#WOTW: a ripe and spicy crowd-pleaser from the Rhône
Come winter, I just adore the Rhône reds, from the rich, sumptuousness of a high end Châteauneuf-du-Pape to the gentle spicy smoothness of a decent basic Côtes-du-Rhône.
The Rhône has an easy to understand pyramid structure, with everyday good value wines, simply labelled Côtes-du-Rhône, at the bottom, with the wines labelled ‘Côtes-du-Rhône Villages’ a step up in quality. Those that name their specific village of origin are next, with the ‘cru’ wines like Vinsobres, Cairanne or Gigondas at the top, alongside the daddy of them all, Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
This week’s choice is a delicious wine that, thanks to a current 25% off promotion in Waitrose, is also a really brilliant bargain. Almost purple in colour, Les Dauphins Côtes-du-Rhône Villages (normally £9.99, but on promo at Waitrose at £7.49 until 3.12.19) is full of friendly freshness, with bright blackcurrant, black pepper and a gentle waft of ‘garrigue’, the summer smell of baked scrubland and herbs that’s famous in the South of France.
A proper crowd-pleaser, this wine will pair with plenty of things, from chicken and mushroom pie, to roast lamb, but it’s also very easy to drink on its own, thanks to the smooth, soft tannins.