Magazine article Sunset

Easygoing Reds from the Rhone

Magazine article Sunset

Easygoing Reds from the Rhone

Article excerpt

Drinking one of the lighthearted red wines of Europe right where it is made always adds an extra bit of magic. Often enough, travelers find out that being there is the whole charm-the wine is one of the kind that "doesn't travel well." Fact is, only a few liltingly light red wines can carry a large part of their magic with them when they leave home.

One such is Cotes du Rhone. To be sure, it is at its best when you have a Roman amphitheater within walking distance, or a long view from your hill to a bigger hill on the other side of the Rhone, and you can smell rosemary and olive in the cooling evening air. But it does travel.

A wine called Cotes du Rhone can come from grapes grown in or around any-or all-of 40 villages surrounding the far more prestigious Chateauneufdu-Pape. Cotes du Rhone-Villages is a slightly more specific appellation of origin. Only the best 17 of those 40 villages qualify to grow it. In both cases, the dominant grape will be Grenache, plus snippets and bits of other, mostly obscure, grape varieties.

Don't worry about the wobbly pedigree. A proper Cotes du Rhone tastes so good with olives, peppers, and all the other Mediterranean flavors that it makes you believe Galileo's line about wine being sunlight held together by water. …

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