2016 M. Chapoutier Côtes du Rhône Belleruche, France, Rhone, Wine Review

This is a go to wine at parties, weddings, etc. as it is often served due to its low price.  It retails for around $13 and is an exceptional value.  Of course, in great vintages, it is usually even better and 2016 is another great vintage.  Purple in color.  The nose has boysenberries, dark cherries, charcoal and pepper.  On the palate, there is some fruit here but this is not a fruity wine.  It has nice fruit with an underlying minerals/earthy streak and good balance.  Works well with a wide variety of food.  Drinks easy but has some interest and depth.  

2006 Château de Saint-Cosme Gigondas Valbelle, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Gigondas is often thought of as a "poor man's" Chateauneuf du Pape and for a lot of reasons that is true.  But, the best Gigondas producers are certainly on a par with many of the better Chateauneufs and Saint-Cosme is certainly one of the best Gigondas producers.  At 12 years from vintage, this seems to be at about peak.  2006 was a very good if not remarkable vintage.  Being caught between the classic 2005 and the ostentatious 2007, it got a bit over looked.  Purple/ruby in color.  The nose has cherries, spice, minerals, slight tobacco/dried leaves and dried cherries.  On the palate, this

2007 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France, Rhone, Wine Review

This wine is in the beginnings of its prime drinking window IMO.  It should be good for at least another decade.  Purple in color.  The nose is great with black cherries, black raspberries, cherries, raw meat, and floral notes.  On the palate, this has a great almost soft texture.  Slight tannins.  Layers of black raspberries, black cherries, licorice and earth.  This is a very clean wine.  Nice acidity especially for the vintage.  Long finish.  This kept improving all night.  It worked well my pasta dish after being open for a few hours.  

2007 Domaine Daniel et Denis Alary Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne La Font d'Estévenas, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Possibly my favorite Cotes du Rhone wine.  I bought a case of this back on release and this was the last bottle.  No regrets, but it would be fine if I still had more.  It is drinking just fine.  It might be a good idea to try and track some down from the 2016 vintage.  Purple/ruby in color.  The nose is nice with black cherries, black pepper, slight earthiness, garrique and still some floral notes.  On the palate, this has some complexity.  Slight layering.  Still some sour cherry and black cherry fruit.  Tannins are integrated.  Good acidity and balance.  At around $15 per bottle on relea

2012 Domaine de la Côte Sainte-Epine St. Joseph Vieilles Vignes, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, slight bacon fact, black olives and slight violets.  On the palate, this is drinking well.  Not yet at peak, but getting there.  Some depth.  Great balance.  Black raspberries, slight char and a bit or earthiness.  Good acidity.  Long finish.  This has a bit more fruit than a "typical" St. Joseph but still shows a nice sense of place.  Should be good for a decade or more.  Around $25 on release, a great value.  A Fass Import wine.  

2015 E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Really a tremendous value.  The annual production for this wine is four million bottles.  To make that much wine and be so consistent and of such quality is an amazing thing.  This is certainly a wine where vintage does matter and 2015 is a very good vintage.  For around $15 or less, it is hard to find a better red wine.  Purple in color.  The nose is nice with black cherries, some black olive and a bit of black pepper.  On the palate, this has nice black raspberry and black cherry fruit.  Some depth.  Medium bodied.  Good acidity.  Works well with food.  I would drink these right away.  Th

2009 Domaine Grand Veneur Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Purple, ruby at the rim.  The nose has cherries, black cherries, anise, spice and slight floral notes.  Full bodied.  Excellent balance.  Cherries, dark cherries, spice and slight earthiness on the palate.  Drinking quite fresh.  Good energy.  Opens up with air.  Pretty close to peak but should stay there for 8 years at least.  It will gain in complexity but lose some of the freshness.  More fruit forward in style for CdP.  Great wine.  

1998 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage, France, Rhone, Wine Review

What a treat to drink a wine at age 20 that is still young but yet gorgeous.  Ruby in color.  The nose has black raspberries, a bit of fireworks, and a nice tarragon note.  complex on the nose and palate.  On the palate, black raspberries layered with rocks and minerals.  Opens beautifully in the glass.  Long finish.  This has a couple of decades of life left and indeed is still at least 5 years from peak based on this bottle.  Bought on release and cellared in my cellar.  Gorgeous wine.  

2013 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage, France, Rhone, Wine Review

This is still young and a but tight.  It is a gorgeous wine but give it some air if you are going to drink soon.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is clean with slight earthiness, a bit of bacon fat and boysenberry fruit.  Seems like a bit brighter acidity than these wines usually have which is nice.  Perhaps just a function of the rest of the wine being tight.  On the palate, black cherries, boysenberries, and a  mineral streak that is very nice.  Deep.  Long finish.  I would hold for at least 5 years but it should last for decades.  At least a couple or more points of upside.  

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