Time after time, I continue to be amazed at the values I can find from the Southern Rhone. It's like a well kept secret that I'm afraid is going to get out. Really good wines are no longer just coming from Chateuneuf-du-Pape. There are great wines in Rasteau, Vacqueyras, Gigondas, and in the plain old Cotes du Rhone appelation.
Today's subject is the Domaine "La Garrigue" Cuvee Romaine Cotes du Rhone 2009. This unfined and unfiltered blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Syrah has a very nice, bold purple color in your glass. The bouquet is heavenly. Intense aromas of sweet black raspberry are complemented by lavender and notes of violet. It smells like a $75 bottle of wine! On the palate, you get lots more of the same black raspberry fruit up front. The wine is medium-full in body and has some strong stony tannins on the finish. This mineral element provides quite a contrast to all the fruit you get at first. The finish is subtly long with much more minerality than fruit.
Overall this wine delivers a nice value at $15, with a caution to those who don't like too much in the minerality or stony tannins department. The fruit is delicious, but you will get a pretty strong complement of minerality to go with it. From a pairing standpoint, I may insult the French when I say this, but this would go beautifully with some slow smoked baby back ribs slathered in your favorite BBQ sauce.