You're Right, I'm Rhone

 Michel and Stéphane Ogier, Côte-Rôtie, Reserve, 2012

The classic bacon inflected nose is the reason I keep coming back to Côte-Rôtie and it's on display here, along with flourishes of earth and black pepper. It's still forming, needing air to show fine complexity and subtlety on both nose and palate. For my tastes, it's at the start of its plateau. This is a blend of 65% Cote Brune and 35% Cote Blonde and includes some Viognier. (Feb. 28, 2021)

Feldstein, Roussane, 2018

For a very long time, I avoided Rhone whites. When Feldstein first came out with the Roussanne, I was wary and chided him. But over the ensuing years, I've grown to love it as much as I love his various Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon permutations. This is lovely, and as much as I can tell without a formal vertical, might be the best yet. Or, at least, the most up my alley. The summer fruit is designated to a secondary role on both nose and palate, giving rein and reign to the saline minerals, which create a very expressive bouquet and a salty, persistent yet nuanced texture. (Mar. 2, 2021)

I introduced Feldstein into the discussion in order to lead up to another wine made of this Rhone variety, made somewhat closer to the Rhone.

Domaine Hauvette, Vin de Pays des Alpilles, Jaspe, 2019

The domaine is located at Les Baux-de-Provence, which is a sub-Alpine region of Provence. On the nose, vaguely salty minerals dominate the summer fruit. It has breadth and a panoply of flavors, without losing focus. (Mar. 5, 2021) 

Domaine Gramenon, Côtes du Rhône, Sierra du Sud, 2019

The domaine is something of an oddity. A biodynamic, family domaine - nothing odd in that these days - they are located on the northern edge of the South Rhone , but of the 16 red wines they produce under the Côtes du Rhône label, only three are the classic GSM blend. Of the rest, two are Grenache-Syrah blends, two are 100% Syrah and the rest are varietal Grenache. The Sierra du Sud is one of the Syrahs, made of wines vines about 30 years old. While it smells like a warm weather Syrah, more earth and leather than pepper and violets, the fruit has more freshness that you might expect if you're the kind of person to despair of the wines of the Southern Rhone. There's nothing very complex about it, but it's a very tasty wine that would be a delight with spicy frankfurters. (Mar. 3, 2021)

Domaine Gramenon, Côtes du Rhône, La Sagesse, 2019

This is one of the Grenache bottlings, the grapes coming from 50-70 year old vines from three different plots, where the soil is clay, limestone varied with gravel, galets roulés, and/or sand. Caftory says it's the most elegant of the domaine's reds. I'll say this. It's unlike any Southern Rhone red you're likely to have tasted and it's unlike most Grenaches you're likely to have run into. It's graceful, totally obscuring the 14.5% ABV, and it shows a floral side of the grape, as well as a feminine aspect that recalls Gamay or even Pinot Noir. The fruit is halfway black  and adorned by white pepper and wet sand. (Mar. 6, 2021)