Red, Rhone Blends - Red, 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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99-100 points Jeb Dunnuck: A step up over the 2015, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Da Capo is another perfect wine in the making and reminds me of the incredible 1998. Inky colored, with a huge, powerful bouquet of garrigue, pepper, kirsch, cured meats, and bouquet garni, this rocking effort… ...
JD 99-100
WA 96-98
V 95-97
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Pegau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee da Capo 2016  (#333151)

Rhone Blends - Red from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhône, Rhône, France

99-100 points Jeb Dunnuck: A step up over the 2015, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Da Capo is another perfect wine in the making and reminds me of the incredible 1998. Inky colored, with a huge, powerful bouquet of garrigue, pepper, kirsch, cured…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 4 available
JD 99-100
WA 96-98
V 95-97
98 points Jeb Dunnuck: Deep ruby-colored and offering a heavenly bouquet of black raspberries, toasted spiced, cured meats, licorice, and cured meats, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Combes des Fous is awesome on the palate, with a silky, seamless profile that just keeps on going. Possessing ultra… ...
JD 98
WA 95
WS 95
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Clos Saint-Jean Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Combe des Fous 2016  (#333032)

Rhone Blends - Red from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhône, Rhône, France

98 points Jeb Dunnuck: Deep ruby-colored and offering a heavenly bouquet of black raspberries, toasted spiced, cured meats, licorice, and cured meats, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Combes des Fous is awesome on the palate, with a silky, seamless…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
JD 98
WA 95
WS 95
$119.95
$135.00
Save $15.05 (11%)135.00
Save $15.05 (11%)
96-99 points Jeb Dunnuck: The 2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape looks to be a huge success and reminds me of the 2007. As is normal, Vincent keeps multiple foudres with different blends (as well as a foudre of the final blend), and it's always incredibly educational tasting through the different barrels. The… ...
JD 96-99
WA 94-96
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Clos des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2017  (#334847)

Rhone Blends - Red from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhône, Rhône, France

96-99 points Jeb Dunnuck: The 2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape looks to be a huge success and reminds me of the 2007. As is normal, Vincent keeps multiple foudres with different blends (as well as a foudre of the final blend), and it's always incredibly…

750ml Bottle | Pre-arrival, 12+ available
JD 96-99
WA 94-96
PRE-ARRIVAL
100 points Jeb Dunnuck: ...up with the crème de la crème of the vintage and in the same league as the perfect 2010. Awesome notes of blackberries, crème de cassis, charred meats, licorice, and violets all soar from the glass. It's powerful, opulent, and structured, with building tannin, a huge mid… ...
JD 100
WA 97
DE 95
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Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes 2016  (#332445)

Rhone Blends - Red from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhône, Rhône, France

100 points Jeb Dunnuck: ...up with the crème de la crème of the vintage and in the same league as the perfect 2010. Awesome notes of blackberries, crème de cassis, charred meats, licorice, and violets all soar from the glass. It's powerful, opulent,…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
JD 100
WA 97
DE 95
$99.95
$120.00
Save $20.05 (17%)120.00
Save $20.05 (17%)
90 points Wine Spectator: Quite ripe and plush, with bold raspberry, grilled anise and cracked pepper flavors, but well-structured enough to stay lively. Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Drink now through 2023. 800 cases made. (6/30/18) 74% Grenache, 19% Syrah, 7% Mourvèdre. ...
WS 90
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Linne Calodo Sticks and Stones Paso Robles 2016  (#331647)

Rhone Blends - Red from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California

90 points Wine Spectator: Quite ripe and plush, with bold raspberry, grilled anise and cracked pepper flavors, but well-structured enough to stay lively. Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Drink now through 2023. 800 cases made. (6/30/18) 74% Grenache,…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 4 available
97 points Wine Advocate: ...I had a slight preference for the 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape Croix de Bois, which comes from the Bédarrides (eastern) side of the appellation, a site with galets roulés over clay, which Chapoutier says resists drought. This is a full-bodied, dense, plummy wine, but it… ...
WA 97
JD 96
V 93-95
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Chapoutier Chateauneuf-du-Pape Croix de Bois 2015  (#331679)

Rhone Blends - Red from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhône, Rhône, France

97 points Wine Advocate: ...I had a slight preference for the 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape Croix de Bois, which comes from the Bédarrides (eastern) side of the appellation, a site with galets roulés over clay, which Chapoutier says resists drought. This…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 2 available
WA 97
JD 96
V 93-95
$84.95
$105.00
Save $20.05 (19%)105.00
Save $20.05 (19%)
95-97 points Jeb Dunnuck: A wine that’s going to rival or surpass the 2015, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Réservée shows the quality of this awesome vintage with its deep, powerful, concentrated style. While Laurence says her 2015s remind her of her 2010s, I find a certain 2010-like purity in… ...
JD 95-97
WS 96
WA 93-95
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Pegau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Reservee 2016  (#333150)

Rhone Blends - Red from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhône, Rhône, France

95-97 points Jeb Dunnuck: A wine that’s going to rival or surpass the 2015, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Réservée shows the quality of this awesome vintage with its deep, powerful, concentrated style. While Laurence says her 2015s remind her of…

750ml Bottle | Pre-arrival, 12+ available
JD 95-97
WS 96
WA 93-95
PRE-ARRIVAL
$64.95
$115.00
Save $50.05 (44%)115.00
Save $50.05 (44%)
95-97 points Jeb Dunnuck: ...it has a vibrant, mineral-laced personality that I’m sure is loved by Laurent. As classic as it gets, with a rocking bouquet of black, black fruits, garrigue, crushed rocks, and pepper, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, remarkable concentration, yet also the… ...
JD 95-97
JS 95-96
V 94-96
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Charvin Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2016  (#333420)

Rhone Blends - Red from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhône, Rhône, France

95-97 points Jeb Dunnuck: ...it has a vibrant, mineral-laced personality that I’m sure is loved by Laurent. As classic as it gets, with a rocking bouquet of black, black fruits, garrigue, crushed rocks, and pepper, it hits the palate with full-bodied…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 3 available
JD 95-97
JS 95-96
V 94-96
95 points William Kelley (Wine Advocate): A Grenache-based blend, the 2015 Ditch Digger is lovely, wafting from the glass with an expressive nose of dried flowers, wild berry fruit and orange rind. On the palate, it's full-bodied, ample and succulent, with a generous core of fruit, decent freshness… ...
WA 95
V 94
WE 93
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Denner The Ditch Digger Paso Robles Willow Creek District 2015  (#331889)

Rhone Blends - Red from Paso Robles, Central Coast, California

95 points William Kelley (Wine Advocate): A Grenache-based blend, the 2015 Ditch Digger is lovely, wafting from the glass with an expressive nose of dried flowers, wild berry fruit and orange rind. On the palate, it's full-bodied, ample and succulent…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12 available
94-96 points Josh Raynolds (Vinous): Deep ruby. Deeply perfumed aromas of ripe red and dark berries, candied flowers and garrigue slowly pick up a spicy element as the wine stretches out. Juicy and seamless on the palate, offering alluringly sweet black raspberry, spicecake and lavender pastille… ...
V 94-96
JD 95
WS 95
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Vaudieu Chateauneuf-du-Pape Val de Dieu 2016  (#332901)

Rhone Blends - Red from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhône, Rhône, France

94-96 points Josh Raynolds (Vinous): Deep ruby. Deeply perfumed aromas of ripe red and dark berries, candied flowers and garrigue slowly pick up a spicy element as the wine stretches out. Juicy and seamless on the palate, offering alluringly sweet…

750ml Bottle | Pre-arrival, 12+ available
V 94-96
JD 95
WS 95
PRE-ARRIVAL
$59.95
$90.00
Save $30.05 (33%)90.00
Save $30.05 (33%)
95+ points Jeb Dunnuck: The 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Renaissance is also a slightly more restrained, elegant version of the cuvée, yet that doesn’t mean it lacks concentration or depth. Terrific notes of black and blue fruits, violets, peppered meats, and licorice all emerge from this full-bodied,… ...
JD 95
WS 94
V 94
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Cristia Chateauneuf-du-Pape Renaissance 2016  (#333146)

Rhone Blends - Red from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhône, Rhône, France

95+ points Jeb Dunnuck: The 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Renaissance is also a slightly more restrained, elegant version of the cuvée, yet that doesn’t mean it lacks concentration or depth. Terrific notes of black and blue fruits, violets, peppered meats…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
$59.95
$75.00
Save $15.05 (20%)75.00
Save $15.05 (20%)
Not yet reviewed; 2012 vintage rated 91-92 points by Josh Raynolds (Vinous): Deep ruby. A complex, assertively perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red and dark berries, potpourri and anise, with a hint of smokiness in the background. Smooth and broad on entry, then tighter in the mid-palate, offering spicy… ...
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Domaine du Terme Gigondas Reserve 2011  (#329122)

Rhone Blends - Red from Gigondas, Southern Rhône, Rhône, France

Not yet reviewed; 2012 vintage rated 91-92 points by Josh Raynolds (Vinous): Deep ruby. A complex, assertively perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red and dark berries, potpourri and anise, with a hint of smokiness in the background. Smooth and broad on…

1.5L Magnum | In stock, 12+ available
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