Need a cure for what ails you? Then this boutique Côtes-du-Rhône Villages may be just the ticket.
It arrives from tiny Valréas, a favorite wine village of Pope John XXII. Legend says in 1317, he was cured of a life-threatening sickness after just a few sips of the local red. So moved by this miracle, he decided to annex the territory, and continued imbibing the local wines for the rest of his (long!) life.
Valréas is still renowned for incredible wines – its elevation to ‘Côtes-du-Rhône Village’ status in 1967 further cemented its world-class reputation. Crafted by brothers Bruno and Bernard Macipe, Domaine de le Belaise is mainly Grenache – with dashes of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan – all grown on 30-plus-year-old vines high on the slopes of the village’s famed hills. The wines from this special spot owe their charm to ideal vineyard aspect: 1,200 foot-high hillsides that face north and west. This less-direct sun exposure keeps over-ripeness in check, which leads to more elegant, balanced wines. Grapes are also blanketed by cold air streaming down the Alpine foothills – giving a freshness to the wines that keeps you coming back for more.
It won over judges at the Comité des Salons & Concours de Mâcon in 2015 (they gave it a prestigious silver medal). We became believers ourselves in the tasting room – this rich red delivers waves of black fruit framed by warm, spicy notes (25% of the wine was aged in small French oak barrels). Smooth tannins and a mouthfilling finish round out the experience – serve on its own or alongside grilled game, beef or hearty vegetarian casseroles.
Don’t wait for a sign from above to secure yours – limited quantities available.