It has been a while since I wrote a comparative wine review, but the other night I decided to compare two 2016 Beaumes de Venise wines from producers I've had a good fortune to taste for a few years. The two, Domaine de Durban and Saint Amant are about as different as different can be. Having visited the Beaumes de Venise region a few times, the wines from there are vibrant, world class and under-appreciated outside of the region. They offer excellent value, the ability to age and go very well with winter, fall and spring cooking.
Domaine de Durban is the long established producer imported by Kermit Lynch for many years. They are one of the more traditional producers in the region so while best known for the white vin du natural, Beaumes de Venise blanc, that's made from Muscat and other grapes, the reds from Durban over the years have proven to be great value Rhone wines, rivaling the better known Cotes du Rhone Villages and even Gigondas wines.
The 2016 Domain de Durban Beaumes de Venise is a blend of 70% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre, and has the benefit of being closer to the valley floor. That means hotter days and cool nights compared to the high hill top 2016 Saint Amant Grangeneuve which is blended with 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Carignan and 10% Viognier . The absence of Mourvedre and the addition of Carignan and Viognier in the Grangeneuve makes this wine more floral, and more modern in style. While the Durban is more rustic, and suited for stews and roasted birds and meats, the Saint Amant has a much more open, fruit forward quality, showing a high degree of soil to glass transfer, evidence of how terroir plays into wine to a T. With a filet or bone in rib-eye, the Saint Amant's style and body is more akin to those who like Cabernet or Merlot, while not losing its' dense structure.
Both wines are well made, offer great value and are loaded with fruit. Both will also age 7-15 years depending on cellaring, as they are by no means shy wines.
Given the skyrocketing prices of Chateauneuf du Papes, wines from these two producers, like from those over the hill in the Ventoux, are excellent options in wines that will offer many years of enjoyment.