Southern Rhone

My wines from the Southern Rhone are all individual selections from smaller producers and so instead of having an individual page for each producer, there is a brief description of each and then the wines will be described after that.  You can also click on each producer's name to move to the tasting notes.

Roque Colombe (Region: Chateauneuf du Pape): Beautifully situated vineyards slightly northeast of the village (and directly south of the vineyards of Chateau Rayas) which produce very elegant and perfectly balanced Chateauneuf du Pape.  The expressiveness and elegance of their wines is from a broad variety of soil types in the vineyards which include sandy soils, sandstone, terraces of river stones, marls, limestone, and "safres" - a locally unique terroir of compacted sand which adds balance and minerality to their wines.

Domaine des Capes (Region: Gigondas): The Daniel family has grown grapes in the area since 1753.  Their Gigondas vineyards are located in my favorite part of the appellation in the upper valley between the "capes" of the two Dentelles de Montmirail that are above the village.  The rockier soils in this area are full of minerals which produce the rich deep flavors in their wines.

Domaine de la Cheneraie (Region: Beaumes de Venise): Perfectly located south facing vineyards above the village produce an incredibly rich wine.  The Domaine's name is from the truffle oaks that once bordered the vineyards (chene means oak in French).  Although there are not truffles in the wine, there is a little "something extra" as on my first tasting I recognized the Cote Rotie hints and then verified that they do add some Viognier to the blend each year.

Legende des Toques Cotes du Rhone (Region: Southern Rhone): An interesting consortium of leading "cusiniers" of France choose the blend for this very food friendly Cotes du Rhone each year.

Heritage Cotes du Rhone (Region: Southern Rhone):  All of our wines are wonderful expressions of their local "terroir" but this goes further with expressing the long traditions and heritage of the Southern Rhone.  This is a special "cuvee" produced each year by a collaboration of family vignerons whose vineyards are mainly on the minerally slopes of the Dentelles de Montmirail.  The result is a rich, deeply flavored, and food friendly wine that follows the traditions of local wines that have been enjoyed for centuries in this area.

Passe Colline (Region: Ventoux): Excellent "mountain" vineyards in the Ventoux appellation produce very food friendly, perfectly balanced, and minerally "GSM" red blends (Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre).  The same family has been farming these vineyards for generations and making very expressive wines.

The Wines

Roque Colombe Chateauneuf du Pape 2016


Roque Colombe is produced by a family who has owned a vineyard for over 200 years that is next to Chateau Rayas, which was founded 60 years later.  In the typical tradition of many French farmers, until about 15 years ago they sold all of their grapes to “prestigious” adjacent producers such as Chateau Vaudieu, which is also directly below Chateau Rayas.


The Roque Colombe wine benefits from the notable soil type in this part of Chateauneuf du Pape known as “Safres” which is compressed sand augmented by quartz deposits.  The Safres soil type is known for producing wines of elegance and balance as compared with many of the typical “big and robust” wines produced in the appellation.

In 2016 the blend was 56% Grenache, 34% Syrah, and 10% Cinsault.  There  are primary aromas of rich cherries and very fragrant old roses along with hints of blueberries and hibiscus.  Flavors are mainly of rich cherries and plums along with some interesting hints of caramel. There is a deep red color, a rich medium to full body, a fully saturated mouthfeel, and a beautiful balance between the tannins and rich fruit.

Food pairings would include filet mignon, New York streak, rib eye, roast beef, short ribs, veal chop, pork chops, pork tenderloin, duck, venison, Asian beef dishes, grilled vegetables, and hard cheeses. 

Domaine des Capes Gigondas 2017


This is a fun and interesting Gigondas with its aromatics and layers of flavors.  The blend is 53% Grenache and 47% Syrah and it opens with aromas of plums, dark cherries, soy, and hints of blackberries.  Primary flavors are of ripe strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and dark chocolate but each sip brings in additional notes of licorice, spices, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf.  The wine's medium body is a perfect complement to its robust aromatics and flavors and there is good balance and acidity for lots of food pairings.  The wine can seem a bit dry on the back palate but its grippy tannins result in a memorable finish.


Food pairings would include filet mignon, New York steak, lamb, duck, venison, wild boar, grilled tuna, sausages, meat stews, charcuterie, Mexican food, medium curries, and grilled vegetables.  

Domaine de la Cheneraie Beaumes de Venise 2016


There is a little "something extra" in this wine as on my first tasting I recognized the Cote Rotie hints and then verified that they do add some Viognier to the blend each year.  In 2016 the blend was 52% Syrah, 43% Grenache, and 5% Viognier and it produces beautiful aromas of baked bread, old roses, rich black fruits, and mild limes.  Flavors are framed by black fruits and sweet and well-balanced tannins and include a mix of dried herbs such as basil, rosemary, and sage along with hints of roasted coffee.  There is medium body, good balance, and a rich memorable finish.

Food pairings would include Rib Eye steak, roast beef, beef stew, short ribs, veal chop, duck, meaty pasta sauces, fried anchovies, blackened salmon, Asian beef dishes, vegetable stir fry, and hard cheeses.

Legende des Toques Cotes du Rhone 2019


The 2019 Legende des Toques is an interesting blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Carignan, and 10% Syrah where the Carignan is now a much more significant percentage of the wine instead of more of an accent as with the 2017 and 2018.  This continues to be a collaborative project between some small producers in the Southern Rhone and six very prominent “cuisiniers” in France each year to produce a very food friendly wine.

Aromas and complex and interesting and include strawberries, raspberries, ripe peaches, nectarines, heirloom roses, blood oranges and a hints of vanilla and caramel.  Flavors include blackberries, boysenberries, red plums, and an interesting accent of tart cherries.  There is a medium body that that is smooth and balanced across the palate, good acidity, and a full saturated finish.

The “cuisiniers” have really hit a home run with this being a food friendly wine as food pairings are extensive and versatile and would include Filet Mignon, beef stew, pasta with meat sauces, lamb, duck, chicken, pork tenderloin, pork shoulder, salmon, tuna, swordfish, red snapper, mussels, clams, sauteed shrimp, seafood pasta, paella, cassoulet, coq au vin, Asian beef and pork dishes, lamb and chicken curries, Mexican pork and chicken dishes, grilled sausages, charcuterie, and hard cheeses.

Heritage Cotes du Rhone 2015 

This is a special "cuvee" produced each year by a collaboration of family vignerons whose vineyards are mainly on the minerally slopes of the Dentelles de Montmirail.  The blend in 2015 was 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah and it produces aromas of rich cherries, ripe plums, and strawberry compote.  Flavors include black currants, blackberries, and hints of wild herbs.  There is a rich saturating mouthfeel, good balance across the palate, and an interesting finish with somewhat dry but "grippy" tannins.

Food pairings would include filet mignon, New York steak, rib eye, roast beef, short ribs, beef stew, other grilled meats such as veal chops or pork chops, Asian beef dishes, vegetable stir fry, medium curries, vegetable casseroles, grilled vegetables, and hard cheeses.

Passe Colline Ventoux Rouge 2017

This is a blend of 61% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 9% Mourvedre.  Aromas are of red plums and dark cherries which evolve into flavors of tart cherries, cocoa, and mocha.  There is a medium body, good balance, refreshing minerality, and complementary tannins.

Food pairings include short ribs, New York steak, rib eye, veal chop, cassoulet, grilled chicken, Asian beef and noodle dishes, grilled vegetables, vegetable casseroles, and onion soup.

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Domaine de la Cheneraie Bdv back 180427.
ET - Héritage Rhonéa - CDR - 75 cl 2015.
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