E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône (Rhône, France)

Sale $16.95, Regular $19.95
Discount (until May. 22): $3.00
LCBO # 259721 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Classic southern Rhône: cherries, plum, black berry and dry earth, spice and herbs.
Pairs with: Burgers, pizza, stew, meat fondue, French onion soup, charcuterie, ribeye, prime rib, and, of course, roast chicken or Cornish hen.
Good for: House wine, right now while it’s still cool out.
Alcohol: 13.5%
Drink: Now, or hold a year or two.

Why we're drinking this
Guigal makes bloody good wine in Southern France’s Rhône region. They do it across all price points. You can blow your brains and your budget on a Hermitage Red or Château neuf-du-Pape or you can go “down market” and drink what the farmers like to drink. This is no rare wine — they make 3.5 million bottles of it — but man, it delivers. Famed wine critic Robert Parker’s website gave it 90 points, saying it is “a smokin’ value.” True dat. It’d cost you a few bucks in France, but here you can get it for under $20 or, right now, at three bucks off. Yep, them’s house-wine prices!

Tasting note
This is classic southern Rhône, where blends of GSM reign supreme. That’s Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Taking 50% of the blend, the Syrah brings notes of red cherry, sweet spice, black pepper, menthol and meaty notes. The Grenache throws in more cherry along with blackberry, raspberry and stewed plums. (At 5%, the Mourvèdre gets lost, but would be more of the same, maybe with some extra pepper and cinnamon.) Given its age — four years since the vintage — you’re also getting evolved gamey notes, along with dry earth, leather and savoury dried herbs. That’s classic Rhône for you. It has nice balance, presence and a medium-long finish. It’s a fairly big wine, but not clumsy — and it’s lighter than most Rhônes at 13% alcohol. Such an expressive and interesting wine for the price is a real treat. Nevermind that there’s 3.5 million bottles of it out there, probably most of it in the LCBO warehouse. Grab what you can and save your cash.

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