Winter Wines from Rhone Valley Vines

Today, enjoy a guest post from Lara O’Brien, who once came (this) close to becoming a sommelier.

It’s officially cold in Toronto. As most Canadians hunker down for our usual winter that never seems to have an end in sight, it’s time to change what we drink. Gone are the summer days of Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. It’s time to get serious about red wine and for me that means something that is robust, spicy, and reasonable.

I love a decent Bordeaux or Barolo, but let’s face it, I work in public radio, so I really have to rely on the kindest of strangers to indulge in those treats. For me, the best solution is to delve deeply into Rhone wines. The Rhone area is in Southeast France and includes Provence. (This is Van Gogh and Cezanne country.) The Valley encompasses the wine regions of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueryras, Cotes du Rhone Villages (Cairanne, Rasteau, Valreas, Vinsobres), Cotes du Rhone, Cotes du Luberon, Ventoux, and Vin de Pays. The main grapes used to make their reds are Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsaut.

Though a Chateauneuf-du-Pape can set you back quite a bit, there are plenty decent bottles from different parts of the Valley for $20 and under. Rhone wines also pair perfectly with stews, hearty soups, pasta and most braised meats, making them perfect wines for fall and winter cuisines. Here are some of my favourites with which I suggest you pair a nice lamb roast.

To find online retailers for these bottles, or similar recommendations if they are not available, I suggest logging on to Snooth.com or trying Wine-Searcher to determine other online retail options, as your local wine store’s selection can vary widely.

  • Perrin & Fils Cotes du Rhone Reserve, AC Cotes du Rhone
  • Chateau Val Joanis Tradition Syrah 2006, AC Luberon
  • Domaine de la Grande Bellane Cotes du Rhone-Villages Valreas 2007, made from organically grown grapes
  • Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2003
  • Pierre Amadieu Gigondas Romane Machotte 2004

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  1. Rhone wines rock. They are so good and such a great value. The past 5 years have all been 90+. You cannot but a bad one.

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