France tagged posts

The best Rhone under $15 is only $11 WS88

October 18, 2010 Daily Drinkers  No comments

Robert Parker called the 2007 vintage in Southern Rhone "the greatest vintage I have tasted in my 30 years working in that region... Moreover, the vintage is remarkably consistent from top to bottom".  That quality and consistency might be perfectly expressed in the 2007 Font du Vent Cotes du Rhone-Villages Notre Passion Signor, which is the best Rhone value I've tasted all year.  This wine would probably be good in an average vintage, but in an historic vintage like 2007, it's incredible.  This $11 Cotes-du-Rhone Villages tastes like a pretty good Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  That's really saying something.

Everything about this wine is well put together, fresh and elegant.  Like most wines of this style, it's not influenced by a lot of oak, though half of it does see some time in barrels. 

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Heidsieck Monopole Brut Blue Top – Textbook Champagne $26.95

October 11, 2010 Daily DrinkersHigh End Values  No comments

I've been on a major Champagne kick lately and it seems like anything with the word "Heidsieck" on the label is really good.  In the last month, I've had Piper-Heidsieck, Charles Heidsieck and Heidsieck & Co, all in the $25-30 range and all fantastic values.  This got me thinking about about how three different Champagne houses could have the same name, so I did some research on the Interweb's #1 source of sometimes accurate information (Wikipedia), and here's what I came up with:

Charles Heidsieck (of Charles Heidsieck) was the son of Charles-Henri Heidsieck (a Champagne merchant) who was the nephew of Florens-Louis Heidsieck (of Piper-Heidsieck) and the cousin of Pierre Auguste Heidsieck (of Heidsieck & Co Monopole).  Got it?

Now that you know who founded Heidsieck &

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Yes there is still good 2005 Bordeaux left. WS90 $17.95

August 3, 2010 Cellar WorthyDaily Drinkers  One comment

The Bordeaux marketing machine heralded the 2005 vintage as the best since '82, and with good reason.  The wines are historically concentrated, highly age-worthy and balanced despite their high alcohol levels.  Many of the best 2005 Bordeaux values are long since sold out, but some values remain for the savvy shopper.  Case in point, the 2005 Chateau Domaine de Courteillac which is drinkable now, likely to improve with age, and, most importantly, is a great value.

This wine pours a deep, nearly opaque red.  The nose is still somewhat closed but its potential shows in the mouth where this Bordeaux is particularly silky with firm, but approachable tannins and a middle length finish.  Some of the 25% new oak shows through, making it clear that this is a serious Bordeaux.

I have a good

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Deal Alert: Chateau La Vieille Cure $29.95 RP93

June 5, 2010 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  One comment

If you've been holding off on buying 2005 Bordeaux, first of all where have you been?  But more importantly, now is your chance to buy a highly rated '05 for under $30.  I bought this wine as a future for around $40 on the recommendation of a friend who is a big Bordeaux collector.  I felt good about that price given the 93 point Robert Parker rating, but at under $30 I would have bought much more.  There is not much 2005 Bordeaux left on the market and with 2009 looking like the next "all star" vintage, buy up on this great value to drink for the four years you'll have to wait for the 2009 to mature.  I'll open my first in three or four years.

Robert Parker 93 points

"La Vieille Cure’s amazing 2005 is even better than their terrific 2003 and 2000. The 2005 boasts

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Domaine du Vieux Telegramme Chateauneuf-du-Pape: $30 knock out

May 26, 2010 High End Values  No comments

Memorial Day weekend started early for us today (okay really early), with an awesome Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  Much has been said about second wines on these pages. Telegramme is the second wine from Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe- one of the most famous wineries from the Chateauneuf-du-Pape (CdP) appellation of the southern Rhone Valley.  The top wine, "La Crau", was rated 96 points by Robert Parker in this 2007 vintage.  2007, by the way, has been widely reviewed as one of the best southern Rhone vintages of all time.

Telegramme pours a slightly translucent ruby with an ever-so-slight brick tinge.  The nose hints of good things to come with fantastic red raspberry and dessert scents that remind me of warm apple pie with cinnamon and a hint of smoke.  The fruit theme continues as the wine

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2007 Rhone Deal: Domaine des Escaravailles Rasteau La Ponce RP 91-93 $18.95

April 9, 2010 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

2007 has been an amazing year for Rhone reds and here is the great thing about the best vintages: they turn traditional "great values" into knockout classics.  70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, this wine pours a deep opaque purple/red color that suggests good things are to come, and it doesn't disappoint.

At first, I thought the nose was a little closed with a touch too much alcohol, but after an hour in a decanter it totally changed, showing a great peppery scent framed by ripe fruit and nice smokey overtones.  This wine tastes dense and bold, if a little rustic, without being overblown.  What differentiates old world Rhone from many of the new world Rhone blends is they show a great constraint and clarity while still being aggressive, concentrated, bold and lengthy.

This wine will only

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