With grenache (called garnacha in Spain) fast becoming one of the most popular grapes in the United States, France’s Cotes du Rhone appellation looks to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the trend.
Offering a unique combination of quality, comfort and excitement, the wines of the Cotes du Rhone provide seasoned wine lovers with the opportunity to revisit a much-loved classic, while adventurous drinkers can explore the higher quality (yet somehow overlooked) villages-level wines of the Southern Rhone.
Significant archaeological finds have been unearthed in the region, establishing the Cotes du Rhone as one of the world’s first wine producing regions.
The Cotes du Rhone appellation includes 171 villages in the north and south of the Rhone Valley and is the second largest appellation d’origine controlee (AOC) wine region in all of France with 180,800 acres of vineyards and 6,000 vine growers.
Entry-level appellation Cotes du Rhone accounts for half of the Rhone Valley’s production of AOC wines. Cotes du Rhone wines include white, rose and red wines.
Twenty-one grape varieties can be officially included as part of Cotes du Rhone wines. For reds, grenache is the main grape variety (must constitute at least 40 percent of the total blend for rose and reds), followed by syrah, mourvedre and cinsault. For whites, grenache blanc, rousanne, marsanne, viognier, clairette and bourboulenc must make up at least 80 percent of the blend.
The Cotes du Rhone Villages appellation is a higher tier of Cotes du Rhone wines and is exclusive to the Southern Rhone. Spread across 95 communes, Cotes du Rhone Villages wines can be designated as either a regional blend, or labeled as being from one of 18 communes officially recognized for their specific growing characteristics (soils, climate, etc.). Some important communes that make up the 18 include: Puymeras, Visan and Saint-Maurice.
- 2015 Les Dauphins Rouge, France (about $9 retail)
- 2015 Les Dauphins Blanc Reserve, France (about $13 retail)