Home Wine Regions French Wine 15 Côtes du Rhône Wines Under $15

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been sharing the wines I’ve explored from the Côtes du Rhône region and now it’s time to summarize the results.  To be clear, I did mix some Côtes du Rhône with some Côtes du Rhône Villages in this summary.  If you don’t like that, too bad.  My blog means my rules.  Seriously though, the difference between a wine with the “Villages” designation and those without is going to be subtle at best.  I didn’t think it was worthy of a separate series.

For years I avoided French wines.  I knew there were good ones out there and I wanted to know more about them, but I was just intimidated by all the options.  I didn’t know a lot about the regions of France and the language barrier made it even worse.  But by focusing on a specific region and exploring it in depth, you can learn a lot about the wines from that area.  If you’re interested in French wine but don’t know a lot about them and have a limited budget, Côtes du Rhône is the perfect place for you to start.

For those of you new to French wines let me give you a quick overview of Côtes du Rhône.  It literally translates to mean “the hills of Rhone” and it refers to an appellation in the Rhone river valley in southern France.  The Côtes du Rhône appellation is spread across various areas in the southern and northern Rhone valley.  Some areas within this region have their own appellations which are considered superior to Côtes du Rhône, such as Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Côte Rôtie, Gigondas and Vacqueyras.  There is also an appellation named Côtes du Rhône Villages which is considered a step up in quality from the broader Côtes du Rhône appellation.

The wines from Côtes du Rhône are mostly red wines and typically blends.  In the northern Rhone, Syrah is usually the dominant variety in the blend, as Grenache is in the south.  There are several other varieties also included in these blends such as Mourvèdre, Carignan, Cinsault, Counoise, Terret Noir and others.  These are usually medium-bodied reds and easily pair with foods.

Of the 15 we tried, there were no total duds.  Most ended up with scores in the mid-eighties, some higher some lower.  In general, wines from Côtes du Rhône are going to be decent wines.

Top Pick

Andre Brunel Cuvee Sabrine

Our favorite was the only wine in the group to score a 90.  Domaine André Brunel Cuvée Sabrine 2005 is an excellent example of what can come from this region.  Not surprisingly, this is from the  Côtes du Rhône Villages appellation.  But we should note that the only other wine we tried from this appellation, Château Beauchêne Vignoble De La Vialle, only scored an 84. Read the full review of André Brunel Cuvée Sabrine.

Other Top Pics

Two other picks, both scored a solid 88 but they are quite different from one another.  The first one is Domaine du Vieux Chene Cuvée des Capucines 2005 for $12.99.  This is a classic southern Rhone blend with 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah.  The presence of the fruit is outstanding in this wine.  It also has some very nice vanilla aromas and a bit of spice on an exceptionally long finish.

The other 88 goes to the Layer Cake Côtes du Rhône, which (as you may guess from the name) is much more “new world” in style than the other wines.  In fact, the grapes in this wine are 100% Syrah.  It is a blend of Syrah from four different vineyards. Ironically, while Syrah dominance is indicative of a wine from the northern Rhone, this one is from the southern Rhone.  While we did give this wine an 88, it is stylistically different than other Côtes du Rhône wines.  Argueably, it shouldn’t be in this line up, but it is a good wine and again… my blog = my rules.

Best Bargain

Since many people come here looking to find the best deals I like to highlight the best pick for a great bargain and that goes to Jean-Luc Colombo Les Abeilles at $6.96.  While it only scored an 84, that’s still a very drinkable wine and a steal at under $7.  This is definitely a lighter red wine on the palate, but the bouquet is bountiful.

The Scoreboard

As I mentioned, there were no duds.  All of these wines are good deals.

Brand

Year

Rating

Price

Domaine André Brunel
Cuvée Sabrine

2005
90
$14.99

Domaine du Vieux Chene
Cuvée des Capucines

2005
88
$12.99

Layer Cake Côtes du Rhône

2006
88
$13.98

Domaine Mas Du Bouquet

2005
86
$10.99

Montirius

2005
86
$12.98

Delas Frères Saint-Esprit

2005
86
$12.99

Kermit Lynch Selections
Cuvée Selectionee

2006
86
$14.98

Perrin & Fils Réserve Perrin Rouge

2005
85
$8.98

Louis Bernard

2006
85
$9.99

Jean-Luc Colombo Les Abeilles

2005
84
$6.96

Château Beauchêne
Vignoble De La Vialle

2005
84
$10.99

La Font du Vent – Les Promesses

2005
84
$12.99

Domaine Brusset Laurent B.

2006
84
$14.99

Domaine André Brunel
Cuvée Sommelongue

2006
83
$14.99

E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Red

2004
82
$13.99
2 replies to this post
  1. Nice list of reliable CdRs. Having now tried a couple of 2007s, and having heard that Parker is nutso over the vintage, we should see even better quality appearing on market in 2009. One I like and suggest you track down: 2007 Domaine Roger Perrin (different from Perrin Reserve); it’s about $39 for the box. Yes, box. IMported by T. Edward; site is http://www.tedwardwines.com

  2. The 2005 Domaine Andre Brunel Cuvee Sabrine was imported by Robert Kacher Selections. At this time they still have cases in their New Jersey warehouse.

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