the proliferation of single-vineyard prestige cuvées, stalwarts like Jean-Paul Jamet and Louis Barruol continue to produce classic Côte Rôtie composed of multiple vineyards that, when blended, showcase the whole of the appellation. This elegant 2016 bottling is made from six different parcels expertly vinified by Louis Barruol—a fourteenth-generation vigneron, by the way—and blended by Kermit in Louis’s ancient cellars. At the risk of sounding inelegant, the 2016, with its concentrated fruit and smoky black olive note, is straight-up delicious.
If the king of the southern Rhône—Grenache—married the queen of the northern Rhône—Syrah—and had a beautiful child that bore the best features of each, that prince would be Domaine Gallety’s red Côtes du Vivarais. Here, in the small commune of Saint-Montan, halfway between Cornas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Alain Gallety and his son David-Alexandre grow Syrah and Grenache and craft this rouge with equal parts of each. Syrah’s savoriness and notes of pepper, together with Grenache’s stoniness, are balanced by an open-knit structure and ripe juiciness that make this wine ready to drink today. Because Côtes du Vivarais is less well known than the storied appellations of the North and the South, this red stands among France’s best values. Pair it with grilled meat, roasted eggplant, or Chris Lee’s Tomato and Cantal Cheese Galette for a sublime match.
If ever a wine qualified as a “winter white,” it’s this one. The satiny, luxurious blend of Grenache Blanc, Clairette, and Roussanne is a liquid scarf that wards off the gloom of short, cold days with a foreshadowing of the ripe summer stone fruits to come.
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