There's a reason red Côtes du Rhône is so often the default "house wine" in French bistros and cafes. These midweight, dry red blends from the south of France tick all the boxes. Affordable? Reliable? Delicious? Food-friendly? Check, check, check, and check. The key to the success of red Côtes du Rhône is a happy marriage between its main grape and the region's terrain. The Rhône River valley is ideal for the grenache grape, where it nears sea level on its journey from Geneva to the Mediterranean. Compared to most fine wine grapes, grenache is uncommonly productive, giving the generous crops necessary to keep production costs low for bargain wines. But where nature conspires to suppress its total fruit yields per vine, as it does along the dry, stony flats of the Rhône between Valence and Avignon, grenache begins to show its nobility, making richer, fleshier wines whose balance of alcohol, acidity, and mouth-drying tannins fit the fine wine profile. This wine is a perfect example of the region's tradition of using small amounts of syrah and mourvèdre grapes to deepen the flavor and darken the color of a grenache-based wine, which results in flavors that evoke not just ripe blackberries, but also the peppery scent of spiced, cured meats like soppressata salami.
Famille Perrin Côtes-du-Rhône "Réserve" Rhône Valley, France
$10.99 PLCB Item #6794 Sale price through June 24; regularly $13.99
Also available at: