Sun and mountains and boobs and beaches and sailboats can all be found in the South of France. Now you can add affordable red wine to that list. Like this one from the Cotes de Roussillon.
THE FACTS: Cotes de Roussillon is not a be confused with a place that warrants a coat, especially that of a raincoat. Squished up against mountains from the north, east and west, and laid up overlooking the Meditteranean in the south, this sunbaked spread of French terroir does not see much in the form of precip. As such, hot hot hot grapes like Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan and Mourvedre are planted because they can withstand a good sunburn. In fact, to be officially classified by the almighty French Gov as the right wine from right the region, a Cotes du Roussillon AOC (aka this one) must be a blend of at least three of the aforementioned varieties with Carignan not to be more than 60% (its the ghetto grape.)
These wines tend to drink on the boozy side as well. With so much sun and no rain, sugars climb high during ripening which transitions into a fairly alcoholic wine. Sun, nudity and high alcohol wine? … Spring Break Cotes du Roussillon!
THE LOWDOWN: Remember those old school strawberry candy thingies? This wine kinda smells like that. With a separate note of wildflowers (could be the “is it March yet?” spring fever). The palate drinks with more candied red fruit and a bit of that same flowery finish. A tiny bit of alcohol burn, but the 40% Syrah seems to keep that in check (Grenache tends to be the bad boy with the high alcohols). And although lower in acidity there’s nothing jammy about this wine. It’s even keeled and medium bodied with a solid tannin that slaps you around a bit but never overpowers. Good food wine, solid value.
THE SCORECARD: (out of ten)
Color : Red