Wine: The Rhoning Stones
Grapes: Grenache (60 percent), syrah (30 percent), mourvedre (10 percent)
Region: Cotes du Rhone, France
In the glass: The Rhoning Stones is a deeply opaque purplish-red color with a dense core going out into a fine violet-red rim definition and medium viscosity.
On the nose: It is incredibly attractive with mixed black and sweetish red berry fruit, all-spice character, red flowers, roses, then ripe cranberry juice, boysenberry sorbet and cherries jubilee, followed by hints of phenolics, white pepper and fruit-driven minerality.
On the palate: The wine opens up with a supple, rounded melange of fruit terrine made from raspberries, cherries and blackberries. There’s blueberry juice, too, and spice components with a touch of exotics. The midpalate continues the pleasant patch set by the opening and again shows focused balanced red and black fruit in play with soft tannins, going through to the finish, which is laced with a hint of anise and minerals from alluvial soils.
Odds and ends: The Rhoning Stones is from the southern part of the Rhone Valley and some of the fine vineyards in the sought-after Cotes du Rhone. The name is a clever wordplay on this region and the famous British band. It is a delicious wine that — unfortunately for some of its much more expensive peers — really stands out in a tasting of wines that are less than $50. It is from the greatest vintage in a half-century for this region, and should be able to withstand the tests of time and drink well through 2015. That is why the price is so appealing. Try it with pizza, because it will play nicely with pepperoni.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.