A Perfect Red for Cooler Weather

A Perfect Red for Cooler Weather

Pair it with a hearty winter stew

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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.

90/100 points

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Arturo Ciompi
Trained as a classical clarinetist and conductor, Arturo plied his trade for many years in New York, performing with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, the American Symphony and countless chamber music groups. While living in Durham, Arturo became the wine manager at two iconic gourmet stores: Fowler’s in Durham and Southern Season in Chapel Hill. He had a wine spot on NPR in the ’90s and has been a continuously published wine journalist since 1997. He has won national awards for his work and is currently writing for Durham Magazine and its weekly blog, “Wine Wednesdays”. In addition, he loves teaching the clarinet. Read more on his website.