When I chatted with winemaker Christophe Jaume at the winery’s introductory tasting earlier this year, he could scarcely contain his enthusiasm for the 2011 vintage in general, and this 2011 Ventoux in particular. His explained that Les Gelinottes vineyard’s ideal exposure was a unique bonus, due to the extra sun received in late August early September. The additional solar energy pumped up the already ripe, juicy fruit, and helped build a fine structure of soft tannins. Made from 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah planted on clay and sandy soils, this wine offer notes of crushed blackberry, baked blueberry and garrigue, with hints of toast and earth rising at the finish. This fresh, medium-bodied Rhone should be enjoyed now, and over the next 18 months.
Whether you are a White Burgundy lover on a budget, or just someone looking for a great house white for everyday imbibing or for parties/weddings/social functions, Cave de Lugny Macon-Villages "La Cote Blanche" is as close to a no-brainer as anything I've ever come across. Despite the absurdly low price, it gives me the sophistication I look for in $25 White Burgundies – nervy, energetic fruit, subtle minerality, and, most elusively of all, the sheer joie de vivre that only well-made White Burgundy can convey. A virtual clone of the 2010 vintage, named Decanter’s #1 Chardonnay under $15, the 2011 "La Cote Blanche" offers up fresh, Chablis-like mineral, yellow fruit and floral notes, followed on the palate, by light, bright, flavors of fresh cut apple, pear, and white flowers. Completely unoaked, it has a sneaky intensity of flavor that persists right through to the energetic finish.-- Ben Giliberti, CW Director of Wine Education
Our friend, owner Francois Nony, just keeps raising the bar at Caronne! A perennial winner, his 2010 has a nice bit of blackcurrant in the nose, with well-integrated, ripe tannins. There are attractive Medoc earth flavors that carry through into a long and elegant finish. (tasted twice including once at the chateau)-- CW Wine Staff (April 2011)
Hailed by Robert Parker as “one of the 20 most influential wine personalities of the past 20 years,” Robert “Bobby” Kacher is as passionate about seeking out great and often undiscovered wines today as when he began his eponymous import business more than two decades ago. Constantly challenging his growers and winemakers to produce more authentic and naturally complex wines, Bobby continues to bring higher quality and value to his extensive portfolio every year. The vivid pink 2012 Château Grande Cassagne Rosé, made on the western edge of the Rhône Valley by brother team Benoît and Laurent Dardé, is a special USA-only cuvee produced exclusively for Robert Kacher Selections. Made from 45% Grenache, 45% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre, this rosé offers plush flavors of strawberry, fresh herbs, dark plum, and white pepper, with a hint of minerally tang on a fully dry finish. -- Ben Giliberti
Supple and smooth, this is a distinctly pretty Graves rouge, with ripe Cabernet and Merlot fruit gracefully layered over soft tannins. The voluptuous style of the 2009 vintage really plays to its strengths, and combines nicely with the château's excellent Graves terroir. The owner is Michel Boyer, whose daughter Catherine d'Halluin also makes outstanding wine at Château Clos Bourbon in the Premières Côtes de Bordeaux.
I can hardly recall the last time I came across a $9 wine as stylish as this. It's low price also helps makes the next wine, a French Champagne, affordable/includable.
Pale yellow with hints of green, this fruity blend of Colombard and Ugni-Blanc from southwest France is a genuine crowd-pleaser. Tank-fermentation at cool temperatures produces a fresh, fruity wine marked by assertive flavors and aromas of grapefruit, lemon-lime and orange peel, with a hint of acacia on the finish. Well-rounded and fresh, this wine is ideal with fish, shellfish and light meats, or simply as a summer apéritif.