The Rhône Valley has long been one of my go-to sources for classy, barbecue-friendly red wines with spicy, lingering red-berry flavors. The sprawling southern portion of the Rhône region is home to a diverse range of grape varieties. Its wines are virtually all varietal blends, combining the plush fruity notes of grenache, the depth and aromatic complexity of syrah, the elegant perfume of cinsault and the herb-accented intensity of mourvedre. Each of these picks would stand up brilliantly to the heartiest outdoor deck or patio fare.
M. Chapoutier, Côtes du Rhône “Belleruche,” 2014
Michel Chapoutier is one of the masters of biodynamic winemaking, and this entry-level wine gives ample evidence as to why he is also among the world’s most respected winemakers. Serious wine at a moderate price, it has smoky, somewhat floral, ripe cherry notes, and it’s layered and vibrant with an earthy finish. This is one wine that tastes best at 60 degrees. Enjoy it with steak tips.
$13, Federal Wine & Spirits, Boston
Famille Perrin, Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Les Sinards,” 2013
From the family that owns Château Beaucastel, one of France’s most monumental wines, this Châteauneuf is full in body with baked red-berry and rhubarb aromas. It’s lively, chewy and very concentrated with strong tannins and a gamey, savory, long-lasting finish. Grilled or barbecued meat with a tangy sauce would be delicious as an accompaniment.
$45, Boston Wine Exchange
Chateau Mont-Redon, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2012
This is a lovely wine, a bit restrained and elegant for the southern Rhône, round in fruit and medium in tannin, but with some leathery, mineral, coffee-like peppery notes as well. Mont-Redon is the largest single producer of this historic appellation, but it is artisan-like in its techniques. Age this for up to a decade or enjoy it now with spicy, richly flavored stews or braised meats.
$50, Winestone, Chestnut Hill
Sandy Block is a master of wine and the vice president of beverage operations for Legal Sea Foods.