15 Delightful Rhône Values
New reviews of affordable reds and whites from France

Chateau de Montfaucon at Montfaucon Gard (30) France/ Rodolphe de Pins winemakerPhoto by: Anthony Lannertonne
Château de Montfaucon’s rustically beautiful cellar produced an outstanding yet affordable Viognier-based blend.
James Molesworth
Posted: July 31, 2015

Tasting Highlights bring the best wines from our editors’ most recent tastings to WineSpectator.com members.

Neither 2013 nor 2014 will go down in history as great vintages in the Rhône Valley, though the region managed to turn out numerous excellent wines while other regions in France foundered. That effort extends through the value-priced offerings, as demonstrated by these 15 new releases.

Lirac is located just across the river from Châteauneuf-du-Pape and is blessed with stony and pebbly soils similar to those of its better-known neighbors, but with markedly less expensive land prices and wines. The white from Famille Bréchet, owners of Château Vaudieu in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, is a delight, offering textbook white Rhône flavors of flowers and orchard fruits.

Rodolphe de Pins’ Château de Montfaucon is also in Lirac, and this vigneron continues to cobble together small parcels of old-vine varieties for his various blends. His Comtesse Madeleine bottling combines Viognier, Marsanne, Picpoul and Bourboulenc. The white from Domaine de la Mordorée is also lovely, offering another testament to the skills of the late Christophe Delorme.

Located just between the Northern Rhône and southern Beaujolais, Éric Texier’s property always manages to produce intriguing wines. His Roussanne bottling is a delight.

Influential consulting winemaker Philippe Cambie checks in with his Domaine Calendal, a ripe, fruit-driven red that shows good stuffing for the vintage. And there’s plenty more to choose from here, including excellent values from big-name producers such as Chapoutier, Domaine de la Janasse and André Brunel of Les Cailloux fame.

Keep an eye out for my annual tasting report on the Rhône Valley in the upcoming Nov. 30 issue of Wine Spectator.

FAMILLE BRÉCHET Lirac White Plateau des Chênes 2014 Score: 90 | $24
Very racy in feel, with jasmine, citrus oil and white peach notes, carried by a stony edge. The long, fresh finish echoes with a hint of yellow apple skin. Drink now. 300 cases imported.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU DE MONTFAUCON Côtes du Rhône White Comtesse Madeleine 2014 Score: 90 | $22
This offers a delicious, unctuous mix of apricot, anise, peach and melon flavors, backed by light almond and brioche notes. A good juicy edge keeps this energetic. Drink now. 100 cases imported.—J.M.

DOMAINE DE LA MORDORÉE Lirac White La Reine des Bois 2014 Score: 90 | $40
Lively, with enticing yellow apple, melon rind and white peach flavors, liberally laced with honeysuckle and quinine notes. Energetic finish. Drink now. 30 cases imported.—J.M.

ST.-COSME Côtes du Rhône White 2014 Score: 90 | $23
A broad, ripe style, with apricot, nectarine and tangerine flavors, liberally lined with toasted almond and warmed brioche notes. The ample underlying zip keeps this honest, revealing a lingering hint of salted butter. Drink now. 147 cases imported.—J.M.

ÉRIC TEXIER Roussanne Côtes du Rhône Brézème 2014 Score: 90 | $31
Offers an alluring, creamy feel, with tasty apricot, nectarine and orange blossom notes. Reveals an almond tinge on the finish. A flattering style. Drink now. 250 cases made.—J.M.

DOMAINE CALENDAL Côtes du Rhône-Villages Plan de Dieu 2013 Score: 89 | $29
Stylish, with black tea and cinnamon notes gliding around a core of lightly steeped plum and anise flavors. The long, silky finish lets the spice hint linger. Drink now. 300 cases imported.—J.M.

DOMAINE DE LA JANASSE Côtes du Rhône White 2014 Score: 89 | $21
Ripe and racy, with a bright fennel edge lifting the core of apricot, white peach and yellow apple fruit. A twinge of bitter almond echoes on the finish. Drink now. 335 cases imported.—J.M.

CHÂTEAU PESQUIÉ Vin de France Terrasses White 2014 Score: 89 | $14
Very juicy in feel, with lots of pineapple, white peach, star fruit and yellow apple flavors bouncing along. A bright floral edge frames the pure finish. Viognier, Roussanne and Clairette. Drink now. 385 cases imported.—J.M.

DOMAINE ROCHE Côtes du Rhône-Villages Cairanne 2013 Score: 89 | $20
Direct, with a tasty beam of steeped plum and blackberry fruit, lined with subtle anise and singed juniper notes. A lightly woodsy tug holds the finish. Drink now. 450 cases imported.—J.M.

ÉRIC TEXIER Côtes du Rhône White Adèle 2014 Score: 89 | $19
Very fresh, with deliciously pure creamed melon and yellow apple fruit flavors that race along, highlighted by honeysuckle and heather notes. Drink now. 500 cases made.—J.M.

PIERRE AMADIEU Côtes du Rhône-Villages Cairanne Les Hautes Rives 2014 Score: 88 | $22
Ripe and fresh, with succulent plum and raspberry fruit flavors, held together by a racy graphite edge. A licorice snap note emerges on the finish. A solid version. Drink now. 400 cases imported.—J.M.

ANDRÉ BRUNEL Côtes du Rhône White Domaine de la Becassonne 2014 Score: 88 | $19
A fresh style, with a blanched almond frame around the apple, fennel and white peach flavors. Sleek finish. Drink now. 800 cases imported.—J.M.

DOMAINE DE LA JANASSE Côtes du Rhône-Villages Terre d’Argile 2013 Score: 88 | $25
This has a slightly soft, plump feel, with plum sauce and raspberry coulis notes that glide along, carried by melted red licorice and warmed fruitcake hints. A crowd-pleaser. Drink now. 1,200 cases imported.—J.M.

DOMAINE PÉLAQUIÉ Côtes du Rhône White 2014 Score: 88 | $13
A floral, racy style, with good cut to the edges. A core of star fruit, fennel and white peach flavors bounces along. Drink now. 1,000 cases made.—J.M.

M. CHAPOUTIER Côtes du Rhône White Belleruche 2014 Score: 87 | $16
Juicy, with anise, yellow apple and pineapple fruit flavors bouncing along. Stays lively through the finish. Drink now. 40,000 cases made. —J.M.


TENET 2013 94pte in international WINE REPORT


iwrlogo Tenet-GSM
TENET WINES ‘Tenet’ 2013


The 2013 ‘Tenet’ is an immense wine from Rhône Valley winemakers Michel Gassier and Philippe Cambie along with Bob Bertheau of Chateau Ste. Michelle. This is a blend of 40% Grenache, 35% Syrah, 25% Mourvèdre which is sourced from some of the oldest vines in Columbia Valley. As this opens in the glass it releases striking aromas of ripe black raspberries and blueberry followed by fresh violets, pepper earth tones, black olive and some hints of bittersweet chocolate. This envelopes the palate with deep, rich layers of dark fruits, but there is just enough acidity to provide the lift needed. It continues to impress with its gorgeous velvety texture and polished tannins that make a wonderful transition into the long, mouth coating finish. Overall, this is a hedonistic wine with tremendous power and intensity that is drinking well upon release, but should also age gracefully for years to come. (Best 2017-2029) – July, 2015 (JD)



Sapphire Grill
December 2014
Robert Parker

This casual restaurant is special, with a limited menu largely derived from what’s available in the market, and had everything I like about a restaurant – nice ambience, a comfortable setting, an unpretentious yet attentive staff and an excellent wine list. My meal included delicious crab cakes and an excellent bouillabaisse that was generous and filled with aromas of saffron and seafood. The wines, which were provided by all the guests, were a diverse group, but included a number of real winners.

We started with the barrel-aged Henri Giraud Fut de Chêne non-vintage champagne, which is full-bodied, somewhat reminiscent of Krug, but without any of the oxidative undertones. I really like this guy’s products, and this is not even his best cuvée. The 2011 Alban Vineyards Roussanne Estate had rose-petal and honeyed notes, was medium to full-bodied and quite good, but no stars, like the following three wines.

The 1997 Marcassin Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard was fully mature, showing almost like a Morey-St.-Denis-like grand cru, with Porcini mushrooms, meat, berry fruit and forest floor notes. The 2009 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Rèserve had lots of horsey, sweaty notes that no doubt suggested some brett, but was dominated by the wine’s deep kirsch, cassis, licorice and garrigue components. This is a full-bodied, stunningly opulent Châteauneuf du Pape, but you have to enjoy living a little on the wild side with the brett component.

The wine of the night for me and truly one of the great, great wines from Gigondas was the 2007 Domaine St. Damien Gigondas les Souteyrades. This old vine Grenache is meticulously well-made, a massive, full-throttle Southern Rhône that is the essence of Gigondas and the Grenache grape, with no makeup, no oak, just stunning fruit depth and richness. I was blown away by this wine, even though I had scored it very highly in my report on the 2007s in The Wine Advocate.

We followed with a delicious 2008 Sette Ponti Oreno that’s a sort of new style of Tuscan red, and after that came the rather classic 2008 Bodegas Emilio Moro Malleolus de Sancho Martin, a Spanish red. Both of these were excellent.

All in all, this is a restaurant I highly recommend if you’re in the enchanted Southern town of Savannah, Georgia, a wonderful place. I could live there in a heartbeat given the culture and small-town atmosphere, yet satisfying cultural diversity that seems to exist throughout this small Southern city. Did I mention their famed southern hospitality? Kudos to proprietor Christopher Nason (who also doubles as the chef), and David Tumblin, the maître d’, for making our visit so stunning.

Sapphire Grill, Address: 100 W. Congress St., Savannah, GA 31401
Tel. +1 (912) 443-9962


Course 1: – Jumbo lump crab cake in golden potato purée
Course 2: – Sapphire Grill Bouillabaisse

Vintage Wine Rating
NV Henri Giraud Fut de Chêne 95
2011 Alban Vineyards Roussanne Estate 89
1997 Marcassin Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard 95
2009 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Rèserve 95
2007 Domaine St. Damien Gigondas les Souteyrades 97
2008 Sette Ponti Oreno 93
2008 Bodegas Emilio Moro Malleolus de Sancho Martin 91

LE SACH BULGARE un delice !!

La cuisine bulgare est à l’image de sa population, façonnée par les nombreuses communautés ethniques (thraces, grecs, romains, protobulgares, slaves) qui ont traversé son histoire et qui ont laissé par la même occasion une empreinte indélébile dans le patrimoine culinaire national. Conviviale, généreuse et simple, la cuisine bulgare est essentiellement d’inspiration méditerranéenne avec notamment de nombreux points communs avec les cuisines grecque, turque, notamment dans l’utilisation importante de légumes et d’épices (laurier, paprika, cumin…). 

Si la gastronomie bulgare est reconnue mondialement pour ses fameux yaourt (« Kiselo Mliako ») – qui doit son goût et sa texture inimitables à la bactérie « Lactobacillius bulgaricus », propre au pays – la Bulgarie est également réputée pour ces Spécialités de « Sach » 

Dans la cuisine traditionnelle bulgare le « Sach » est l’un des plats les plus séduisants et appétissants. Il consiste d’un mélange de viandes et de légumes,et fromages cuits et servis sur une ardoise chaudeIMG_6771 IMG_6772 IMG_6743 IMG_6742

le MELNIK très jolie cépage rouge du sud de la BULGARIE

IMG_6769La viticulture en Bulgarie est vieille d’au moins 3 000 ans. Dans l’Iliade, Homère parlait déjà, des vignes de la Thrace (une partie de l’actuelle Bulgarie, de la Grèce et de la Turquie), et le culte de Dionysos est né ici.

Découverte de vin rouge très intéressant La Shiroka melnishka loza (Melnik) est un cépage local rouge, qui n’est cultivé que dans la région de Melnik, Sandanski et Petrich, (Il n’est pas possible de trouver de cépage en dehors de la Bulgarie). Nous estimons que ce cépage fait parti des plus vieux cépages du monde.IMG_6719 IMG_6737 IMG_6736 IMG_6721