Last time I shared some wonderful wines at lower prices than the Grand Cru of Pauillac, France. This time we’ll go a bit south and explore some wonderfully smooth wine opportunities in near vicinity to my favorite “smooth” wines from Châteauneuf-du-Pape (CDP).
The reigning champion of CDP is in my mind Château Beaucastel, a truly wonderfully blended combination of Grenache and Syrah. It’s been named the Wine Spectator’s number one wine a couple of times in the past 10 years, and prices are reflecting that dominance. So, I looked at towns near to this hallowed ground, with the assumption that you get similar qualities of grapes from producers nearby…and can find delicious bargains in the process.
Famille Perrin Côtes du Rhône Rouge “Nature” 2017
Go 30 miles north to the village of Valréas, and you’ll find a well cultivated and blended bottle of wine, also a blend of Grenache and Syrah, owned by the same family that owns Beaucastel. It’s rich and smooth, tasting like it’s worth three times the $12.99 price tag at retail from my standard, Binnys.com. It’s got an exceptionally long finish and is in a tie (with a California cabernet) for our family’s table wine.
Domaine de Chantepierre Lirac 2017
Twelve miles west of CDP is Lirac, the home of Domaine de Chantepierre Lirac. It’s a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 20% Mourvèdre, a varietal I was not familiar with. Like its neighbors, it’s smooth, with a hint of mint at the beginning and a chocolate finish that is rich and satisfying. Rated at 90-92 points by the Wine Advocate, the wine goes for $13.99 at Binnys.com.
Domaine Les Grand Bois Rasteau Cuvée Marc 2015
Rasteau is a wine-growing community 30 minutes northeast of CDP. With the same components as the Lirac, the wine is much richer, and it also features a favorite of mine—a lot of mineral. It’s big and concentrated, with a less fine finish than the other two wines but has a depth that makes it great with a steak. Rated 92 points, it’s a steal at $19.99 from Binnys.com.