This is the kind of French wine that makes me never want to overspend on French wine again—that good. Anyone who loves French wine knows how easy it is to spend too much. There’s no other wine country that seems so intent on messing with prices and messing with your mind at the same time. Certain parts of France seem to count on you losing all sense of rationality when it comes to the prices you’re willing to pay for a bottle. The dichotomy, however, is that when it comes to finding a fantastic bottle of wine in the, say, $15-35 range, France is a treasure trove. You just have to know where to look. Maybe unbeatable when you come across a great bottle and you consider its QPR (quality to price ratio)… all that history in the DNA of the vines and the winemakers. It’s simply awesome.
I’m thrilled by what’s coming out of the South of France these days. This 2015 MAS LAS CABES Côtes Du Roussillon from Domaine Gardies, a blend of 60% Syrah, 30% Grenache and 10% Carignan, is an inspired blend that, if you tasted blind, just might stand up against a lineup that included Rhone blends from the Côte Rôtie or Châteauneuf-du-Pape, two of the aforementioned areas of France that love to fuck with you pricewise. The nose on the Mas Las Cabes is redolent of northern Rhone Syrahs—salt, brined meat, red cherry and violets. It’s delightful when the wine hits the palate—supple, cottony mouthfeel, bright acidity for exceptional balance, and juicy red cherry fruit-forwardness. There’s a suggestion of voluptuousness that’s kind of a tease, but otherwise this is a rather stately red blend, surprisingly seamless and complete for the money. That good. –J.M.