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Short, sharp wine recommendations

Entries in Grenache (2)


An Opulent Rhone for a Great Price


Many of us agree that Paso Robles has been producing some stunning wines, especially n the realm of Rhone blends. The hot weather of Paso, and it's rich, calcareous soils bring beautiful ripe fruit and, in the right hands, luscious wines. 

But this week, I'm telling my Paso loving friends to go back to the source, the Southern Rhone, and maybe even save a few bucks.

The 2009 Domaine de la Ferme Saint Martin "Saint Martin"  Rouge is a plush Rhone wine from the not-too-well-know AOC "Beaumes de Venise." For $20, I found this wine to be a great value, especially for those who love the intense, fruit driven style of wine produced by many of the great Paso houses. Rich, fruit-driven, but still earthy and aromatic, and a nice dose of black pepper, no doubt from the 10% Syrah that rounds out the this 90% Grenache driven blend. It may not have the same level complexity of of some pricier wines, but beleive me, it's got plenty there to keep it interesting.

This wine, like many grenache focused blends, leans on the sweet side of dry, and is powerful enough to serve with just about any meat, strong cheese, and even along with your summer barbeque on a beautiful evening. I bought mine at K&L. Cheers.


Modest Mondays - '09 Montirius Côte du Rhône

What's better than a good cheap wine? Why, one that's produced biodynamically! Something about me really likes supporting bidynamic growers, as I believe there's some inherent integrity that springs from the effort such an undertaking requires.

But I digress. The point here, really, is 'cheap wine', and although the secret has long been out that Côte du Rhône is a terrific region for value wines, I'm often still amazed at the difference in character and just sheer interestingness between a sub-$15 Rhône varietal wine from the US vs. one from the Rhône itself. I think France comes out way on top in the value contest. And this wine is a case-in-point.

Aside from being certified biodynamic, the Montirius Côte du Rhône is aged in concrete and without oak. This is a typical CdR blend of mostly Grenache bolstered with some Syrah and Mourvèdre. It's bright, has nice cherry and berry tones, and is lively and earthy. This wine is good -- certainly not great -- but for $14 I'm quite happy to recommend it.