Southern Rhônes - Fontbonau and Tesco *Finest
If you like wines with the spice and fruit of a warm climate, yet also the classic substance and structure of the Old World while avoiding the heavy-hitting price tag of a Big Name Region, then the Southern Rhône pretty much ticks all boxes.
The Southern Rhône is a large and diverse wine-producing area, producing wines of all colours; wine-making here dates back 2,000 years and there are over 5,000 winemakers and merchants.
The valley has had a turbulent geological past, as is typical for riverscapes, creating steep slopes, rolling hillsides and a huge variety of different soil types. It is theses different soils, aspects and slopes that bring variety and interest to the wines of the region. The southerly climate with high levels of sunshine brings ripeness, body and darker fruit flavours.
In quality terms, Côtes-du-Rhône Villages is a step up the classification ladder from the catch-all Côtes-du-Rhône, but sits below more-specific appellations such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Vacqueyras.
Southern Rhône reds are usually a blend of Grenache for vibrancy with Syrah for colour / tannins and dark fruit / spice as well as Mourvèdre which likes the heat and provides flavours of wild game, earthiness and red fruits.Tesco Finest Cotes Du Rhone Villages, 2020 (Tesco, £7)