Two recent email alerts from G.B. Russo & Son in Grand Rapids caught my attention. The first announced the close-out sale of 2008 Pesquie La Terrasses Ventoux for $5.99 a bottle or $60 a case. That's an amazing price for an excellent wine that I reviewed on this blog last summer [June 30, 2011]. I didn't like the 2006 and 2007 La Terrasses; there was a tanky smell that I didn't care for. So I was dubious when I saw the 2008 (a lesser vintage) on sale for $9.99 at D&W Market in Kalamazoo. I bought a bottle to try and went back for more. If you don't have any of the 2008 and you're in the vicinity of Grand Rapids, I suggest you load up the trunk--if it's not too late.
A more recent email alert reported that Russo had purchased the entire Michigan allocation for 2010 Cercius Cotes du Rhone Villages, a wine highly praised and rated 93 points by Robert Parker. From 70- to 80-year-old Grenache and Syrah vineyards near Domazon, just south of Chateauneuf du Pape, Cercius is produced by Michel Gassier and imported by Eric Solomon of European Cellars. Parker and Russo compare it to a Chateauneuf du Pape in everything but price. At $15.99 a bottle, it will probably go fast.
I haven't tasted Cercius but am not planning a special trip to try it. Parker's highest points these days usually go to Rhone wines that are more international in style, with at least some use of new oak and/or small barrels. I prefer a more traditional style and know there are plenty of good choices available for $8 to $10 in my market--such as the 2010 Vieux Chene VDP Vaucluse Grenache and the 2009 Vieux Chene VDP La Dame Vieille.