A Selection of Delicious Wines from the Rhône Valley
I chose to pour these five wines at my Rhône Valley tasting, because they make a great introduction to the wine styles in The Southern Rhône. The wines of the Rhône are diverse and expressive of their region, and they offer a good price for quality. Here’s a list of the five-budget friendly wines I selected, including tasting notes and other details. This quick guide will help you buy and explore some delicious wines from this renowned French Region.
- Lirac Domaine Lafond Lirac Blanc 2020 (white)
- Château Trinquevedel Tavel Rosé 2021 (rosé)
- Notre Dame des Pallieres Cotes du Rhône Village SABLET, L’Olivet 2020 (red)
- Moulin de la Gardette “Cuve Tradition” Gigondas 2019 (red)
- Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape Telegramme 2019 (red)
Domaine Lafond Lirac Blanc 2020
Region: Lirac AOC, Southern Rhône
Varieties: Grenache 50%, Roussane 30%, Viognier 20%
Vinification: Grapes are hand-harvested, destemmed, stainless steel fermentation at low temperature.
Tasting Notes: A delightful White Rhône blend wine from Lirac. Delicate aromas of citrus, white blossom, stone fruit, and wild herbs aromas. With soft mouthfeel on the palate, and balanced acidity and medium alcohol, this wine is great for everyday drinking. It makes a good companion for casual seafood bites like lobster rolls and crab cakes.
Pairing: Great with shellfish, white fish, aperitif, salads, and soft fresh cheese.
Serving & Aging: Best served chilled at 45°F/7°C. Drink 2-5 years after vintage.
Where to find: Wine.com $23
Winery: Domaine Lafond is a Southern Rhône family winery, that dates back to 1780, and based in Tavel. The family makes wine in Lirac and Châteauneuf. Lafond Roc-Epine is one of Lirac’s benchmark producers.
Château Trinquevedel Tavel Rosé 2021
Region: Tavel AOC, Southern Rhône
Varieties: Grenache 60%, Cinsault 18%, Clairette 12%, Syrah 5%, Mourvèdre 5%
Vinification: Handpicked grapes. Cold maceration for 24 hours, followed by pressing. The free-run juice and pressed juice are blended and fermented, then aged 6 months in stainless vats.
Tasting Notes: This wine from Tavel gleams with a beautiful deep shade of pink. On the nose, the wine has pronounced aromas of red berries and strawberry sorbet. Complex and lively, bursting with high acidity and revealing layers of summer fruit flavors, swinging playfully on the palate.
Pairing: Great with salmon, salads, and Mediterranean style dips. Fresh goat cheese, charcuterie and washed rind cheeses. Pairs well with chicken and shellfish and also ham cutlets.
Serving & Aging: Best served chilled at 45°F/7°C. Drink 2-3 years after vintage.
Where to find:Wine.com $21
Winery: Chateau de Trinquevedel is one of Southern Rhône all-time favorites, and it’s run by Guillaume Demoulin, the fourth generation of his family. The landscape and climate are similar to Chateauneuf, which gives the grapes concentrated flavors and robust style.
Notre Dame des Pallieres Cotes du Rhône Village SABLET, L’Olivet 2020
Region: Cotes du Rhône Village “Sablet” DGC, Southern Rhône
Varieties: 60% Grenache 40% Syrah
Vinification: Made from old vines, the grapes are hand-harvested and sorted. Syrah and Grenache grapes are vinified separately, and the wine undergoes 20 days of temperature controlled maceration.
Tasting Notes: This is the ideal wine for those who steer away from bulky oaky flavors and prefer smooth and sleek wines. With a gorgeous shade of purple in the glass, this wine brings forward a lively array of dark fruit and black cherry aromas. On the palate, the wine is mouthful but playful, silky with soft tannins and crisp acidity. There’s a pleasant peppery prickle and a hint of licorice towards the finish.
Pairing: Great with meat dishes in general. I can even suggest it on its own, maybe with aged salty cheese in the evening after dinner. Or with Veal or moderately spicey Indian dishes.
Serving & Aging: Serving temperature 60°F/16°C. Drink 3-5 years after vintage.
Where to find: This vintage is available at wine.com $17
Winery: Domaine Notre Dame des Pallières is a very old family estate, with many generations of winemaking experience in the family. The wines come from forty years old vines in the village of Sablet in the Southern Rhône, planted on the hillsides above the village.
Moulin de la Gardette "Cuve Tradition" Gigondas 2019
Region: Gigondas AOC, Southern Rhône
Varieties: 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah
Vinification: Grapes are hand-picked, sourced from old vines parcels from different sits at high altitude, and they were harvested in October—a month later than the usual harvest time. Whole bunches and partially destemmed grapes were fermented in cement tanks and underwent a long maceration time. The wine is aged for 18 months in Barriques (228-liter Burgundy barrels).
Tasting Notes: Here’s a perfect example of Gigondas wines. This is a wine that you’ll find yourself returning to many times, considering its smoothness, complexity and versatility and price value too. The aromas of dark berries and black plum, garigue herbs, leather and hints of white pepper are unmistakable and very alluring. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, with good acidity. The flavors are pleasantly robust and ample, with refined tannins and a smooth, fleshy texture. The dynamic balance between elegance and power is well represented in this wine.
Pairing: Pick your favorite meat because this wine is super good with any. My personal favorites are rosemary-lamb cutlets, grilled spiced meat kebabs, steak au poivre, and Middle Eastern kofta dishes.
Serving & Aging: Serving temperature 63°F/17°C. Good to drink 4-12 years after vintage.
Where to find: I got this wine at Draeger’s Market Danville $35, but its also available online at K&L Wines
Winery: Moulin de La Gardette is considered to be one of the Southern Rhône’s ten most exciting estates by esteemed wine critics. It is a small 10ha/25acers family-owned property in Gigondas with vineyards stretching from the plateau close to the village to the foothills of the Dentelles de Montmirail Mountains. The winery has distinctively performed the magic formula of terroir + great varieties + superior winemaking.
Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape Telegramme 2019
Region: Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC, Southern Rhône
Varieties: 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 6% Mourvèdre, 4% Cinsault
Vinification: Grapes are hand-picked, through multiple sorting, then destemmed, and fermented in temperature controlled vats for 25-30 days, followed by pneumatic pressing, and then malolactic fermentation. The wines are aged 15-16 months in French oak foudres. These wines are unfiltered and released at 18 months after harvest.
Tasting Notes: This wine shows an exquisite harmony between plush and powerful characteristics. The unmistakable pale garnet color is revealing the dominant grape here, Grenache. Expressing aromas of just ripe red plum and dark cherries preserve, with hints of herbal notes. The palate is steely with zippy acidity and savory finish followed by a peppery spike towards the end.
Pairing: The classic pairing here is a French gigot d’agneau (roast leg of lamb) with Provençal-style vegetables. Or try it with game meat, rabbit, and duck.
Serving & Aging: Serving temperature 63°F/17°C. Best to drink 3-6 years after vintage.
Where to find: Draeger’s Market and wine.com $57
Winery: Domaine Vieux Telegraphe was founded in 1895, and takes its name Vieux Telegraphe (Old Telegraph) from a rocky plateau in the Domaine where in 1792 Mr. Chappe, the inventor of the optical telegraph, installed a relay tower.
The wines of Vieux Télégraphe make the best representation of the terroir of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The wines expresses the rugged terrain, the galet stones in vineyards, dramatic hot climate and exposure to the mistral wind. The Brunier Family has been harmonizing this incredible balance for many generations, focusing on Grenache as the primary backbone of their blends.