Rhône enthusiast? Do your palate a favour and dabble a little closer to home with this tight edit of six Grenache-centric blends, all earth, spice, and elegance. Three come from France (Rhône), and three from South Australia. All far more than the sum of their parts, these six continent-traversing reds are ideal companions to compare, contrast, and thoroughly enjoy. All alike, yet all intrinsically different, they distil just what we love about a spicy, sexy blend.
Aphelion WInes The Affinity GSM McLaren Vale 2018
Hither & Yon Grenache Mataro, McLaren Vale 2018
Kellermeister Wines The Funk Wagon Grenache Shiraz Mataro, Barossa Valley 2015
Tardieu-Laurent Les Becs Fins Côtes du Rhône Villages 2017
Xavier Vignon Arcane XIX Le Soleil Côtes du Rhône 2015
Château de Beaucastel Coudoulet de Beaucastel Côtes du Rhône 2016
"60% Grenache (60 years old), 40% Syrah (30 years old). Big rounded pebbles from Gard. 12 months in concrete tanks.
Purplish crimson. Rich and herbal – one whiff and I’m back down in the southern Rhône! Sweet start and already almost drinkable in terms of fruit ripeness and weight, even if there is quite a framework of tannin. Something serious and medicinal. Long. Good Value"
16+ points, jancisrobinson.com, September 2018.
"...youthfully dark in color and fruit-forward, but it also shows softening, silky tannins. It's full bodied but not overblown, with a sensationally seductive mouthfeel. Black cherries define the fruit, joined by hints of dark chocolate and enough garrigue to give it a seriously savory character despite the fruit. This is an old-vine blend of 80% Grenache with 10% each Syrah and Mourvèdre, aged 15 months in one-third new oak, the rest in concrete or foudre. Maybe the best Côte du Rhône Villages I've ever tasted, it looks to have the stuffing to go another 10 years."
94 points, Wine Advocate (November 2017)
"This is a very composed and concentrated style with intense, fresh red-berry and cherry aromas, delivered in a concentrated, fresh and energetic style. Impressive wine."
93 points, JamesSuckling.com (October 2019)
"The 2016 Cotes du Rhone Coudoulet de Beaucastel was bottled just two weeks before my visit, hence the plus sign attached to its rating. Planted just outside the boundaries of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation, the vines here average 80 years old. Mouthwatering aromas of red fruit and spice lead the way, backed by a full-bodied wine that's creamy and lush but also silky and vibrant. As always, it's one of the best Côtes du Rhône wines from a given vintage."
92+ points, Wine Advocate (September 2018)
"This has a very plush, luscious and generously fleshy feel. Cherry compote, raspberries, blackberries and plums. Tarry elements, too. Smooth, velvety, pure and even. Succulence, elegance and clarity. Such value here."
94 points, jamessuckling.com (August 2018)
"A 40/35/25% blend, 10 parcels fermented and matured separately. A luscious, full-bodied wine with coherent texture and structure, the control of alcohol a key to the wine's success."
95 points, Wine Companion (January 2019)
"Lovely perfume suggestive of ripe raspberry, some dried fruit elements but more in the cranberry zone and a good dose of pepper and clove. Quite potent out of the glass. Fuller flavoured, juicy and bright though, a sluice of ripe berries and tangy-sour-cherry fruitiness, nice nice, then a slight rasp to acidity and sense of thinness to finish, though that doesn’t undo the wine, just a change of gears. Really nice glossy texture with a vibe of ‘pinosity’, in a beefier sense. Good feel here with high drinkability."
91 points, The Wine Front (March 2019)
"Classic southern Rhone Valley style, with the wild herbs and spices of the garrique giving pleasure in the rims of aromas and flavours alike. It will be hard to keep your hands off it, but it could be a knockout with more time in bottle."
95 points, Wine Companion (September 2019)
"There's a really lovely marriage of sweeter fruit gamey, earthy characters in this wine. I like the general sense of detail in the wine too - sheets of fruit character layered on spice, savouriness and a fresh pool of acidity. It feels quietly complex but wildly drinkable."
93 points, WBM (March/April 2020)
"This is developing very attractive secondary spices and cedary oak nuances, all different but all in harmony with each other. Old estate vines have presumably been the major contributor to a wine of real character."
95 points, Wine Companion (September 2019)