Cellier des Dauphins Cotes du Rhone Reserve 2018

Do you know how good a wine has to be to earn 97 points from an internationally respected wine authority? It has to be nothing short of amazing and probably available for more than $100 per bottle. Yet here’s a wine rated 97 points by the UK’s Decanter magazine, and available for as little as $11 per bottle. Too bad Decanter isn’t “an internationally respected wine authority.” Which is not to say the wine is bad; it isn’t. But I’d rate it at 90, not 97. Here’s the Decanter review: "This is delicious! Very classy and appealing aromas of flowers, garrigue, spice, and forest floor. On the palate, sweet vanilla oak marries into the charming and svelte herbal, red and blue fruit mix. It's full of flavour, super supple, super drinkable and authentic. Bouquet, taste, finish: all are magnificent." Although the description is more or less accurate, the scoring is not. In fact, I think the winery got it “righter” than the reviewer: "Grown on sunny slopes and harvested at the peak of ripeness, Syrah and Grenache grapes give the wine its deep ruby colour. Extraordinary care during extraction accounts for its unctuous quality and rich mix of sun-baked black fruits. Astute élevage (aging, fining, filtering, and blending) yields a round wine with soft ripe tannins and long finishes." It’s a niece quaff, to be sure and, at $11, it’s a bargain.

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