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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 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 Wines2015 - 1

Rhone superstars Philippe Cambie and Michel Gassier’s first foray into Washington, Tenet is a joint project with Bob Bertheau at Chateau Ste. Michelle, where all three collaborate on vineyard selections, farming and blending. They do to classic Syrahs, one from Michel’s estate in Costieres de Nimes and one from Columbia Valley, with the idea to present a textbook example of each region, and it’s a treat to taste these side by side. In addition, the top cuvee is the GSM blend, which comes from different sites in the Columbia Valley. These are all high-quality wines well worth checking out.

2013 Tenet GSM – 95

The real superstar in the lineup is the 2013 Tenet GSM, which checks in as a mix of 40% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 25% Mourvedre that spent 12 months in neutral French oak. Ripe, voluptuous and thrillingly textured, this beauty boasts fabulous aromatics of red and black raspberries, melted licorice, pepper and assorted floral characteristics. These all come together nicely on the palate where the wine is full-bodied, has no hard edges, a big, layered mid-palate and blockbuster length. Count me impressed. This Chateauneuf du Pape look-alike will have a decade or more of longevity.

2013 The Pundit Syrah – 912015 - 2

Coming from the Columbia Valley in Washington State, the 2013 Syrah The Pundit (94% Syrah, 3% Grenache, 2% Mourvedre and 1% Viognier, all cofermented) is a classic Washington State Syrah that saw roughly 15-20% stems and aging in 23% new French oak and 16% new American oak, with the balance all in neutral French oak. It has outstanding notes of black raspberries, violets, spice and vanilla bean, medium-bodied richness, an elegant, seamless texture and a great finish. Ripe, rounded, fleshy and a joy to drink, it should put a smile on anyone’s face over the coming 4-5 years.

2013 Le Fervent Syrah – 892015 - 3

Coming from the Costieres de Nimes AOC in the Southern Rhone valley of France, the 2013 Syrah Le Fervent is a delicious, balanced and textured Syrah that gives up lots of blackberry and black cherry fruits, pepper, violets and distinct minerality on the nose and palate. Fermented with one-third whole clusters and aged one-third in older barrels and two-thirds in tank, it’s medium-bodied, has solid purity of fruit and nicely integrated acidity, all of which suggest it will drink nicely for 4-5 years.

France, Rhône and Provence: 2014 Rosés June 30, 2015 by jeb DUNNUCK

France, Rhône and Provence: 2014 Rosés
June 30, 2015

The 2014 Rosés are now out in force. This is a great vintage for rosé with the wines showing much more rounded, supple and fruit-forward characters than did the racy 2013s. Given that consumer demand for rosé continues to skyrocket, most retail stores are now devoting substantial real-estate to these wines, which means the selection of quality rosé has never been better.

Among the myriad styles of rosé, there are normally clear distinctions between what each region offers. Provençal rosés offer clean, crisp wines that are very light in color, Côtes du Rhône rosés are slightly more substantial and varied, and Tavel, Gigondas and Bandol generally produce richer, more textured and hefty releases. With the market now craving light/pale pink releases, producers everywhere are responding by making light, crisp and simple rosés, to the point where there’s basically no distinction between a juicy rosé from Provence and what’s coming out of the Côtes du Rhône villages in the Southern Rhone. So radical is the departure from regional stereotypes that even some of the Gigondas and Bandols I reviewed for this report were indistinguishable from a simple, juicy Provençal rosé.

The silver lining in the glass is that the Southern Rhône has nearly perfected the art of making a light, dry, crisp style of rosé. During my extensive rosé tastings in the Rhône Valley, I found most of the wines to be good, clean and perfect for a hot summer day. I drink and buy plenty of rosés in this category and find that in today’s market you can easily find high-quality, well-priced rosés that fit this bill without much shopping around. Don’t make the mistake of spending 25+ dollars on an expensive rosé that you plan to chill the hell out of and chug by the pool. There is plenty of better-value rosé to slake your thirst. Below is a list of some top choices for hot-summer-day quaffing. Nevertheless, while I love the fact that there’s a lot of quality rosé at a good price, the lack of variety or stylistic difference in what I tasted was disappointing.

Since this report is coming out slightly later this year, I was also able to include more rosés from California. There are some gorgeous releases coming from the Sunshine State and diversity of style is definitely there. My only concern with the crisp, lively and straightforward efforts from California is price; most sell for 25+ dollars, and for this trendy style of rosé you can find a similar level of quality from France for half that price.

Since there are close to 200 rosés in this report, I’ve grouped my favorites by style below. In general, the lighter the style, the sooner it should be drunk. While a great Tavel or Bandol can drink nicely for 2-3 years, the uber-crisp, acid-driven releases from Côtes du Rhône and Provence need to be on ice and drunk up in the upcoming summer months.

Full-Flavored, Food-Friendly Rosés

Domaine Maby 2014 Tavel Prima Donna ($18.00) Rose 92

Tardieu-Laurent 2014 Tavel Vieilles Vignes (unknown) Rose 92
Chene Bleu 2014 Rose IGP Vaucluse ($30.00) Rose 91

Crisp Summer Quaffers

Chateau Paradis 2014 Coteaux d’Aix en Provence Rose ($20.00) Rose 91

Les Bosquet des Papes 2014 Cotes du Rhone Le Roze de Zaza (unknown) Rose 91

Top Values

Gabriel Meffre 2014 Costieres de Nimes Chateau Grand Escalion Rose ($15.00) Rose 90

Domaine Maby 2014 Lirac la Fermade Rose ($17.00) Rose 91

Domaine Maby 2014 Tavel Prima Donna ($18.00) Rose 92

—Jeb Dunnuckjd_Page_4 jd_Page_3 jd_Page_2 jd_Page_1


Dom des Bosquets (Bréchet) 2005 GigondasFrom vineyards with some limestone in the south west of the appellation.

Very rich and spicy. Earthy, with a slightly dry end. Very typical and herby. 
Drink 2012-2020


St-Damien, La Louisiane 2005 GigondasVery opulent and ripe. Sweet. Still with some acid and tannin. Drying end.

Drink 2015-2025


         Bosquet des Papes 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape75% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 12% Mourvèdre, 3% Cinsault, Vaccarèse, Counoise. From lieux-dits: Esquirons, Trois Coups, Boursan, Barbe d’Asne, Mont Redon, Gardioles, Pignan, Montpertuis, Grandes Serres, Terres Blanches, Bosquet, Chemins Vieux, Galiguières, Brusquières. 30% destemmed. 12-18 months, 20% in concrete, 20% demi muids, 60% foudres. 40,000 bottles produced.

Healthy blackish ruby. Attractively energetic top note on quite a complex bouquet. Something a little animal and lots of juiciness. Quite loose tannins. Some freshness. Still a way to go, but no great density or concentration. 14.5% 
Drink 2014-2022


Les Cailloux 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape70% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 17% Mourvèdre, 3% Cinsault. 70% destemmed. Grenache and Mourvèdre in tank, Syrah in one- to two-year-old barrels.

Concentrated ruby. Some autumn leaves on the nose. Sweet and rich yet lively too. Still quite youthful but the fruit is fast becoming more complex and the tannins are well on their way. A hint of strawberry jam but no excess heat. Though certainly not especially concentrated. Falls away a little on the finish. 14% 
Drink 2013-2022



Clos Mont Olivet 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape80% Grenache, 10% Syrah. From lieux-dits: Montalivet, Le Pied de Baud. 40% destemmed. 65% foudres and 25% tank. 55,000 bottles produced. pH 3.7, RS 0.7 g/l. Harvested 12 September to 4 October.

Mid ruby with a rusty rim. Heady, just this side of volatile. Lots of fun. Round and mellow. Perhaps without a really strong, convincingly energetic core of fruit but it should give pleasure. The tannins are still lightly present. 15.2% 
Drink 2014-2020


Clos du Caillou, Les Safres 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape95% Grenache, 5% Mourvèdre and Vaccarèse. Lieu-dit Les Bedines. Vinified in concrete tank, 17 months élevage in foudres. 12,000 bottles produced. Harvested 12 September.

Unusually dark, glowing crimson. Very sumptuous and glorious. This has a real beginning, middle and end and beautiful texture. Holding itself together very well. Fun and fascinating. Long, rich and muscular.

Drink 2015-2029


St-Paul 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape80% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 2% Cinsault, 3% Muscardin. Hand-harvested, 100% destemmed, some parcels vinified in wooden vats. Pumpover once or twice a day. Syrah spends 12 months in barriques and demi-muids. Most of the Grenache spends 12-18 months in foudres, with a small part in stainless steel. 9,700 bottles produced.

Blackish ruby. Light stewed-fruit nose. Very juicy and yet it doesn’t really seem to have developed much complexity. Softening and round but just a tad dull. Falls away on the finish. 
Drink 2013-2020




Le Vieux Donjon 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape75% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault. From lieux-dits: Pialon (50%), Pied de Baud, Mourre de Gaud, Boursan, Marines. 30% destemmed. Concrete tank for 25 days, pumping over, 100% foudres. 50,000 bottles produced. RS 0 g/l. Harvested 13 August to 26 September.

Luminous ruby. Light, actually rather fresh nose – not what I expected from a 2005 Châteauneuf. Racy and vigorous. Good fresh fruit and a rather strawberry-like bouquet. Coming along very nicely and with the tannins pretty resolved. Slightly dry on the finish but a confident, vigorous wine. 14.9% 
Drink 2014-2024


Dom de Villeneuve, Vieilles Vignes 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape70% Grenache, 16% Mourvèdre, 8% Syrah, 4% Cinsault, 2% Clairette. From lieu-dit Palestor. 80% destemmed. 24 months in concrete and wood. 11,500 bottles produced. pH 3.63, RS 1.87 g/l.

Still some blackish crimson. Warm and friendly though not that concentrated on the nose. Something exotically sweet and floral but relatively lightweight on the palate. Friendly but without grip, other than slightly green tannins hanging on, or riveting flavours. 15% 
Drink 2014-2024




Bosquet des Papes, À la Gloire de Mon Grand-Père 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape98% Grenache, 2% Cinsault. Lieu-dit Gardioles. 50% destemmed. Vinified in concrete, aged for 12-18 months in 20% concrete, 40% demi muids, 40% foudres. 6,500 bottles produced.

Blackish rust. Rather stewed fruit and indistinct aromas. Sweet and juicy start but just not fresh enough. Stringy tannins and a bit of heat on the finish. 14.5% 
Drink 2015-2019


Bosquet des Papes, Chante le Merle Vieilles Vignes 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre. Lieux-dits: Barbe d’Asne, Mont Redon, Pignan, Brusquières. Whole bunch. Aged 12-18 months in 10% concrete, 60% foudres and 30% demi muids. 13,000 bottles produced.

Blackish ruby. Vegy rich nose with – just – not too much sweetness. Coffee-grounds sensation on the finish. Very drying tannins. 14.5% 
Drink 2015-2019


Les Cailloux, Cuvée Centenaire 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape80% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 5% Syrah.

Dark ruby with an almost yellow rim. Very ripe and sweet with some freshness and rose petals. Just this side of overripe! But there is sinew here and a bit of light chew. Very hot finish. 
Drink 2013-2019


       Clos Mont Olivet, Cuvée du Papet 2005 Châteauneuf-du-PapeBlend mainly Grenache (75%) and Syrah (15%). Lieux-dits: Montalivet, La Crau, Palestor. 30% destemmed, 85% in foudres. 12,000 bottles produced. pH 3.6 , RS 0.7g/l. Harvested 21-24 September.

Mid ruby. A bit of animal fur on the nose – too ripe? Extremely sweet and exaggerated. Porty. And some quite oily tannins, and fast fade. Not for me, though I’m sure it will appeal to some palates. Hot finish. 15.4% 
Drink 2012-2016


Clos du Caillou, Réserve 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape60% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre, 20% Syrah. Lieu-dit Les Bedines. Co-fermented in wooden vats, new demi muids and in concrete tanks, then aged for 18 months. 6,700 bottles produced.

Very dark blackish crimson though without any blue notes. Substantial with sweet satin notes and some treacle. Lots of pleasure to be had. Although this is arguably slightly more in the ‘international red’ style than that of Châteauneuf. Still lots of life left in it. 
Drink 2015-2024



   Dom du Grand Tinel, Alexis Establet 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape100% Grenache. 100% destemmed. Fermentation in tronconic tanks. 12 months in new and old oak foudres and concrete tanks. 19,995 bottles produced.

Mid to light ruby. A bit of decay and lots of gas on this. Not really a sophisticated wine with marked greenness on the finish. Really very odd indeed. 
Drink 2014-2018


Ch de Vaudieu (Bréchet), Val de Dieu 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape45% Grenache, 45% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre. Lieux-dits: Vaudieu, Castelas. 100% destemmed. 38% in barrique (23% new) and 62% in concrete for 18 months. pH 3.78 , RS <2 g/l. Syrah harvested on 15 September, Grenache on 20 and 27 September, and Mourvèdre on 4 October.

Blackish garnet. Light but lively nose. Quite thick and sweet. No great follow-through but serviceable. Falls away a bit suddenly. 15% 
Drink 2015-2022




les 100 meilleurs vins de france 3 em clos saint jean, 7em PUECH HAUT,13 em olivier HILAIRE,13em CLOS DU CAILLOU,20 em LA CRAU DE MA MERE,23 em domaine GIRAUD,27 em VAUDIEU,32 em DOMAINE DES BOSQUET,59em CLOS MONTOLIVET,61em TARDIEU LAURENT,67 em DOMAINE MABY,72 em CABRIERES

le MDUVIN-1 le MDUVIN-2 le MDUVIN-3 le MDUVIN-4 le MDUVIN-5 le MDUVIN-6 le MDUVIN-7 le MDUVIN-8 le MDUVIN-9 le MDUVIN-12 le MDUVIN-13 le MDUVIN-14 le MDUVIN-15 le MDUVIN