If you’re a fan of the big, rich reds from the premier southern Rhône Valley appellation of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but are looking for a less-expensive alternative, consider wines from Gigondas. This appellation produces bold, powerful reds that are quite distinctive from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, even though it’s located only about 10 miles away. Gigondas wines can contain up to 80 percent grenache and are often high in alcohol. Although Gigondas reds can also be a bit pricey, there are affordable labels available like the one reviewed below. It’s compared to a wine carrying the basic Côtes du Rhône classification.
Bois de Menge 2015 Gigondas
Bought • Trader Joe’s, 48 Brentwood Promenade Court, in January for $13.99
Description • A rich blend of 75 percent grenache and 25 percent syrah, the Bois de Menge Gigondas received 90 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. This intense, lush wine has lots of character and finesse. It combines the flavors of ripe dark plums and black pepper spice with soft tannins and an intriguing earthiness. A flavorful wine, it would go well with cassoulet and other hearty meat dishes.
Famille Perrin 2015 Côtes du Rhône Réserve
Bought • Trader Joe’s, 48 Brentwood Promenade Court, in January for $8.99
Description • This Côtes du Rhône comes from the well-regarded Perrin family, which has been making wines in the Rhône Valley for five generations. Fresh and fruity, this red wine is a blend of grenache, syrah and mourvedre. This is a lively, very easy-to-drink wine with firm tannins and a long, smooth finish. It’s a good everyday red that goes well with burgers, roasted chicken and other casual fare.