Sunday, March 25, 2018

Vignerons de l'Enclave des Papes Cotes du Rhone Villages Valreas Cuvee Prestige, 2015

When you think about wine bargains from Trader Joe's, you may think first of "two buck Chuck," the Charles Shaw wines from California. As far as I am concerned, these are commercial, manufactured wines that are not even worth the $3 or $4 charged. There are, however, some true wine bargains that should not be missed. And this is one of them.

Cotes du Rhone Villages is a definite step up from wines labeled simply Cotes du Rhone. And Valreas is a well regarded CDR Village, on a par with Seguret and Visan and not far below Cairanne, Rasteau and Vacqueyras. This Valreas is produced by a cooperative that has a good reputation for preserving the traditional qualities of the appellation and the vineyards. I have been buying this particular Valreas from Trader Joe's regularly, at least since the 2004 vintage, and I have never been disappointed with either the quality or the price ($6.99). This 2015 may be the best of the lot.

Medium deep ruby. Has the color, smells and flavors of a traditionally made Southern Rhone. No barriques or new oak. Ripe berry fruit with a good backbone of pepper and spice. The wine is 75% Grenache and 25% Syrah and the traits of both shine through even at this early stage. Good fruit purity and winemaking that lets the grapes speak for themselves. I love it. And, at the price, I can drink it often.

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