Everyday French Rhone & Burgundy

One of the more established small importers of French wine, Ross Duke, recently showed off his latest shipment of less-expensive, everyday drinking wines from the Rhone Valley and southern France. I particularly liked his Pradelle Crozes-Hermitage 2010 ($21.90), elegant, spicy and very drinkable with just 13 per cent alcohol; Montmartel Cotes du Rhone Blanc (viognier, grenache blanc and clairette) – fine texture, soft and remarkably good drinking for just $15.20; and Millet Chablis 2011 ($22.75) – clean, delicate and balanced. The Collet Chablis 1er cru Vaillons 2010 was also a fine buy at $29.10 – dry, tangy, classic chalky/oyster-shell characters. Duke also has a few bottles of the rare Thevenet white burgundies, which feature a small percentage of intentional botrytis. The Cuvee EJ Thevenet 2005 Vire-Clesse ($38.65) and Domaine de Bongran 2007 Macon Villages Blanc ($22.75) both had a delicious pulpy fleshiness and were holding their age beautifully. Reviews to be published soon. Find out more at www.frenchwinecentre.com

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