It gets hot in the south of France, so juicy, complex 14-15% abv wines are not uncommon. These big wines, like Chateau-Neuf-du-Pape, are what make many critics lose their minds. Some of the wines are stellar, but some have left me wondering if the critics had also lost their taste buds.
On the other side of the spectrum, the northern Rhone puts out generally lighter, less alcoholic but still amazingly complex and delicious wines. As an example, one of the best wines I have had, ever, was a Cote-Rotie I bought to help celebrate my wife's birthday. Compared to the south, fewer wines are made, even fewer are exported, still fewer are written about. Sadly, this review is not about a northern Rhone beauty.
Instead, it is about a mild-mannered, 13.5% abv southern Rhone beauty, with lively-if-light fruit, a slightly spicy bite and a great backbone of tannin and acidity.
One thing this wine lacks is pedigree. Another way of saying that is, beware of an inexpensive wine that says "reserve" on the label in big letters. Thats kinda like a Corolla that says "turbocharged." Meaning, even if it is true, you probably don't want to experience the result. In fact I almost did not buy this wine because of that red lettering. Glad I gave in to impulse.
Another thing it lacks is finish. Meaning, after the initial 2 seconds of mild sensory pleasure, its gone. bye bye! You'll have to take another sip, or at least stick your nose back in the glass, to keep it rolling.
This wine is a solid and enjoyable example of Rhone terroir. It could probably compete with many $15+ bottles. In fact, I'm going to slip it in alongside a Cote-Rotie the next time I host a tasting.