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The great Rhône river flows from its source in the Swiss Alps through the east and southeast of France. It has carved out the valley which supplies us with among the very finest of wines we may offer (Côte-Rotie, Hermitage and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, for example), not to mention among the finest values in wines with its myriad brilliant southern Côtes‑du‑Rhône.

 
Quick-links to featured wines:
2011 Châteauneuf‑du‑Pape Chaupin Domaine de La Janasse   2011 Châteauneuf‑du‑Pape Vieilles Vignes Domaine de La Janasse  2011 Châteauneuf‑du‑Pape Vieilles Vignes Domaine de Marcoux   2011 Châteauneuf‑du‑Pape Château de Beaucastel   2010 Châteauneuf‑du‑Pape Les Cailloux Cuvée Centenaire Lucien et André BRUNEL   2007 Châteauneuf‑du‑Pape Henri BONNEAU Réserve des Celestins   2012 Côtes‑du‑Rhône Domaine de La Becassonne Blanc André BRUNEL   2011 Côtes‑du‑Rhône Coudoulet de Beaucastel   2011 Côtes‑du‑Rhône Confidence Vignobles Mayard   2011 Côtes‑du‑Rhône La Muse Papilles Montirius   2012 Mas de Guiot Grenache Syrah Pays du Gard   2012 La Vieille Ferme Luberon Blanc   2012 La Vieille Ferme Ventoux Rouge
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2011 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Chaupin Domaine de La Janasse

Coming from a cooler, sandy terroir in the northeastern part of the appellation, the 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Chaupin (which comes 80% from the Chaupoin lieu-dit and 20% from the La Janasse lieu-dit, hence the subtle name change) is 100% Grenache, from vines planted in 1912, that’s aged two-thirds in foudre and one-third in demi-muid. Gorgeous all around, with plenty of similarities to the traditional cuvee, yet slightly richer and fuller, it delivers beautiful mulled red and black fruits, licorice, spice and tinges of stony minerality on the nose. Full-bodied, supple, seamless and elegant, with fine tannin, it makes the most of a difficult vintage and is certainly one of the top 10-12 wines. Drink now-2023. Rated 95. ‑ Jeb Dunnuck, Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s The Wine Advocate Issue 209, October, 2013
$85.00 the bottle  $867.00 the case

2011 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes Domaine de La Janasse

Bright purple. Dark fruit liqueur, star anise, cinnamon and licorice aromas are sharpened by a lively mineral quality and a touch of white pepper. Sappy, sweet and incisive, with a suave blend of power and vivacity to its blackcurrant and mulberry flavors. Juicy acidity gives focus to the finish, which features velvety tannins, a touch of smokiness and outstanding energy. Rated 94. ‑ Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar January/February, 2014

And a candidate for the wine of the vintage, the 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes is always a rough blend of 85% Grenache and the balance Syrah, Mourvedre, Clairette and other permitted varieties, that has the Grenache aged all in foudre and the Syrah and Mourvedre aged in one-third new barrels (that’s less than 6% of the blend in new barrels). Exhibiting gorgeous black fruits, spice-box, toast, licorice and roasted meat-like qualities on the nose, it is full-bodied, concentrated and layered on the palate, with loads of texture, yet delivers no weight, heat, or ever puts a foot wrong. Shockingly good in the vintage, it should not be missed. Hats off to Christophe and Isabelle. Drink 2013-2027. Rated 96. ‑ Jeb Dunnuck, Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s The Wine Advocate Issue 209, October, 2013

$112.50 the bottle  $1147.56 the case

2011 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes Domaine de Marcoux

Inky ruby. Aromas of blackcurrant, cherry compote and potpourri display striking clarity and power, with a spicy quality adding lift. Dark berry liqueur and floral pastille flavors reach every corner of the palate, with juicy acidity adding focus. This refuses to let up on the youthfully tannic finish, which emphatically repeats the cherry and floral notes. Rated 94. ‑ Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar January/February, 2014

Even more impressive and mostly likely one of the top 10-12 wines in the vintage, the 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes is an up-front, sexy and perfumed blend of close to 100% Grenache. Possessing notions of kirsch liqueur, raspberry, creamy licorice and crushed flowers, it is full-bodied, nicely concentrated and has an overall hedonistic, seamless profile that's hard to resist. I don't think it will make old bones though, and it should be at its best during its first 10-12 years of life. Don't let that deter you though as this is one delicious thrill ride of Grenache. Drink 2013-2023. Rated 95. ‑ Jeb Dunnuck, Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s The Wine Advocate Issue 209, October, 2013

$175.00 the bottle  $1785.00 the case

2011 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Château de Beaucastel
Deep ruby. Dark berries, dried cherry, anise and lavender on the highly perfumed nose. Offers intense cassis and bitter cherry flavors with sexy floral pastille and spicecake nuances. Aeration brings out a smoky quality that carries through the long, smooth, gently tannic finish. There's 40% mourvedre here but I wouldn't have guessed it based on this wine's forward, voluptuous character. Rated 92. ‑ Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar January/February, 2014
$85.00 the bottle  $433.50 the case of six

2011 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Cailloux Cuvée Centenaire Lucien et André BRUNEL
Opaque ruby. Heady aromas of black raspberry, cola, spicecake and lavender, with a bright mineral overtone. Rich but energetic, offering intense red and dark berry preserve flavors that show outstanding clarity and a suave floral pastille nuance. Refuses to let up on the long, gently tannic finish, which leaves sweet dark fruit and spice notes behind. Rated 94. ‑ Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar January/February, 2013
$200.00 the bottle  Limited

2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Henri BONNEAU Réserve des Célestins
Looking at the 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve des Celestins, which was tasted out of barrel at the domaine, it offers up a singular, exotic profile that shows the vintage perfume and freshness, as well as the slightly feral quality of this estate. Kirsch liqueur, roasted herbs, blackberry, cured meats, lavender, incense and ground pepper are just some of the nuances here. This full-bodied, concentrated effort hits the palate with authoritative richness and depth, yet stays incredibly light, fresh and even elegant. Already approachable, with a drop-dead gorgeous texture, it should certainly be worth the extra effort to track down once released. Rated (96-98). ‑ Jeb Dunnuck, Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s The Wine Advocate Issue 209, October 2013
$375.00 the bottle

2012 Mas de Guiot Grenache Syrah Pays du Gard 2012 Mas de Guiot Grenache Syrah Pays du Gard
This small château is located near the town of Saint-Gilles just west of the Rhône River some 5 miles from the Mediterranean Sea. It is owned an operated by the Cornut family — Sylvia is the oenologist, with her husband François and their two sons tending to the vineyards. The rocky soils here are reminiscent of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the fruit is always picked late, ensuring deep and profound wines with soft tannins. François is meticulous in his viticultural practices and is a believer in sustainable agriculture, using no synthetic herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers on any of his vineyards or crops. Sylvia and the boys take over in the winery (the boys work a lot) where she ferments all fruit separately in stainless steel tanks by varietal and by vineyard site. This 2012 Mas de Guiot is a blend of hand-harvested Grenache and Syrah fruit; very primary aromas of fleshy ripe grapes and grape pomace (imagine that!), with suggestion of blue plum, kirsch and a good healthy winegrowing earth; just full and fruity and round on the tongue with nice crisp bright acids and supple tannins lending the gentlest astringency and keeping things refreshing and vibrant to the long and flavorful finish. At its ultra-attractive price, this is real value for those of us hard-working central Texans who enjoy really good wine but who may, from time to time, need their wine dollars to stretch on out a bit.
$8.75 the bottle  $89.28 the case

2012 Côtes‑du‑Rhône Domaine de La Becassonne Blanc André BRUNEL
Domaine de la Becassonne is a small estate located near the village of Sorgue near Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the southern Rhône Valley. Planted in 1978, the property is solely dedicated to the production of white wine, a rarity in these parts. But with its cool micro-climate and sandy, limestone soils the tiny property is ideal for the production of this fresh, expressive white wine, an inspired mingling of about 50% Roussanne, 30% Grenache Blanc and 20% Clairette. The vines are pruned for low yields of around 40 hectolitres per hectare. Each varietal is harvested separately as it reaches optimal ripeness, then fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel. The wine is bottled in late winter to early Spring following the vintage. Fresh aromas suggestive of orange blossom and tropical fruits; at once vibrant and delicately mineral, round, supple and caressing on the tongue; simply superb southern Rhône Valley white wine.
$13.75 the bottle  $140.28 the case

2011 Côtes-du-Rhône Coudoulet de Beaucastel 2011 Côtes-du-Rhône Coudoulet de Beaucastel
Deep ruby. Pure, floral aromas of red fruits, licorice, lavender and minerals. Dense, sweet and penetrating, boasting strong lift to its sappy raspberry and cherry flavors. Finishes sweet and long, with gentle tannins and a jolt of bitter cherry. Rated 91. ‑ Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar June, 2013
$27.50 the bottle  $280.63 the case

2011 Côtes-du-Rhône Confidence Vignobles Mayard 2011 Côtes-du-Rhône Confidence Vignobles Mayard
Produce of predominantly Grenache together with some Syrah fruit from 83 ares (that's just over two acres) of vines 30 years old on average on sand and clay subsoils in two parcels located in the commune of Courthézon, bordering Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The fruit is hand-picked with a strict selection done in the vines, totally destemmed, moved by gravity. Traditional fermentations vary from 18 to 22 days, the extraction of the fruit is temperature-controlled at right around 25°C. A pneumatic press is used so to be as gentle as possible with the berries. The wine is aged in a combination of tank and 2 to 3 year-old barrels for 10 to 12 months before release. Vivid ruby red in color, decidedly red-fruited on the nose with hints of fleurs de cerisier, garrigue and a friable winegrowing earth (one among our wine tasting panel here says it reminded him right away of Rayas); supple and silky on the palate with bursting red fruit flavors and those special fine-grained garrigue-laced tannins typical of the southern Rhône Valley, carrying vivid fresh red-fruited flavors long on the finish. Give this lovely little number a nice double-decanting for maximum enjoyment.
$19.99 the bottle  $203.88 the case

2011 Côtes‑du‑Rhône La Muse Papilles Montirius
From 3 hectares of relatively low yielding (30 hl/ha on average) 25 year-old, certified organically grown vines (80% Grenache/20% Syrah) planted in 'garrigue' and Helvetian sand and sandstone. The fruit is hand-harvested, destemmed, gently crushed, fermented on natural yeasts in cement vats then bottled in the spring following the vintage. Aromas redolent of freshly cracked peppercorns and taut berries with just a hint of the famous garrigue; pure and firm on the tongue with flavors of taut ripe red berries and pepper and spice that go tantalizingly long and fresh on the finish. Montirius say "ce vin éveille et fait frétiller nos papilles." We say "mais oui!"
$13.75 the bottle  $140.28 the case

2012 La Vieille Ferme Luberon Blanc
From the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel in Châteauneuf‑du‑Pape, La Vieille Ferme is produce of Grenache Blanc, Ugni Blanc and Vermentino fruit grown in the cool vineyards of the Côtes du Luberon. This is essentially the same quality of wine one might reasonably expect from a good southern Côtes‑du‑Rhône white: aromatically inviting; cool, clean, refreshingly fruity, wholly gulpable, then crisp and dry on the finish. We lovingly call it our "chicken wine" on account of the chickens on the label (La Vieille Ferme translates to "The Old Farm"). Best jug wine we know of either side of the Atlantic. And, at its very modest price, its a darn good choice for budget recovery wine, too! Regularly $11.99 the jug, on sale now at:
$9.99 the 1.5-litre magnum bottle  (that's $59.94 the case of six)

2012 La Vieille Ferme Ventoux Rouge
Produce of 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Carignan and 15% Cinsault from vines planted on the slopes of Mont Ventoux in the southern Rhône Valley. Aromas redolent of berries and spice; full‑bodied and fruity, with soft rounded tannins and a lasting flavor. Priced for everyday consumption, but delivering a good deal more than everyday quality. Noted wine critic Robert Parker has recently called it a "terrific bargain." Well, yeah! Regularly $11.99 the jug, on sale now at:
$9.99 the 1.5‑litre magnum bottle  (that's $59.94 the case of six)


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