Red, Rhone Blends - Red, Pinot Noir, Merlot, WINE

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Another regional style that has taken on a global application, the term "Rhône Blend" typically refers to wines made predominantly from the major, legally permitted varietals of the southern Rhône Valley in southeast France. Grenache is the primary grape varietal in most of these blends, and a wine will take on different characteristics depending on its proportional composition and its place of origin. As a blending component, Grenache is valued for the added body and fruitiness that it brings without added tannins. As a varietal, the grape's naturally low concentration of phenolics contribute to its pale color and lack of extract, but viticultural practices and low yields can increase the concentrations of phenolic compounds. Grenache-based wines tend to be made for early consumption with its propensity for oxidation make it a poor candidate for long-term aging. However, producers who use low yields grown on poor soils can produce dense, concentrated wines that can benefit from cellaring. Grenache-based wines can develop complex and intense notes of blackcurrants, black cherries, black olives, coffee, gingerbread, honey, leather, black pepper, tar, spices, and roasted nuts. When yields are increased, more overtly earthy and herbal notes emerge that tend to quickly fade on the palate.

Red wines from the southern Rhône can contain varying amounts of Cinsault, Counoise, Syrah, Mourvédre, and Carignan, but are almost always based on Grenache Noir. The characteristic of French Grenache-based wines depends largely on the selection of its blending partners and can range from the spicy richness associated with Châteauneuf-du-Pape to the chewy fruitiness associated with basic Côtes du Rhône Villages. Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Rasteau are other southern Rhône AOCs that produce their own distinctly characteristic Grenache-based wines. Generally, these wines are built for immediate consumption or mid-term aging, but the top examples, especially in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, can endure extended cellaring. Grenache is widely grown throught Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence, as well, albeit of generally lesser quality than in the Rhône Valley itself. Many sub-AOCs of Languedoc-Roussillon will use Grenache as a secondary component in blends featuring predominantly Carignan, Syrah, or Cinsault. But perhaps the most highly prized, non-Grenache-based Rhône blends in France hail from Bandol in Provence, where the hearty, meaty Mourvédre grape forms the basis of the wines. Elsewhere in Provence, Grenache is the main staple in the region's widely beloved, fruity rosé wines.

Spain, where the grape is known as Garnacha, has the largest concentration of Grenache vines in the world, and while the grape is often blended with local varietals across the country, the tiny, hilltop region of Priorat is considered the apex of Spanish Grenache-based wine production. Low yields, warm weather, and an increasing commitment to quality result in an iteration that, when blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and/or Carignan, can and must age for a number years to be fully enjoyable. These are wines of substantial power and body, with driving tannins, explosive fruit, and intensely earthy characteristics. Grenache is much less common in Italy, and in fact, it really only grows as Cannonau on the island of Sardigna, where it yields dark, brooding, powerfully tannic wines of supremely rustic character.

Grenache-based blends appear all over the New World, as well, but two countries in particular seem to have captured the formula to greater distinction than the rest. The grape appeared in Australia as early as 1832, and for a time it was the country's most widely planted varietal. Plantings in McLaren Vale, Barossa valley, and Clare Valley boomed, but by the mid-20th century it was overtaken by both Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. However, the past decade has seen a resurgence of the "GSM" blends with artisanal producers making the most of some seriously old vineyards. Varietal Grenache from the McLaren Vale is characterized by luscious richness and spicy notes while Barossa Valley Grenache is characterized by jammy, intense fruitiness. The United States has had its own surge of popularity in Grenache-based wines, beginning with the Rhône Rangers, a consortium of Central Coast growers in California who imported new cuttings from the Rhône valley for planting in the cooler Central Coast regions for use in the production of premium varietal Grenache and Rhône style blends. The wines of Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County are cool climate examples with bright red fruits and suave, gentle textures, while the warmer Paso Robles regions produces Grenache- and Syrah-based wines on par with Priorat for their ripeness, power, and intensity.

There are few, if any varietals, the world over that can display the kind of versatility and variance of style as Grenache, which goes a long way to explaining its popularity with growers and consumers alike. While it seldom reaches the same heights as Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir, it is nonetheless an equally important cornerstone in the world of wine.

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97 points William Kelley (Wine Advocate): The 2015 Clos Vougeot Grand Cru is a terrific rendition of this routinely stunning cuvée, soaring from the glass with a complex bouquet of red-black fruit, incense, rich soil tones, violets, smoked duck and a touch of menthol. On the palate, the wine is deep… ...
WA 97
ST 96
AM 96
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Mugneret-Gibourg Clos de Vougeot 2015  (#334292)

Pinot Noir from Vougeot, Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, France

97 points William Kelley (Wine Advocate): The 2015 Clos Vougeot Grand Cru is a terrific rendition of this routinely stunning cuvée, soaring from the glass with a complex bouquet of red-black fruit, incense, rich soil tones, violets, smoked duck and a…

1.5L Magnum | In stock, 1 available
WA 97
ST 96
AM 96
$1600.00
98 points John Gilman (View From the Cellar): The 2013 Clos de Bèze is a magical young wine in the making. The stunning bouquet is a brilliant blend of red and black cherries, black raspberries, exotic spice tones, raw cocoa, lovely meatiness, black minerality, a touch of fresh nutmeg and a very… ...
JG 98
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Rousseau Chambertin-Clos de Beze 2013  (#333831)

Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, France

98 points John Gilman (View From the Cellar): The 2013 Clos de Bèze is a magical young wine in the making. The stunning bouquet is a brilliant blend of red and black cherries, black raspberries, exotic spice tones, raw cocoa, lovely meatiness, black…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 4 available
$1599.95
95-97 points and 'Don't miss!' Allen Meadows (Burghound): (the aggregate size of this holding is a whopping 3.4 ha and Ponsot is easily the largest holder in Clos de la Roche). Interestingly this is even spicier with its own very broad array of spice elements that seemingly change with each whiff of… ...
AM 95-97
JG 96
WA 94-96
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Ponsot Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes 2012  (#320036)

Pinot Noir from Morey-St.-Denis, Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, France

95-97 points and 'Don't miss!' Allen Meadows (Burghound): (the aggregate size of this holding is a whopping 3.4 ha and Ponsot is easily the largest holder in Clos de la Roche). Interestingly this is even spicier with its own very broad array of spice…

1.5L Magnum | In stock, 1 available
AM 95-97
JG 96
WA 94-96
$995.00
$1500.00
Save $505.00 (34%)1500.00
Save $505.00 (34%)
96-98 points Neal Martin (Wine Advocate): The 2015 Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Malconsorts has just a little less new oak than the Les Suchots this year. The aromatics are more backward and recalcitrant than the Les Suchots and demanded more coaxing from the glass. There is a sense of depth to the… ...
WA 96-98
FWR 94-98
TA 96
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Cathiard Vosne-Romanee 1er cru Aux Malconsorts 2015  (#330428)

Pinot Noir from Vosne-Romanée, Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, France

96-98 points Neal Martin (Wine Advocate): The 2015 Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Malconsorts has just a little less new oak than the Les Suchots this year. The aromatics are more backward and recalcitrant than the Les Suchots and demanded more coaxing…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
WA 96-98
FWR 94-98
TA 96
98 points Tim Atkin, MW (Jan 2018). 97 points Bruce Sanderson (Wine Spectator): Alluring flavors of pure cherry, currant and wild strawberry are at the core of this juicy red. As this evolves on the palate, licorice and spice notes emerge and vibrant acidity kicks in. Beautifully balanced, showing… ...
TA 98
WS 97
JM 94-96
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Rousseau Ruchottes-Chambertin Clos des Ruchottes 2016  (#333541)

Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, France

98 points Tim Atkin, MW (Jan 2018). 97 points Bruce Sanderson (Wine Spectator): Alluring flavors of pure cherry, currant and wild strawberry are at the core of this juicy red. As this evolves on the palate, licorice and spice notes emerge and vibrant…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
TA 98
WS 97
JM 94-96
96 points Allen Meadows (Burghound): An intensely floral nose features notes of dried rose petal and lavender along with cool red berry fruit that is liberally laced with earth, spice and menthol nuances. The taut and muscular broad-scaled and concentrated flavors are precise, intense and… ...
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Dujac Clos de la Roche 2010  (#314356)

Pinot Noir from Morey-St.-Denis, Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, France

96 points Allen Meadows (Burghound): An intensely floral nose features notes of dried rose petal and lavender along with cool red berry fruit that is liberally laced with earth, spice and menthol nuances. The taut and muscular broad-scaled and…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 2 available
93-96 points Fine Wine Review: The Griotte-Chambertin was very closed when I tasted it, but density, concentration, minerality, and tannins all showed through to make a promising wine. (Issue #141; 2014) ...
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Drouhin/Joseph Griotte-Chambertin 2012  (#334325)

Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, France

93-96 points Fine Wine Review: The Griotte-Chambertin was very closed when I tasted it, but density, concentration, minerality, and tannins all showed through to make a promising wine. (Issue #141; 2014)

1.5L Magnum | In stock, 2 available
95+ points John Gilman (View From the Cellar): The ninety year-old vines in Charmes have also fired up the rockets in 2005, as this is another brilliant wine. The bouquet is deep, immense and utterly pure, as it blazes from the glass in a blend of black raspberries, plums, espresso, bitter chocolate… ...
JG 95
IWC 95
AM 95
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Bachelet Charmes-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes 2005  (#116352)

Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, France

95+ points John Gilman (View From the Cellar): The ninety year-old vines in Charmes have also fired up the rockets in 2005, as this is another brilliant wine. The bouquet is deep, immense and utterly pure, as it blazes from the glass in a blend of…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
JG 95
IWC 95
AM 95
98 points Neal Martin (Wine Advocate): The 2012 Musigny Vielles Vignes Grand Cru from de Vogüé has slightly brighter and more vivacious fruit than J-F Mugnier, and in fact, the two wines seem to go in two different trajectories in the glass, this blossoming and the other becoming more occluded. De… ...
WA 98
AG 96-98
FWR 95-98
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Vogue Musigny Vieilles Vignes 2012  (#320543)

Pinot Noir from Chambolle-Musigny, Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, France

98 points Neal Martin (Wine Advocate): The 2012 Musigny Vielles Vignes Grand Cru from de Vogüé has slightly brighter and more vivacious fruit than J-F Mugnier, and in fact, the two wines seem to go in two different trajectories in the glass, this…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
WA 98
AG 96-98
FWR 95-98
95 points Allen Meadows (Burghound): Still deeply colored though there is a bit of bricking at the rim. While there is plenty of secondary character present on the wonderfully spicy, complex and earthy nose there is absolutely no sous-bois in evidence. The powerful and concentrated middle weight… ...
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Mugneret-Gibourg Echezeaux 1990  (#334684)

Pinot Noir from Flagey-Echezeaux, Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, France

95 points Allen Meadows (Burghound): Still deeply colored though there is a bit of bricking at the rim. While there is plenty of secondary character present on the wonderfully spicy, complex and earthy nose there is absolutely no sous-bois in…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 2 available
95+ points Stephen Tanzer (Vinous): Good deep red. Much less reduced on the nose than Ruchottes, offering captivating, high-pitched perfume of raspberry, rose petal, blood orange and crushed stone. On the palate, the tangy raspberry, red cherry and mineral flavors show a penetrating character and… ...
ST 95
JG 95
FWR 91-95
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Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin 1er cru Clos St-Jacques 2013  (#331575)

Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin, Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, France

95+ points Stephen Tanzer (Vinous): Good deep red. Much less reduced on the nose than Ruchottes, offering captivating, high-pitched perfume of raspberry, rose petal, blood orange and crushed stone. On the palate, the tangy raspberry, red cherry and…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 2 available
ST 95
JG 95
FWR 91-95
95-98 points Jasper Morris, MW: Fine beautiful purple, the aromatics are heavenly, there is a real level of additional succulence. This is built around the beautiful detail of pretty red fruits, nothing darker, but with excellent persistence. Very good density, and a heavenly follow through. Tghere… ...
JM 95-98
DE 97
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Hudelot-Noellat Romanee-St-Vivant 2017  (#334595)

Pinot Noir from Vosne-Romanée, Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, France

95-98 points Jasper Morris, MW: Fine beautiful purple, the aromatics are heavenly, there is a real level of additional succulence. This is built around the beautiful detail of pretty red fruits, nothing darker, but with excellent persistence. Very…

750ml Bottle | Pre-arrival, 3 available
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