With summertime in full swing, more people are buying bottles of Rhone Valley wine for their barbecues and casual heartier meals. And most of these reds (too few people still drink Rhone Valley whites) are likely from the Cotes du Rhone, the large, famous appellation of ripe, earthy wines that pair so well with that kind of eating.
But, as is the case with so much of France—and, indeed, so much of the wine-producing world—there are smaller, often more idiosyncratic wine-producing places that are not just worthy of attention, but also of some serious sipping al fresco.
In the latest edition of the Wine Spectator Insider, 2006 and 2007 Rhone highlights are covered, and, as always, it seems as if they offer both great pleasure and tremendous value. From highly sought after appellations like St.-Joseph and Gigondas to the less familiar villages of the Cotes du Rhone itself, these are wines that can range from everyday sippers to special treats for nicer nights of dining. And the best part is their price: With a few notable exceptions, even the best of these wines are fabulously affordable.
And in terms of previous vintages, the Rhone has had a remarkable string of good to great ones—I’m a big fan of 2005, 2004, and 2003 in particular, not to mention several prior ones.
As always, Rhone comes through beautifully…and affordably. How perfect for this time of year.