The Valreas Cotes du Rhone Villages Cuvee Prestige 2014 is a $6.49 Trader Joe’s import exclusive, produced by a Co-Op Winery from grapes grown around the village of Valreas. Valreas is known as “the enclave of the Pope“, because in 1317 the Pope stopped by during his travels and enjoyed the local wine. A Co-Op is a group of smaller vineyard owners who band together and pool their resources to build a winery and hire a wine-maker. Here is a simple (hopefully) run down on the wine of the Cotes du Rhone (hills of the Rhone). If the bottle is labeled just Cotes du Rhone, then the grapes where pulled from anywhere in the Cotes du Rhone growing region boundary. The next step up in classification is Cotes du Rhone Villages, there are 18 villages in the region where the grapes are deemed to be superior due to soil conditions or climate, these wines are sourced from 2 or more of these villages. The next step up is Cotes du Rhone wines sourced from vineyards surrounding 1 of the 18 named Villages. The top classification is Cru wines, such as Gigondas or Châteauneuf-du-Pape. There are rules and regulations on the vineyard yields and how the wine is produced that become more stringent as you go up in classification. The Valreas Cotes du Rhone Villages Cuvee Prestige 2014 is a blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Syrah from a single village (Valreas). Since, as you go up in classification the growing area gets smaller and the law of supply and demand kicks in, the prices tend to escalate, but here the price is only $6.49, you typically find single Village wines in the $15 to $20 range.
The color is raspberry jam red with black highlights. The nose is ripe, rich, red berries including strawberries and black pepper. This is a medium bodied Red, well balanced with solid structure. The flavors are not too ripe, blackberry, licorice, blueberry and fudge brownie up-front. The mid-palate shows tart cherry and spice. The flavors have pretty decent length. The finish is long and subtle.
The Valreas Cotes du Rhone Villages Cuvee Prestige 2014 is a very solid $6.49 Red blend. This is a real deal Rhone wine and while Cotes du Rhone wines offer some of the best value in French wine, they rarely offer this much of a value.