22 Sep Top value from France – M. Chapoutier Belleruche 2020 Côtes du Rhône
In the five-plus years of writing this blog,
we’ve never reviewed/recommended a wine from the
renowned French region known as Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
There are two reasons for the omission.
It has nothing to do with the wine itself.
It’s generally marvelous.
But “marvelous” comes at a price.
As you know, we focus on wines that cost less than $30
and are easy to find. Sadly, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is neither.
But there is a more affordable and more accessible alternative…
Côtes du Rhône…which is often thought of as a
It’s Wine Thursday!, our weekly deep dive into a wine
that’s a good value and is easy to find at retail or online.
This week, we’re checking out a bold red that’s produced
in the hillsides of southern France…
in the same region where they create Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Where it’s from
The Rhone Valley is divided into two parts…the Northern Rhone and the Southern Rhone.
The weather in the Mediterranean-influenced south is typically warmer,
contributing to bolder, higher-alcohol wines.
One of the leading producers in the south is M. Chapoutier.
While it has expanded its reach by acquiring properties around the world,
M. Chapoutier’s home and legacy remains in the Rhone Valley.
What it is
In typical Côtes du Rhône fashion,
the 2020 version of Belleruche is a substantial red blend.
Predominately Grenache and Syrah,
at 14.5% alcohol this wine is anything but shy.
But it’s well-proportioned.
Pepper and smoke flavors are integrated with black fruit
resulting in a blend that’s earthy, rustic and at its best
with a hearty meal. This wine would go quite well with steak and/or sausage.
In southern Rhone, the most prestigious vines…hence the most prestigious grapes…
are used to make Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
But Côtes-du-Rhône, like this Belleruche, can serve as a suitable…
and certainly more affordable…substitute.
Where to find it
You can find the 2020 Belleruche Côtes-du-Rhône at Total Wine for $11.79.
Ralphs has it for $14.27.
It’s on the shelf at Safeway and Albertsons for $15.99.
The price at Fred Meyer is $16.99.
You can order it from Empire Wine for $11.95
It’s at Luekens Wine & Spirits for $12.99
Gary’s Wine has it for $12.99
B-21 sells it for $13.98
You can order it from the Saratoga Wine Exchange for $14.97
and Wine.com has it for $14.99