The Southern Rhone extends from Montelimar to Nimes. The climate is Mediterranean. The vineyards are not all flanking the river as in the north, some spread out close to 50 miles. The wines are typically blended.
The Cotes du Rhone AOC is regional, the grapes may be sourced from anywhere in the designated zone which includes both the Northern and Southern sub-regions, although 95% of the production is in the south. For this review, I am looking at the red wine which is 95% of their production. Grenache must make up a minimum of 40% of the blend, Syrah and/or Mourvedre up to 60% and up to 30% Carignan, Cinsault and the many other approved grapes. They are looking to make a wine that can be consumed upon release.
Clear deep ruby color with clean medium- intense youthful aromas of red fruit and lavender. Dry, medium+ acidity, medium tannins, body and alcohol with cassis and a cherry syrup character. Simple, good, drink now.
The next level up is the Cotes du Rhone Villages and then the Cotes du Rhone Villages + Village Name. The wines at this level are more complex and work well with varied cuisine. The next quality level up are the Southern Crus. From north to south, they are Vinsobres, Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Beaumes-de-Venise, Rasteau, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Lirac and Tavel.
Starting with Gigondas, a cooler area of the Southern Rhone, known for powerful rustic red wine. The blend must contain a maximum of 80% Grenache with a minimum of 15% Syrah (the rest can be any of the many approved grapes). They also produce a small amount of rose but no white wine.
2007 Perrin & Fils La Gille Gigondas $30
(80% Grenache/20% Syrah)
Clear deep ruby with a brick rim. Clean, medium developing aromas of ripe black fruit and black olive tapenade. Dry, medium+ body, alcohol, tannins and acidity with flavors mirroring the aromas with a medium finish. Good/Drink now.
2008 Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas $30
Clear, medium+ ruby going garnet at rim. Clean, developing aromas of black cherry, red plum, smoke and thyme. Dry, medium+ body, alcohol, tannins with medium acidity and flavors similar to the aromas with a medium+ finish. Very good/ drink now.
Chateauneuf-du-Pape is the most well-known of the communal appellations for both historical and quality reasons and of course for the famous soil, galet stones over sand and clay. Over 90% of the production is red wine which is Grenache based and can be blended with 12 additional grapes. There is a wide range of styles. The white wine is Grenache Blanc based with the addition of Clairette, Bourbelenc, Rousanne and others.
2009 Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf-du-Pape $30
Clear pale straw color with clean light youthful aromas of peach. Dry, medium+ acid, medium body and alcohol with a short neutral tasting finish. Acceptable.
2009 Feraud-Brunel Chateauneuf-du-Pape $30
Clear medium ruby with clean medium+ intense developing aromas of smoked meat, cherry syrup and licorice. Dry, medium+ tannins, acid, alcohol, body and finish. Good+/drink now.
2005 Cuvee Bargeton Chateauneuf-du-Pape $60
Clear pale ruby with clean medium intense developing aromas of mixed dried red and black fruit with mint and leather. Dry, medium+ acidity and tannins and medium alcohol, body and length with flavors of raisins, vanilla, cold cuts and black olives. Very good/ drink now.
Notes on the Northern Rhone
Notes from a Rhone Valley Tasting