The Beaucastel Cotes-du-Rhones is truly one of my favorite wines. If I had to pick a “house” red wine, this would be it. I will admit that the 2008 vintage is a far cry from the 2007, but it’s also priced accordingly. This is an unfiltered wine with generous amounts of cherries, raspberries, pepper and spice and earthy qualities like clove and star anise. But the one overriding profile is the stewed prunes and ripe figs. Oh the stewed prunes! It’s a lovely, balanced wine that gives you a hint of its big brother for a fraction of the price. At the end of the day what makes this such an amazing wine is the attention of the winemaker to incorporate the four key southern Rhone grapes. All too often we are stuck with Cotes-du-Rhones made with only Grenache and Syrah. Mourvedre and Cinsault are not afterthoughts, just like Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot are not afterthoughts in well-made Bordeaux. This is a wine of great value and great sophistication for a song. Food Pairing Suggestions: This Cotes-du-Rhone is a divine pairing with braised short ribs. Yes, I know that Zinfandel or 100% Syrah might be the textbook pairing, but just trust me on this one and you won’t be sorry. You might also try braised rabbit, stewed or grilled lamb, duck confit or my dark horse pick – venison sausage. This is just a great wine. Enjoy it!