VRAC Red Cotes du Rhone 2016

Brand: Vrac translates to “bulk” or “loose”, whilst ‘En Vrac’ translates to “bring your own bottle”. These phrases refer to the French practice of locals filling their own vessels with wine directly from the winery’s tanks. The producer intended to reflect that custom with VRAC, and crafted a simple, French countryside jug-style wine.

Winemaking: 90% of the fruit is de-stemmed, with the remaining 10% left as whole clusters. Fermentation occurs in open concrete and stainless steel vats. After pressing, the wine is aged in steel tanks.

Tasting Notes: Inky red violet in colour with aromas of fresh, juicy berries, earth and a floral hint. Plush blackberry, raspberry, black pepper and smoky earth are backed by food friendly acidity. Finishing dry and fruity. Straightforward, a great fusion of jammy berries and earth. Consistently a fantastic value.

Red Rhône blend [I could not verify varietal percentages, typically Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.]
Estate Bottled by La S.C.A. V.E.A.
14% Alcohol
$20 [3L box equivalent to 4 750ML bottles]
Enjoy now

Jeff Carrel ‘Les Darons’ Languedoc AOP 2015


Brand: French winemaker Jeff Carrel is famous for crafting super tasty wines that are also excellent values. He has worked for a wide variety of brands, including Robert Mondavi and Stimson Lane. Most recently he has focused his expertise mainly in the Languedoc Roussillon region of southern France, resulting in international accolades for his lush, budget friendly wines. ‘Les Darons’ is derived from an “affectionate expression for “The Parents” in the Parisian suburbs where Carrel was born.

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from vineyards in the Laure-Minervois area northwest of the medieval village of Carcassonne in the Languedoc region. The vines are in clay and limestone soil and are sustainably farmed. The Grenache and Carignan vines average 40+ years in age. The 3 varieties were de-stemmed and crushed/vinified together. Fermented and aged in concrete.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with aromas of black cherry, blueberry, pink peppercorn and a trace of sour cherry. Tasting quite similar to the inviting aromas with black cherry, blueberry and a pop of sour cherry over a clean, flinty mineral core. Good acidity and silky tannins compliment pink peppercorn on the clean finish. A fantastic companion with a wide variety of everyday dishes.

60% Grenache, 25% Carignan, 15% Syrah
Languedoc AOP
Bottle by F.11200 for TOOWO The Way of Wine S.A.R.L Négociant in Narbonne
13.5% Alcohol
Enjoy now

Rated 91-93 points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Domaine Le Garrigon Côtes du Rhône 2013

A plush red Rhône boxed wine from an organic family estate, a fantastic value [even with a price tag a bit higher then most boxed wines, it still averages a very reasonable $9 a bottle].

Wineberry was founded in 2001 by Eric Dubourg, who hails from a winemaking family in Bordeaux. A boutique importer and distributer, they source their wines from leading estates and artisanal producers. By developing sustainable, innovative packaging, they are able to reduce the carbon footprint and provide high quality wines at affordable prices.

Estate: Family owned and operated by siblings Daniel and Marie-Françoise Couston, Domaine Le Garrignon was established by their grandfather in 1919. The 200 acre estate has vineyards that stretch from Tulette to Visan in the Côtes du Rhône appellation of eastern France. Certified organic since 1997, the domaine produces AOC, Côtes du Rhône as well as Rhône villages wines. The vineyards are known for their clay and limestone soils, along with traces of the renowned, smooth Rhône pebbles.

Winemaking: With an emphasis on respecting both nature and humans, the organic approach is carried all the way through to the winery. Wines are crafted without the addition of any chemicals or enzyme animal products, and only naturally occurring wild yeasts are used during fermentation. Grapes were sourced from vines 15-45 years old. Aged in cement tanks for 10 months. Vegan.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with aromas of dark berries, wild flowers and hints of oak. Black cherry, red currant and raspberry notes glide along an undercurrent of cigar box spice. Grippy tannins, whispers of smoky oak, and a velvety finish balance and focus each sip.

60% Grenache, 30% Carignan, 10% Syrah
Côtes du Rhône
13% Alcohol
$35 [3L box equivalent to 4 750ML bottles]
Enjoy now

Château de Jau Côtes du Roussillon Villages 2011


Estate: Château de Jau was acquired, restored and renamed by Sabine and Bernard Dauré in 1974. The estate dates back to the 12th century when it was the property of Cistercian monks. Today the 100 hectare estate is headed by Sabine and Bernard’s children Simon and Estelle. The winemaking family also owns Viña las Niñas in Chile.

Winemaking: Carignan and Grenache are grown in white limestone soils; the Syrah and Mourvèdre vineyards are deep moist soils of black schist, with vines that “dive into the depths of the Agly River to the water table”.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with smoky, meaty aromas contrasting with floral and black pepper nuances. Black cherry, licorice and meaty earth notes are accented by crushed black peppercorn, finishing with smooth tannins and clean minerals. An elegant and refined French red blend that affirms its proximity to Spain with its display of bold flavours.

45% Syrah, 30% Mourvèdre, 15% Carignan, 10% Grenache
Côtes du Roussillon Villages
Bottled by Vignobles Dauré
13% Alcohol
$14 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2016

Interested in giving Château de Jau Côtes du Roussillon Villages 2011 a pour? Check it out at Wine Chateau


Sample submitted for review purpose

La Vieille Ferme Rouge 2013


A fantastic, consistent value red Rhône that is a charming companion to any dish.

Winery: La Vieille Ferme was founded in 1970 by Jean Pierre Perrin [of Château Beaucastel fame] as a channel for him to produce inexpensive, straightforward Rhône wines to sell by direct mail in France. It was a successful venture and ultimately was introduced to international markets where they were met with much acclaim due to their high quality and value. Famille Perrin is the leading organic winegrower in the Southern Rhône Valley; the vinification processes and grape varieties at La Vieille Ferme [The Old Farm] mirror those in place at Château Beaucastel in Châteauneuf du Pape.

Philosophy: Valuing nature and tradition, for 5 generations the Perrin family have produced wine under a philosophy of “absolute respect for the soil, a commitment to manual methods, and a deep belief that organic viticulture is the only way to express the true essence of the terroir”.

Winemaking: Fermented in cement vats then “kept in both vats and large oak barrels for ten months, then bottled in July”.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with inviting aromas of cherry, earth and cozy baking spices. Parallel flavours of cherry, blackberry and earth are backed by dry tannins, finishing delightfully dry and spicy.

Blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault [I could not verify varietal percentages.]
Bottled by La Vielle Ferme
13.5% Alcohol
Enjoy now thru 2016