Purchasing French wine can be not only intimidating, but also extremely confusing.
Quality of vintage (year of release) can vary drastically from year to year in Burgundy, while age is very important in Bordeaux, as you will be be sorely disappointed if you open one up when it is too young.
But the Rhône (roan) River Valley located in the south of France might just be the perfect place to start your journey.
Although widely considered less prestigious than Bordeaux or Burgundy, the Rhône produces delicious wine whose rusticity expresses the heart and soul of French winemaking.
No baby to the industry, M. Chapoutier is regarded as one of the best producers in the Rhône owning vineyards in all of its major viticulture areas and has a history of winemaking dating back to 1808.
You might recognize Chapoutier’s labels in wine stores because they will be the only ones with Braille, or seeing impaired friendly text on them. This is in dedication to a blind member of a family that originally owned one of Chapoutiers most prized vineyards.
Also of note is their vineyards commitment to sustainably, the wines of Chapoutier are all produced using the biodynamic method.
This practice encourages natural methods of farming and vinification with respect for soil and plant sustainability and recognizes the farm as its own individual and evolving entity.
Essentially, the grapes are grown and the wine is made with as little unnatural interference as possible.
Chapoutier’s most well known wines are red, but its passion for creating food friendly elegant white wines is also notable.
One of their most affordable and widely available whites is the “Belleruche” White Côtes-Du-Rhône. (CDR).
The term Côtes-Du-Rhône (coat-doo-roan) literally meaning hills or slopes of the Rhône, refers to both red and white wines made by the blending of grapes native to the Southern part of the Rhône River Valley.
The 2009 vintage of Chapoutier’s “Belleruche” CDR is a quality French white with a modest sale price of $10.99.