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Staff Favorite 2015 & 2016 Rhône Reds at Bargain Prices - 02/16/2018 - Rhone Valley

When it comes to everyday red wine values, few regions consistently deliver like the Rhône. This is especially true in top vintages like 2015 and 2016. Given this, we’ve decided to spotlight three wines from the Rhône that not only left us more than impressed, but did so at a bargain price. Roger Sabon and Domaine Marcoux are always on our short list for top estates out of the Rhône, as both are known for crafting wines that not only highlight their expressive fruit, but also deliver the unique terroir of the region impeccably. Marcoux’s 2016 Côtes-du-Rhône and 2015 Lirac "Lorentine" are jaw-dropping values that way over deliver given their modest prices. Each are classics in their category and style, offering excellent balance and poise, with ample fruit flavors carrying from the first sip to the last. Similarly, the sub-$12 “Rhône by Roger Sabon” is a pure delight to drink, as it shows remarkable power and verve along with loads of blackberry, raspberry, and exotic spice. Common to all three is their broad appeal. These wines aren’t overly complicated or fussy and are graced with subdued tannins and a silky delivery. They are exceptional on their own, but also have the body and structure to pair with a wide array of dishes. This trio is also an excellent introduction to the 2015 and 2016 vintages. Before you decide to drop top dollar on a Châteauneuf, give these inexpensive charmers a spin. Scroll through the staff reviews below and you’ll see why we think they are the perfect house reds.

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2016 Domaine Roger Sabon "Rhone by Roger Sabon" ($11.99)

Wine Spectator: "Pure, fresh cherry and black currant paste flavors are carried by a nice racy bolt of graphite, ending with light tobacco and black tea hints. (JM)" (12/2017)

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 24, 2018

This is exactly the type of deal that makes the Rhone one of the best wine value regions in the world. Winemaker Didier Negron uses handpicked fruit from sustainably farmed, 50-year-old vines, aged 6 months in stainless steel for this pure expression of Cotes du Rhone. Rich blackberry fruit, garrigue and herbs have wonderful mid palate weight and just enough acidity to give this easy-drinker lift and freshness. Stellar value for the money.

Staff ImageThomas Smith | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 22, 2018

Im always looking for killer values that deliver big on power, and are reasonable enough to not give a second thought taking home at the end of the night. Enter the Rhone by Sabon. Intense and concentrated with tons of dark fruit and spice notes, I was shocked by how good the wine was at this price. I would drink this any day of the week. For those of you who love those classic power reds like the Closerie Pic-Saint-Loup or the LOstal Cazes, this is a must-check-out wine thats rich, bold, and absolutely delivers.

Staff ImageAlex Pross | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 22, 2018

I was not prepared for how good this wine was for only $11.99. Wow! If you want a little insight into how fantastic the upcoming 2016 Rhone vintage is going to be just pick up a bottle of the 2016 Rhone by Roger Sabon. Loaded with a bevy of dark berry fruit and spice notes this complex, layered beauty boasts a silky-smooth palate that displays remarkable persistence and length. This is easily one of the better wine values I have tasted this year.

Blake Conklin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 18, 2018

While we do have a rather vast selection of fantastically affordable Cotes Du Rhone in the store, the Rhone by Roger Sabon is clearly one of the best bangs for your buck and easily one of my new favorite every day values. It's rustic, and slightly fruit forward, however it's never overbearingly so. Well balanced, and packed with flavors of plum, boysenberry, and some nice earthiness, this heavy blend of Grenache with slight touches of Syrah and Cinsault is definitely a crowd pleaser.

Staff ImageKeith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 18, 2018

Sabon was one of our break out stars for our 2015 Chateauneuf campaign and 2016 looks to be equally great. How do we know? Taste this 2016 Cotes du Rhone-esque bottling from them. For $12, you get a fleshy rich and ultimately very satisfying wine that delivers layers of delicious Rhone pleasure. With the quality of 2016 showing through this humble little wine, there is no need to wait months for the CDPs. You can enjoy this gem right now.

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2016 Domaine de Marcoux Cotes-du-Rhone ($16.99)

Staff ImageThomas Smith | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 22, 2018

The 2015 Marcoux Chateauneuf-du-Pape was my favorite of the season, and I was super excited to see the Cotes-du-Rhone arrive in the warehouse. Its good. I mean, really, really good. As you creep out of $10-15 Cotes-du-Rhones into the $15-25 price point, you tend to see these wines just push harder on bigger, fatter, and richer. The Marcoux takes a defiant stance. It shows lifted and elegant red fruits with agile acid and exceptional balance. With gentle weight, but exceptional intensity, this wine has wonderful character, is expertly executed, and a total standout in the Cotes-du-Rhone category.

Staff ImageAlex Pross | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 22, 2018

If you're a fan of Marcoux then you are definitely in for a treat with the 2016 Marcoux Cotes du Rhone. This wine starts off with an intoxicating nose of red licorice and candied red raspberries and then deftly pivots to fresh flower and earth notes. There's a distinctly Burgundian feel here with high-toned red fruits, remarkable balance and harmony and an elegance rarely found in a Cotes du Rhone. The wine finish with impressive purity and freshness and it lingers ever so slightly on the delightful finish. This is a must buy for any wine lover who is a fan of Grenache done the right way.

Blake Conklin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 18, 2018

Domaine De Marcoux is slowly turning into one of my favorite Southern Rhone producers, and their 2016 Cotes Du Rhone is an outstanding Southern Rhone blend. Mildly zesty, and subtle flavors of strawberry twizzlers on the palate, this wine delivers a good mouthfeel, mild tannins, and great structure. Dinner party wine for sure.

Staff ImageKeith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 18, 2018

Marcoux was my winery of the year last year for their incredible Chateauneuf releases. The 2015s were expressive, classic and layered with so much potential that they will surely deliver the goods over the next two decades. The 2016 vintage is as equally impressive (and maybe ultimately longer living). The wines show a level of depth that goes beyond simple hedonism. The basic or entry level wines from producers like Marcoux are always the great bellwether for exciting vintages because when the starter wines show this great, you know the high-end stuff will be legendary. Marcoux's Cotes du Rhone is from dedicated vineyards following all the same bio-dynamic principals they use for the Chateauneuf, so it is no mere declassified or second wine. This is serious Cotes du Rhone that ages beautifully but is also out of the gate charming. Lush strawberry, dried tobacco and potpourri permeate the glass and sweet fruit persists on the palate. So before the hype begins, drink this wine and be ahead of the curve and know what we know...2016 is great from top to bottom and Marcoux is on track to be my Winery of the Year two years running.

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2015 Domaine de Marcoux Lirac "Lorentine" ($19.99)

Staff ImageThomas Smith | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 22, 2018

This is proper French wine. The nose has gamey and savory elements with floral nuances. The palate leans towards richness with dark fruits and blue fruit with tons of spice. Intriguing as well as inviting, It definitely hits that spot between Cotes-du-Rhone and Chateauneuf-du-Pape. It's soft and supple, but still has plenty of intriguing elements that keep you going back to your glass again and again.

Staff ImageAlex Pross | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 22, 2018

Gorgeous blackberry notes mingle seamlessly with spice and scorched earth nuances. The palate is dark berry, minced meat pie, black pepper and dried herbs. A serious wine that slowly unfurls to reveal the depths of complexity and layers of dark fruit this is a big red that showcases the power and richness that are the hallmarks of the 2015 Rhone vintage.

Staff ImageKeith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 18, 2018

You hear of Lirac producers making Chateauneuf-du-Pape but not so much about Chateauneuf producers picking up Lirac properties...until now! Marcoux recognized the quality of the vineyards and potential and with their bio-dynamic sensibilities found some incredible plots across the river in Lirac and are now making this exciting red. Full of smoky rustic flavors, this is old-school with peppery spice and saddle leather wrapped around blackcurrant and roasted plum fruit. The perfect foil for some cowboy chili or braised pork belly.