I’ve been learning a lot about Rhones lately. Specifically New World Rhones from the West Coast here in the US. For me, that means there are a lot of good quality, local wines available. But I can’t help but feel one can only appreciate what the New World has to offer by studying from those who have been doing it the longest.

Where do our modern-day “Rhone Rangers,” like Bonny Doon and their ilk get their influence? How are Old World techniques implemented today? For that we must turn to Old World wines straight from the Motherland, France.

I am but one little woman in the whole wine world and don’t have fancy French labels at my fingertips. Luckily there are producers like Guigal Estate who import affordable French wines for regular folks and wannabe wine snobs like myself.

About the Wine: The wine was produced from vineyards along the Côte Du Rhône — obviously, it’s in the name. But because the name doesn’t specify a specific vineyard or even village, this means that the grapes are a blend of various vineyards’ crops throughout the appellation. This particular Rhone blend contains 50% Syrah, 45% Grenache, and 5% Mourvèdre. 14% ABV

Flavor Profile: Because this wine is an accumulation of various vineyards, it does lack that “essence of the land” (vin de terrior) that you may find in a higher end label. But that’s not to say that this wine is lacking in anyway. In fact, quite the opposite. The first thing to note is how beautiful this wine is in the glass, an almost glittery ruby red. On the nose, the wine gives off an earthy aroma mixed with dark fresh fruits. On the tongue, this is a well-rounded, medium bodied red wine that maintains traditional Rhone flavors including red berries and herbaceous spices. I would say the acidity is low, although there is enough to bring out the brightness in the fruit notes. The wine has a medium-level of tannins that truly come forth in the back of the tongue and in the aftertaste.

Food Pairing: Being that this is a French wine, I can’t help but recommend pairing it with a French-inspired dish (like my American take on a Duck a l’orange). You’ll want a meat that is a bit gamey to bring out the earth notes in the wine, a lighter side that can let the subtle fruit notes shine, and of course a pungent jus to pick up any heft the wine may lack.

More Info: To learn more about E. Guigal and their wines, visit their website. I personally purchased this wine at Whole Foods (Price: $19.99)


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