2021 La Solitude, Cotes du Rhone Rouge, Southern Rhone Valley, France.
I have had the Domaine Solitude Chateauneuf du Pape many times in the past and have always admired its rustic and traditional style, both youthful and matured bottles, proving that they age well, but I had not sampled their little Cotes du Rhone before and found it a worthy and easy drinking GSM that delivers a nice value, it’s a wine I will buy again, no question. The 2021 is very fresh and dark in the glass with a purple/garnet hue and a mix of dark berries, florals and spice on the nose that leads to a lively medium bodied, slightly lean and taut at this stage, with an array of boysenberry, sweet cherry, strawberry, plum and currant fruits along with peppery spices, raw meat, anise, dried herb/lavender and a touch of earth. The Grenache comes to the fore with air and a nice balance between lush fruit and savory notes makes this a tasty little wine that hints at what you can expect from the more serious Chateaneuf du Pape promises and is a wine that delivers what you’d want and expect from a Cotes du Rhone without pretense.
The Solitude Cotes du Rhone Rouge is a classic Grenache Noir led red, which also sees Syrah and Mourvèdre in the mix to help give complexity and depth. The grapes are de-stemmed and macerated and fermented, typically in separate varietal lots, in concrete vats and then the wine aged in a combination of concrete and stainless-steel tanks for a year. As per normal here, these Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre grapes are sourced from vines set on gravelly clay and limestone soils, which the winery says are typical of what is found here in southern Rhone Valley. In 2021, the La Solitude Cotes du Rhone Rouge saw a 50% Grenache Noir, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre, all of which gives this vintage its own personality with a bit more of a dark and sultry side showing up, even though the Grenache’s hedonism wins the day. Not overtly fruity or over ripe, this year’s La Solitude makes for a welcome, lightly tannic and eager to please red to enjoy with a variety of cuisine options and can be a crowd pleaser at BBQs, causal parties and or picnics. I will, as mentioned, be picking more bottles of this La Solitude Cotes du Rhone Rouge for personal use and recommend it for bargain hunters.
($17 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive