Côtes du Rhône wines sit at the bottom of France's Rhône Valley hierarchy. Perhaps that's because a lot of the wines made there are oxidized, overly alcoholic, and just plain out of balance. Even so, some worthy wines are produced in the region. Here are a few of them, all ready to drink upon release; they go well with a wide variety of cuisines.
E. Guigal 2005 Côtes du Rhône.Half syrah and half grenache, this full-bodied blend has notes of berries and a dash of pepper. Enjoy this velvety wine over the next three to four years. $11-$13
Domaine Gramenon 2005 Côtes du Rhône La Sagesse.The elegant 2005 exhibits a dark ruby/purple color and hints of menthol mixed with Provençal herbs and black cherry, raspberry, and currant notes. $18
Domaine La Réméjeanne 2005 Côtes du Rhône-Villages Les Eglantiers.Made entirely from syrah, the wine is filled with aromas and flavors of blackberries and cassis. Enjoy it over the next two to three years. $25
Saint-Cosme 2006 Côtes du Rhône Les Deux Albions.This delicious wine has a sweet nose of peppery blackberry and cassis, with hints of flowers and tropical fruits. It is meant for drinking in its first three or four years. $13
Domaine de la Janasse 2006 Côtes du Rhône Les Garrigues.Made mostly from old-vine grenache, this wine exhibits spectacular black raspberry and kirsch notes, along with licorice, smoked herbs, and meat juices. $21
Domaine du Caillou 2005 Côtes du Rhône Bouquet des Garrigues.This dark, spicy, peppery effort reveals notes of lavender, roasted herbs, and kirsch liqueur. Drink it over the next five to six years. $25
Domaine Grand Veneur 2005 Côtes du Rhône-Villages Les Champauvins.This wine has hints of licorice, kirsch liqueur, raspberries, and loads of fruit in a luscious style. It should drink well for four to five years. $17
Château de Beaucastel 2005 Côtes du Rhône Coudoulet.Notes of tapenade, licorice, smoked herbs, and meat juices are mixed with black cherry. This wine will provide pleasure over the next decade or more. $25
Château Rayas 2005 Côtes du Rhône Fonsalette.This blockbuster wine has notes of black truffle, black currant, licorice, sweet cherry, and flowers. It will be at its best from 2010 to 2025. $56
Wines rated from 96-100 are extraordinary; 90-95, excellent; 80-89, above average to very good.