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With these times of uncertainty, who does like a good deal?
We still want to drink wine but want to get bang for our buck. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to find value wine in the Southern Rhône. Whether it’s white, rosé, or red, the Southern Rhône has you covered.
The reds tend to be full-bodied with plenty of red fruit and meat flavors and are based on Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre (although you’ll find other cool grapes like Carignan, Cinsault, and others). The white wines of the Southern Rhône are full-bodied, oily whites that have unique flavors of sun-baked rocks, white peach, and lime. They are made from grapes like Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier, Picpoul, Ugni Blanc, and others. Rosé wines are made from the same grapes as reds in the Southern Rhône.
Cheerful and Value For Money
The wines of the Southern Rhône are delicious and can be found at a variety of price points. The quality is highly dependent on price. There are ‘porch pounder’ Côtes du Rhône available for as low as 2 USD while the better examples go from 10-25 USD. I believe there are great buys in the 13-20 USD range.
Côtes du Rhône, Côtes du Rhône Villages, & Crus
Côtes du Rhône (Hills of the Rhône) is a wine known the world over. Most people associate it as a cheap and cheerful porch pounder. There are plenty of thin, cheap bottles of Côtes du Rhône on the market but wines made from reputable producers can deliver excellent value for money. We often enjoy Côtes du Rhône (white and red) made by producers of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Wines labeled as Côtes du Rhône Villages offer a step up in quality. These wines come from 22 different villages. There are stricter requirements for these wines versus standard Côtes du Rhône. They also come from vineyards that show the potential to create distinctive wines.
There are also nine crus in the Southern Rhône, the most famous being Châteauneuf-du-Pape with Gigondas and Vacqueyras also gaining steam in recent years. Tavel is a cru known for deep-colored rosé wine. The lesser-known Crus are worth seeking out because the wines (especially the reds) can deliver phenomenal value for money. These crus are Lirac, Rasteau, Cairanne, Beaumes de Venise, and Vinsobres. We highly recommend tasting wines from these crus.
You can find out more about our scoring system on the WINE RATING page.
- Château Pegau, Pink Pegau 2019
The Château Pegau, Pink Pegau 2019 is mostly Cinsault with a touch of Grenache and Carignan. This is a full-bodied, savory rosé. There are notes of leather, strawberry, watermelon, and white pepper. Not just a fruity rosé, there are layers and some depth here. More of a thinking man’s (or woman’s) rosé. Score: 89/100
- Château Sixtine, ‘Cuvée du Vatican’ Réserve de l’Abbé Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2019
The Château Sixtine, ‘Cuvée du Vatican’ Réserve de l’Abbé Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2019 is a blend of Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Clairette. Part of it is aged in oak. The nose is subtle with notes of white flower, passion fruit, apricot, and crushed rocks. Medium-bodied white with just the right amount of acidity, not too much but not too little. Good length with a limey finish. A real value play. Score: 89/100
- Château Sixtine, ‘Cuvée du Vatican’ Réserve de l’Abbé Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2019
The red ‘Cuvée du Vatican’ Côtes du Rhône is a tangy blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. There are notes of kirsch, sour cherry, smoked meat, and a tangerine peel-like acidity. It’s a medium bodied red with soft tannins that can be served chilled. This is another fine summer BBQ wine. Score: 89/100
- Château Pegau, ‘Setier’ Côtes du Rhône Villages 2016
The Château Pegau, ‘Setier’ Côtes du Rhône Villages 2016 is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre that didn’t see oak. The vineyard is located in Sorgues, which is just outside of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This is a distinctive ‘Old World’ style of wine. Notes of meat, smoke, black raspberry, dried strawberry, and leather. Full in body with big tannins, this is a touch rustic and full of character. Those that don’t want to splurge on Châteauneuf-du-Pape should seek this out. Score: 90+/100
- Domaine des Pères de l’Eglise, Lirac 2018
Grenache and Syrah make up the Domaine des Pères de l’Eglise, Lirac 2018. There are notes of meat, caramel, black cherry, strawberry, and pepper. Full-bodied with tons of character. There is a smoky character to this wine. Chewy tannins and bright acid for a Southern Rhône. This could age in the cellar well in the medium term. Score: 90/100
- Domaine Les Cailloux, ‘André Brunel’ Côtes du Rhône 2017
Domaine Les Cailloux is a legendary producer of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and their ‘André Brunel’ Côtes du Rhône isn’t bad either. It’s a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault. Attractive notes of ripe strawberry, thyme, bbq meat, and tangerine peel. For a basic Côtes du Rhône, this shows impressive body, concentration, and tannins. It’s full in the mouth without being too weighty. There are a small level of tannins here not seen in typical CdRs. This is a great summer BBQ wine and can even be served slightly chilled. Score: 89/100
- Elodie Jaume, ‘À en perdre le Soufre’ Côtes du Rhône 2019
Elodie Jaume is the daughter of Patrick Jaume, who owns Domaine des Chanssaud. The ‘À en perdre le Soufre’ Côte du Rhône 2019 is Elodie’s personal project and is made without the addition of sulfur.
It is a blend of 70/30 Syrah and Grenache aged in concrete and produced without any added sulfites. It’s a dark wine with notes of violets, black cherry, leather, meat, and pepper. For a Côte du Rhône, there’s a lot of concentration here. The Syrah really comes out. The wine is full and fruity with mouth-coating tannins. For this style, this is a delicious red and I’d love to see how this would develop in the cellar with proper storage. Minimal intervention style of wine. Score: 88/100
- Château de la Gardine, Rasteau 2017
The Château de la Gardine, Rasteau 2017 is a real value play. This is a blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Syrah. Notes of strawberry, raspberry, crushed rock, and pepper. The nose is quite elegant so I was surprised on how full in body this is. The red fruits and peppery meats show through here. Ripe tannins and a spicy finish. Score: 90/100
- Château de la Gardine, ‘Même Pas Peur’ Rasteau 2018
The ‘Même Pas Peur’ (Not Even Afraid) Rasteau 2018 is made without the addition of sulfur. It is a blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Syrah bottled without sulfur. You need to shake the CO2 out of this. Notes of strawberry, cherry, meat, and rose petal. It’s a rawer wine than the normal Rasteau but has plenty of sweet fruit. This is dense and should age well. Soft tannins with a floral, peppery finish. Score: 90+/100
- Château Saint Roch, ‘Confidentielle’ Lirac 2017
Château Saint Roch is Château de la Gardine’s property in Lirac. The ‘Confidentielle’ Lirac is an equal blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre aged in used oak. The flavors are clean and bright. Notes of cherry, strawberry, mocha, bbq meat, and pepper. Full-bodied and rich with a gamey mouthfeel. The tannins are firm but easy enough to enjoy this elegant Rhône wine young. Score: 89/100
- La Bastide Saint Dominique, ‘Jules Rochebonne’ Côtes du Rhône 2018
The La Bastide Saint Dominique, ‘Jules Rochebonne’ Côte du Rhône 2018 isn’t your typical Côtes du Rhône. This is mostly Syrah and Grenache. Notes of blackberry, mocha, mocha, and stems. Fruity and full-bodied, it shows impressive concentration for a CdR. Plush mouthfeel. Round and ripe tannins with good length. Score: 90/100
- La Bastide Saint Dominique, Cairanne 2018
The La Bastide Saint Dominique, Cairanne 2018 is an equal blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, and Mourvèdre. People who like Rhône’s will just get off on this. Notes of meat, cherry, black raspberry, pepper, and clay. Medium-bodied despite the 14.5 ABV. Polished with chewy tannins.l and a quasi-stemmy (in a good way) finish. Score: 89/100
- Château Mont Thabor, Côtes du Rhône 2018
The Château Mont Thabor, Côtes du Rhône is a real overachiever. It’s a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault aged in concrete. For an entry-level red, this is rocking. Notes of leather, strawberry, raspberry, red plum, meat, and pepper. Elegant with several layers on the palate. The fruit is great but the savory qualities take center stage here. Finishes with leathery tannins. This truly acts like a little brother of Mont Thabor’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Score: 90/100
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