As a lover of all things Rhone over the past few years I've found myself drifting away from wines that are Cotes du Rhone reds to the more expensive Chateauneuf du Pape's and Gigondas wines from the south and the more intricate, and age worthy Cote-Roties, Cornas', St. Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage reds from the North. All the while, there have been some awesome wines produced that often get overlooked. That led me to open two very different, but yet, equally enjoyable reds from the Rhone that are punching way above their weight and showing how talented winemakers can turn out some seriously great juice from just about any vineyard.
The 2015 Generations by Domain Jaume, is a very rich, fruit ladened CdR for everyday drinking. Made as a "restaurant" bottling, this is a more fruit forward wine that spends less time in the barrel so the freshness is captured. It's an easy to drink Cotes du Rhone, made from grapes that are grown in Vinsobres, but which has the guts to age five to seven years. It's most notable quality, after the rich Syrah and Grenache flavors, is the very striking hint of Herbs de Provence You smell and taste the sage and rosemary from first whiff. This is not an ordinary Cotes du Rhone, but a substantially well made wine that if found on your local restaurant list, would be worth the buy as it is an outperforming masterpiece.
However the showstopper of the two was the 2013 Patrick Jasmin Collines Rhodaniennes IGP La Chevalière Syrah. Made from mostly Syrah that's not ready (read old vine enough) the grapes for the Collines Rhodaniennes “La Chevalière” are grown on the sandy plains below the terraces on Jasmin's vineyard found on Cote-Rotie. They're too young and not of high enough quality to go into Jasmin's Cote-Rotie, but the La Chevalière, a Vin d'Pays, is a wine that just makes you question how for $18.00 a bottle this wine isn't being poured at wine bars and restaurants which have gone ga-ga over the Spanish Petalos de Palacio from the Bierzo region in Spain. It offers that type of quality, price and head turning effect on serious red wine drinkers. Having now gone through the wine three times in a month, I am stunned at the complexity and balance it shows, and also well aware that if one keeps their hands off of the wine that it likely will age another 5-10 years. This harkens back memories of a Cotes de Luberon wine from 1978 and 1985, Chateau de Mille, which was one of those surprise "bargain" wines that I went through cases of for years, always happy it wasn't my last bottle.