February 10, 2008

Chapoutier Belleruche Cote de Rhone

Bill Dowd photo

This French offering was selected by Diane Pedinotti, a perennial Wine Spectator award winner for the wine lists at her two Saratoga Springs, NY, restaurants -- Mouzon House and One Caroline Street Bistro. Husband David, the executive chef, had put together a rustic French luncheon for us -- duck cassoulet, sweet potato tart and lamb lollipops -- to go with the wine.

Chapoutier Belleruche Cote de Rhone

It's not surprising to find a pleasing wine from France's Rhone Valley. They've been making wine there for more than 2,000 years and the appelation has been around since 1937.

This is a pleasantly rich, berry-heavy blend of syrah and grenache grapes that went well with Pedinotti's rich fare. The winemaker urges pairing this particular wine with grilled or roast meats, especially lamb. After sampling it with the grilled lamb lollipops, I heartily concur.

The eye appeal of this well-structured wine is evident in its deep garnet color, followed by the aroma of cherries, then a touch of spice with soft tannins.

Retails in the $15 range.

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