2020 Domaine Laurent Charvin Cotes du Rhone Rouge ‘Le Poutet’
81% Grenache, 7% Mourvèdre, 5% Carignan, 7% Syrah The secret producers like Charvin wish you didn’t know is that their Cotes du Rhones are most often far better values than their signature Chateauneuf du Papes! That’s not to say Laurent Charvin’s CndPs aren’t great- they are absolute icons- some of the best in the appellation. But this so-called ‘simpler’ Cotes du Rhone is very nearly its equal in every way, just at a third of the price! Sourced from estate vineyards that surround the Chateauneuf appellation in Maucoil (in the northwest) and Campovin and Boislauzon (further east), the head-trained vines average over 50 years old with quite a few over 90. That old vine class expresses itself in the wine’s wonderful concentration and lifted aromatics of ripe plum and cherry jam, bright florals and that slightly rustic garrigue smell of wet hay, wild herbs and tobacco. The Mouvedre, only 7% of the blend, shows itself by expressing an almost ferrous-y essence and a bit of black pepper while all that luscious fruit has Grenache written all over it! Medium weight, well-integrated on the palate and ready for immediate gratification, it awaits that fall backyard grilled steak or lamb, a long-braised coq-au-vin or other richer fare where this delightful red’s exuberance can show. If drinking this fall, though, I’d pass it through a decanter to make sure you allow all those fabulous aromatics to show themselves. This will also keep a decade or longer making it seem an even better value. Like I said, we love Charvin’s Chateauneufs but we really love his Cotes du Rhone!
Jeb Dunnuck: Just a gem of a Côtes Du Rhône that shows both the vintage and the producer perfectly, the 2020 Côtes Du Rhône Le Poutet reveals a medium ruby hue as well as a great perfume of sweet ripe strawberry fruits intermixed with sappy flowers, pepper, violets, and hints of garrigue. Possessing a medium-bodied, vibrant, taut mouthfeel, it's perfectly balanced, has the vintage's fresh, elegant style, and a great finish. You should buy a case of this, and it will keep for over a decade. Best after 2022. 91 points