I have always felt the Rhone wines and their grape varieties match the rugged beauty of the historic river valley in southeast France, upstream from the Mediterranean. They are always substantial, at times finely elegant, but they are wines that could never be described as “delicate.”
We have a few in this issue of The Dozen, mainly whites, including a couple from places more famous for their reds. We also have a small representation from Costières de Nîmes, an area southwest of Châteauneuf-du-Pape that isn’t regularly seen in the U.S.
Toast and drink.
Gassier “Notre Païs Costières de Nîmes ($13). Very lively and juicy with sweetish, plump berries and a hint of brioche.
2021 Caves de Tain “Nobles Rives” Crozes-Hermitage Blanc ($24). Both refreshing and substantial, with tart green flavors blended with juicy fruitiness.
2021 Anarchist Clarksburg White Wine ($26). A crisp but fragrant white made from floral varieties Gewürztraminer and Viognier, with a tangy finish.
2020 Alma Rosa “La Encantada” Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Gris ($32). Good fruitiness without being sweet, as well as flavors of pine nuts and light tannins in the finish.
2021 Anarchist “The Skeptic” Clarksburg White Wine ($32). A skin-fermented Gewürztraminer, the process adds to the grape’s floral and fruity aromas and tastes while adding a savory finish.
2020 Alma Rosa “La Encantada” Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Blanc ($35). Very much in the Alsace style – well structured and with restrained fruit.
2019 E. Guigal “Saintes Pierres de Nalys” Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc ($42). Very vibrant with juicy apples and nectarines and an almond nuttiness in the finish – very enjoyable.
2020 Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia Toscana IGT ($55). A lovely, complex-yet-balanced wine with intertwining green and red aromas and flavors and a lingering tropical fruitiness in the finish.
2020 Mas de Bressades “Cuvée Tradition” Costières de Nîmes ($12). A bargain: Rich and delicious big wine with rounded dark berry flavors and a savory, meaty finish – a wine for carnivores.
2018 E. Guigal Côtes du Rhone Rouge ($16): A rich and sturdy red with good berry fruits, savory notes, a slightly tangy finish, and crisp tannins.
2018 Château Pesquié “Artemia” Ventoux (about $30). Enjoyable berry flavors that were perhaps picked a tad too early with some savory green notes.
Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com. As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.
Feature photo is courtesy of Costières de Nîmes.