7 Great Rhone Valley Wines

Top picks from Wine Spectator - 10/31


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7 Great Rhone Valley Wines The Rhone is a paradoxical place when it comes to wine. Pretty much dominated by Grenache-based blends, you’ll find they’re priced from mere dollars a bottle to hundred of dollars. So what’s the difference? Well in all honesty, probably less than you think. They all tend to be rather sweetly fruited, lightly jammy and with attractive red fruits and herbal accents. I am over simplifying things a bit, but I do think pricing has gotten way out of whack in the southern Rhone and seems to have less and less to do with what’s in the bottle.

In the North, where Syrah rules, I see much less runaway inflation, which doesn’t necessarily make the wines better values since they have always been rather highly prized by aficionados. I personally find Syrah to be more interesting than Grenache, so I might be a bit biased here.

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  • Snooth User: Qatra
    41466 16

    Since when has the Wine Spectator become the bible reference for wine? And why don't you also try to refer to other potentially more reliable wine critics esp for European wines before passing judgement?

    Oct 05, 2011 at 2:03 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,749

    I'm sorry, where did I say it was the Bible. Would like to see that.

    Passing judgment? You're kdding right?

    I guess we should refrain from discussing other sources of information until we contact the correct authorities, and you'll be sure to tell who that is right?

    Oct 05, 2011 at 2:25 PM

  • OK, new subject. How about comments on Chateau de Carles wines f rom Saillons, France .
    Carle LaCouture

    Oct 05, 2011 at 7:28 PM

  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 5,299

    Was, though, curious, Greg, about the number of times you used 'sounds like' when referring to the WS descriptions. It left me wondering if a) you might not have tasted these bottles yet, or b) you were helping people decipher the lingo used by WS et al. If the latter, kudos to you for such pointers...

    Oct 05, 2011 at 8:38 PM

  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 5,299

    Forgot to mention that I have enjoyed the Mont Olivet C9dP several times in the past. Also, I agree with your sentiments regarding the march northwards of pricing all over that region. Gigondas over $50 a bottle is patently absurd.

    Oct 05, 2011 at 8:40 PM

  • Snooth User: whauptman
    864967 2

    You are so right about Alain Graillot's wines. I have been drinking them for decades and never had a bottle I didn't enjoy. Yes, a bit pricey for La Guiraude, but the basic Crozes Hermitage is very fine indeed, and a good deal less. By the way, generic Gigondas is also a good buy. I drank several bottles when I was there this summer.

    Oct 06, 2011 at 4:41 AM

  • Good typicity means highly representative of its appelation and grape variety. Like Vini Tipici in Italy.

    NB 2009s proving to be a vg vintage - get no sense of this in article, this may be inflating the prices a bit. Try the less voguish Vacqueyras, Rasteau if your Gigondas and Chateauneufs are too pricy

    Oct 06, 2011 at 7:01 AM

  • Snooth User: whauptman
    864967 2

    Exactly. Lesser areas such as Vacqueyras are always good buys and they have not gone up significantly in 2009. What are the best producers?

    Oct 06, 2011 at 8:37 AM

  • This may sound rather amateurish, but I have never had anything less than a very good wine from either village, so am not as bothered to check who the winemaker was as I would be in the case of a larger area like the regions of Bordeaux. There are co-ops and caves and these have been fine examples too. I used to remember a Roger Combe et Fils Vacqueyras on sale at retail chain Oddbins, now defunct. We have ordered these wines when in France and the initial wariness of not recognising the grower does not survive consumption of the red liquid within I would tend to look for the the familiar shape, colour and design of bottle, alcohol level of 13.5 or more, if it by an independent vigneron so much the better. One of the joys of the Rhone, and the Alsace, for me, is that the average is pitched at a high level and the wines are distinctively of their area.

    Oct 06, 2011 at 11:00 AM

  • Snooth User: whauptman
    864967 2

    Thanks. I can add wines from Saint Cosme--always fine and robust--and anything from Domaine de Sumade--a top vineyard in Rasteau. You mighr also try Domaine de l'Oratoire Saint Martin in cairanne. Very juicy and refreshing with any food from the area. Are these available in England?

    Oct 07, 2011 at 3:59 AM

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