People in the know are excited about the 2015 vintage in Europe. Almost every region has reported a superior growing season. But this is not a reason to ignore 2014, when some terrific wines were also made. One area that thrived was the southern Rhône. I recently tasted a Côtes du Rhône red that pleases in every way; and it is a wine you could comfortably buy by the case, as it will be excellent over the next couple of years. It’s Les Dauphins, Côtes du Rhône Villages, Puyméras Rouge. This wine hails from the vicinity of “Vinsobres,” a village with a contradictory name, (it means “sober wines”!) but an area where the Grenache grape is king. This wine tastes like a mini Chateauneuf du Pape, and is perfect as our weather, (finally!) cools down.
2014 Les Dauphins, Puyméras, Côtes du Rhône Villages $16.99 srp
Purple color with hints of brown, and a soft pleasing nose that caresses the sinuses. It’s a warm, spread-it-like-a-butter-knife sensation. The Grenache grape wraps around with a bouquet of raspberry, black cherry and a touch of freshly turned earth. Flavors are straight ahead rustic and almost jammy. (If you like beer, this is sort of a stout for wine drinkers.) Cherries, berries and a peppery finish provide a sensuous mouth feel. No oak is used, so the flavors are definitely fruit-forward. It’s a perfect red for a hearty winter stew. (70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Carignan) Drink now -2019.