Bonpas 2018 Grande Réserve des Challières Ventoux ($12.99)
Startlingly good for the price, this red Ventoux wine is made from typical Southern Rhône grapes: Syrah and Grenache show themselves clearly in bright red-berry and plum fruit, fragrant black pepper, and a subtle hint of bacon on the nose and palate, with pepper and intriguing stony minerality on the palate. Mourvèdre and Carignan are also in the blend. Good acidic balance makes it a fine companion with food, and palatable but distinct tannic astringency in the finish suggests at least moderate aging potential. It’s probably above midway in the label’s 11-14% range, but it’s not hot or harsh. This wine may not be easy to find, but grab it if you can. U.S. importer: Boisset America, St. Helena, Calif. (Nov. 26, 2020)
FOOD MATCH: Food friendly and appropriately acidic, this would be a match with red meat and cheese in general. It should be great with a traditional holiday feast involving roast poultry or beef, but it also proved beautiful with a hearty, umami-rich plant-based entree, a risotto made with roasted mushrooms and deeply browned onions with Parmigiano-Reggiano.
WHEN TO DRINK: It’s delicious and ready to drink now, but I think it could age and perhaps evolve under good cellar conditions for three to five more years.
This is a great value at my local $13 price. Wine-Searcher.com lists a $14 average U.S. retail for the similar Cotes du Rhone Reserve de Bonpas.
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Check prices and find vendors for Bonpas Grande Réserve des Challières Ventoux on Wine-Searcher.com.
If the Ventoux Grande Réserve de Challieres is hard to find, check Wine’Searcher for the similar Côtes du Rhône Réserve de Bonpas.
Follow this Wine-Searcher link to find listings for dozens of other wines from Ventoux.
TALK ABOUT CÔTES DU RHÔNE:
Join this month’s Wine Focus conversation, Côtes du Rhône and its Villages, in our WineLovers Discussion Group.