Two Fantastic Bottles – One Splurge, One Value

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To my distress, I’ve realized recently that it’s getting harder and harder for me to find wines that I would gladly drink again that are around $10. I hope that it’s not due to snobbiness, but rather, to the large ratio of poor wine at that price to good wine. However, as I’ve noted before, southern France provides a bounty of terrific bargain wines, after years of mainly being known for Vin de Tables. Now, the appellations within Languedoc and Provence, as well as Vin de Pays, have come into their own.
I was pleased to experience this phenomenon with a bottle of 2008 Domaine de la Royere L’Oppidum from Luberon, which is in Provence. The blend of Syrah, Grenade, and Carignan was lush and fruity on the nose and palate – blueberries and plum – without being jammy, and it also had a slight floral hint on the nose. At $9.99, it is hard to beat! (Let me insert a quick rant – I am SO very sick of the term QPR. You will never hear me use this now-ubiquitous abbreviation again!)
Let me also mention that although I don’t have the means to purchase many expensive wines, sometimes I still get the opportunity to try them. Recently a very generous customer shared a 2008 En Route “Les Pommiers” Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley. The wine is named after the once-abundant Apple trees in RRV. Now although this wine is about $30 more than the Luberon, I promise it will not disappoint. This is a perfect example of wine that shows terroir, with an underlying earthiness and funk to the explosion of cherry, raspberry, and strawberry. If you are going to pay a bit more for a Pinot, it’s hard to go wrong with this one!

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