My wife and I drink wine on a daily basis. If I can save money on our daily drinkers then I can spend more money on older vintages. In my area an $11 bottle represents the lowest price achievable for a wine of quality. The 2015 Camille Cayran, Le Pas de la Beaume, Cotes du Rhone is one of those wines. It requires a few hours of air after which it is an exuberant, black fruited wine. You should buy it by the case then drink it over the next few years. The 2015 Domaine de Belle Feuille, Cotes du Rhone is another solid wine at this budget price point. It is quite focused perhaps in need of six months of age. My recommendation is to buy the Cayran. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2015 Camille Cayran, Le Pas de la Beaume, Cotes du Rhone – $11
Imported by G&B Importers. This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 30% Cinsault. Alcohol 14%. Tasted over two days this eventually reveals exuberant flavors of black grapey fruit which are subtly ripe. With good grip at the start, the acidity keeps the wine crisp matching the level of ripe structure which provides texture to the flavor in the finish. It wraps up with black/purple fruit, dry stones, and a racy suggestion. **(*) Now – 2021.
2015 Domaine de Belle Feuille, Cotes du Rhone – $11
Imported by Winebow. This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, and 10% Carignan. Alcohol 13.5%. This wine remains very focused with a black fruited start that moves to a core of ripe black, powdery flavors then a slightly bitter and mineral finish. ** Now – 2019.
A case of perfectly stored 1986 Chateau Bel Air, Cotes de Castillon showed up at MacArthur Beverages last week. You can tell because the fills are all in the neck, the corks are age-defying, and the color of the wine is deep. The wine itself is simple with flavors of hard cherry and eventually polished wood. And that’s about it!
The wines of Les Champ Libres are produced by René-Jean Dard and Hervé Souhaut. Both of these men produced northern Rhone wines, the latter of which have appeared on this blog. The 2015 Les Champs Libres, Lard, des Choix is a wine of great energy. Both the nose and palate offer deep, grapey, young fruit that is quite remarkable. I kept expecting some Pilsner/yeast aspect to break out but it did not. Instead, this is a personality rich wine that any lover of the Northern Rhone must try. These wines are (or were!) available at MacArthur Beverages.
1986 Chateau Bel Air, Cotes de Castillon – $10
Imported by Luke’s Distributing Co. Alcohol 12%. The nose remains subtle. In the mouth the flavor of hard cherry remains firm. The structural components are still around and the watering acidity reminds you that this wine is very much alive. It needs some air before gaining a touch more interest from a polished wood note. *(*) Now but well-stored bottles will last.
2015 Les Champs Libres, Lard, des Choix – $22
Imported by Louis/Dressner. Alcohol 13%. The aromatic nose offers up grapey aromas and deep young fruit. In the mouth are lively, deep flavors of floral, purple fruit. The initial acidity on the tongue tip leads to a textured wine that leaves an ethereal, perfumed coating of fat-infused flavor. **** Now – 2018.
I am pleased by one of the latest releases of Fornacina for the 2014 Fornacina, Rosso di Montalcino is a perfect follow up to the savory 2013 vintage. The 2014 vintage is particularly lively with plenty of juicy, almost rugged fruit supported by a very fine supportive structure. I enjoyed it youthful state but some might want the tannins to mellow for another year or two. This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.
2014 Fornacina, Rosso di Montalcino – $18
This wine is 100% Sangiovese fermented in stainless steel then aged in Slavonian oak. Alcohol 14.5%. The nose is of moderately deep plums. In the mouth there is an almost prickly start making for a lively entry of tart red fruit then black fruit. The structure is obvious throughout leaving a layer of very fine tannins on the gums. With air the wine builds a ripe, juicy start followed by a mulberry middle and firm, stone accented finish. *** Now – 2023.
The 2015 Domaine La Garrigue, Cuvee Romaine, Cote du Rhone is the latest iteration of a wine I commonly open up at home. The 2015 vintage reminds me, in part, of the 2009 vintage, in which there was no Mourvedre. Whatever the 2015 is composed of, it offers less of the common dark, earth note and more pepper and structure. As such, it is a grapier wine which should develop over the short term and drink for longer. The 2014 Domaine de Mourchon, Cote du Rhone also offers pepper accented youthful flavors. Both of these are solid, week day wines you can drink over the next several years. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2015 Domaine La Garrigue, Cuvee Romaine, Cote du Rhone – $15
Imported by Eric Solomon/European Cellars. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah. Alcohol 14.5%. Pepper notes on the nose make way to powerful, grapey flavors of moderate weight and grip. There are white pepper and ink notes with a mineral underpinning and very fine structure of tannins. The combination of structure and rapier acidity will allow this to mature for a few years. **(*) Now – 2022.
2014 Domaine de Mourchon, Cote du Rhone – $13
Imported by Oenos Imports. This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah sourced from vines averaging 40 years of age which was raised entirely in concrete. Alcohol 14%. The nose is a bit lifted and certainly youthful. In the mouth are flavors of youthful tasting tart red fruit then tooty fruity mixed with white pepper. The wine has textured grip and a youthful structure of fine tannins. The wine is not quite grapey so perhaps young and primary. ** Now – 2019.
It is not too late to purchase wine for this long, holiday weekend. If you are looking for quantities of excellent wine at an affordable price then look no further than the 2015 Chateau Coupe Roses, Bastide, Minervois and 2012 Sella & Mosca,Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva. They are completely different, yet immensely satisfying wines. The Coupe Roses has a fruity, tense personality whereas the Sella & Mosca, is more flavorful, weighty, and touch more mature. I have already purchased the Coupe Roses by the case and plan to do so for the Sella & Mosca. I recommend you do so as well. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2015 Chateau Coupe Roses, Bastide, Minervois – $13
Imported by Vintage ’59. This wine is a blend of 48% Carignan, 46% Grenache, and 6% Syrah. Alcohol 13.5%. This is an earthy and fruity wine with an attractive deep tone. It has the right amount of weight and ink. The very fine structure slowly builds, supporting the ripe fruit which is tense from acidity. There is really good flavor after one hour. The earthy note pervades until the mineral, lip-smacking finish. *** Now – 2018.
2012 Sella & Mosca,Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva – $13
Imported by Palm Bay International. This is 100% Cannonau that was fermented in stainless steel then aged for two years in large Slavonian oak barrels. Alcohol 14%. This is a flavorful, weighty wine with lively acidity that cuts through. There are dry hints of black fruit and a general sense of a warm climate. This is a wine for drinking now with interesting, dark, dry, spiced flavors throughout. There is even a little structure in the end. *** Now.
We recently went through a few bottles of the 2014 Birichino, Cinsault Old Vines, Brechthold Vineyards, Mokelumne River, Lodi. Last tasted nearly a year ago I think it is time to start drinking up any of your remaining stocks. From Rajat Parr and Sashi Moorman the 2014 Lompoc Wine Co, Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills manages to be a lighter wine with lower alcohol and avoid any unripe, yeasty character. I rather enjoyed the flavor and the price. My only gripe is the short finish. Worth trying though. The Birichino is from Weygant Wines and the Lompoc from MacArthur Beverages.
2014 Birichino, Cinsault Old Vines, Brechthold Vineyards, Mokelumne River, Lodi – $24
This wine is 100% Cinsault sourced from vines planted in 1886. Alcohol 13%. After one hour of air there are aromas of powdery, light red strawberry. There are similar flavors in the mouth of candied, cherry, strawberry in this smooth yet very finely textured wine. This bright red fruited wine is quite nice and while lighter towards the finish the fruit leaves an impression of weight. It could use just a touch more acidity. **(*) Now – 2017.
2014 Lompoc Wine Co, Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills – $18
Alcohol 12.5%. There is a light nose of cinnamon and early harvest fruit. In the mouth the wine is a touch puckering but does have powdery ripeness and ethereal strawberry flavor. The wine expands quickly with a sense of weight but stops a bit short in the finish. The bright entry makes way to a mineral like hint and even some grip. **(*) Now.
After a particularly unpleasing bottle of 2014 Louis-Antoine Luyt, Pais de Yumbel, a bit spritzy and high-toned as if it did not survive unsulphured transit, I was exceedingly pleased by a bottle of 2010 Clos Ouvert, Primavera, Secano, Valle de Maule. It was four years ago that Phil first introduced me to the wines of Louis-Antoine Luyt and indeed the first time I tried this vintage of Primavera. Those four years have transformed this into a complex, attractive, and engaging wine. My brother-in-law and I finished the bottle before we left the dinner table. Need I write more? This wine was available at MacArthur Beverages.
2010 Clos Ouvert, Primavera, Secano, Valle de Maule
Imported by Louis/Dressner. The nose is complex with aromas of leather and mulberry with bright berries breaking through. In the mouth the juicy acidity immediately carries cedar and leather notes. The wood box flavors complement the red and blue fruit evocative of a maturing Bordeaux. There are still very fine drying tannins in the finish which is also when the flavors become drier. It is like a hypothetical mash-up of a brighter, orange-citrus and red fruited claret. **** Now – 2020.