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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:
2014 Hermitage Blanc Chante-Alouette M. Chapoutier   Plan Pegau Vin de France   2013 Côtes-du-Rhône Coudoulet de Beaucastel   2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Château de Beaucastel Rouge   2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Henri BONNEAU Réserve des Célestins   2014 Château Guiot Costières de Nîmes  
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2014 Hermitage Blanc Chante-Alouette M. Chapoutier 2014 Hermitage Blanc Chante-Alouette M. Chapoutier

Produce of fruit from three vineyard sites, Le Méal with loose alluvial soils with a prevalence of glacial stones, Les Murets more granitic soils with similar alluvial deposits and its namesake Chante-Alouette with loess soils with a fine layer of clay and limestone. The fruit is hand-harvested and fermented partly in 600-litre demi-muid, partly in vat at controlled temperatures with regular stirring of the lees. Typically stately Marsanne aromatics save this up-front toasty, yeasty quality which just melts into more discreet hints of honey-laden beeswax and freshly rain-soaked straw (Philipp noted fig and hazelnut, then honeysuckle and lime); extravagant on entry, rich, slippery smooth and emollient on the tongue (the wonderful tactile qualities of this wine should not be understated), sumptuous even, yet with nerve and spine and an ever so satisfying nature to its core; one might reasonably deduce that Hermitage Blanc such as this is white wine with a certain preeminence.

$100.00 the bottle  $510.00 the case of 6

2015 Mas de Guiot Grenache Syrah Pays du Gard 2015 Château Guiot Costières de Nîmes

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 2015 Château Guiot Costières de Nîmes is a blend of hand-harvested Grenache and Syrah fruit; very primary aromas of fleshy ripe grapes and grape pomace 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

Plan Pegau Vin de France

A multi-vintage blend produced mainly from grapes typical of the area including Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault and Alicante, but with an added twist of Cabernet, Merlot and something called Danlas from vineyards just outside Châteauneuf-du-Pape and from the venerable producer Domaine de Pégaü. Technically a «Vin de France» (given the unorthodox blend of grapes), more realistically a «vin de plaisir et compléxite» for not too much money and for true lovers of fine southern Rhône wines. Rustic farmhouse red aromas suggestive of ripe berries, sun-baked Provençal herbs and hot summer rain-drenched limestone (yeah, really!). Super-transparent, feral aromas of ripe berry, leather and what the old-timers call «garrigue», which is a kind of combination of all the sun-roasted underbrush of the area including wild-thyme, lavender, rosemary, broom and more; with a gentle intensity of nervous jittery tannins and firm stony textural backdrop carrying flavors that deliver tried and true on the promise of the oh so genuine aromas of the area. Brian says we should note that the structure of the wine might best call for accompaniment of a well-herbed, savory, slow cooked roast or a creamy rich piece of cheese or two. Mmmm...

$17.50 the bottle  $178.56 the case

2013 Côtes-du-Rhône Coudoulet de Beaucastel 2013 Côtes-du-Rhône Coudoulet de Beaucastel

The 2013 Coudoulet de Beaucastel Côtes du Rhône offers a surprisingly ripe, rounded style to go with notes of wild strawberries, jammy black raspberry and peppery herbs. It’s drinking beautifully today, but it has good mid-palate density and I suspect will evolve nicely on its balance. Drink: 2015-2020. 88. -Jeb Dunnuck, eRobertParker.com, October, 2015

$27.50 the bottle  $280.56 the case

2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Château de Beaucastel Rouge 2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Château de Beaucastel Rouge

Brilliant ruby. Powerful aromas of candied blackberry, blueberry and licorice, with suggestions of lavender and cracked pepper. Lush, intensely flavored and supple in texture, offering spicy dark berry and cherry compote and olive tapenade flavors complicated by a subtle floral nuance. Finishes sappy and very long, with resonating spiciness, a hint of licorice and chewy, slow-building tannins. Rated 92-94. - Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, January/February 2014.

What I think might end up being the best Beaucastel since the 1990 or 2001, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape offers a full-bodied, decadent style to go with awesome black and blue fruits, garrigue, licorice, crushed flowers and violets. The purity here is truly something, and it has fabulous mid-palate concentration, building tannin and massive texture. Given all of the fruit and texture here, it will no doubt drink well in its youth, but it should still be alive and kicking after two decades as well. Rated 95. - Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate Issue 215, October 2014.

$100.00 the bottle  $510.00 the case of 6/750ml bottles

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


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