M. Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes-du-Rhône 2021

Deep ruby color; raspberry, blackberry, blackcurrant, cherry, plum, white pepper, earth, smoke on the nose and palate.

M. Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes-du-Rhône 2021

Dry; silky tannins and amicable acidity (3.68 pH). Light-medium body. “Belleruche” is French for “beautiful beehive,” a reference to the bees and hives that thrive in the sustainable M. Chapoutier vineyards. This is blend of mainly grenache (60%) and syrah (35%) with some marselan (5%), most mechanically harvested. After destemming, it is vinified in concrete and stainless steel with daily pump overs. Fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel and concrete. Matured for six months in stainless steel and concrete. No oak regimen. 14% ABV

M. (Michael) Chapoutier is renowned Rhône negotiant and winery. The Chapoutier family’s association and respect dates back to the early 1800s when Michael’s great-, great-, great grandfather, Marius, purchased an estate and vineyards in the now-famous village of Tain l’Hermitage in the northern Rhône Valley and notably became the first grape grower to vinify his own fruit.

Winemaker Michael Chapoulier

Two centuries later, Michael grows some vines and purchases juice from other vinegrowers in the great wine growing region of southeastern France. The Chapoutier family moto is Fac et Sprea—“do and hope”. Their website celebrates audacity: “Being audacious means keeping an open mind, embracing new horizons, other localities, other organic winegrowing methods. Being audacious means combining tradition and modernity, making it possible for them to join forces and engender new know-how and craft.”

M. Chapoutier vineyard

Part of that approach is careful attention to terroir, which includes responsible agriculture commitments and biodynamic agriculture in some areas. Led by winemaker Michael Chapoutier, they pioneered a special wine team dedicated to “accompanying the wine harvest” to provide guidance and support for implementing farming methods favored by M. Chapoutier in his own vineyards and among grape growers who provide grapes to the winery.

Chapoutier vineyard

M. Chapoutier also asserts dedication to consumers. Their stated values include: “Respect for the consumer whether they are wine connoisseurs or not. Maison M. Chapoutier crafts its regional wines with the same dedication given to the most prestigious bottles, investing just as much faith. The aim is always to convey the same love of wine, to give complete beginners a chance to discover its diversity.”

M. Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes-du-Rhône 2021 delivers the delicious, consistent Rhône wine you expect from this accomplished winemaker. Dark fruits. Smooth, silky tannins and supple mouthfeel. Versatile easy drinker. Great QPR. Pair with lamb; beef—grilled ribeye, New York strip, top sirloin; braised, barbecued beef; beef stew; wild game—venison, boar; pork—baby back ribs, barbecue, tenderized chops; pasta dishes; sausage and meat-lover pizza; roast duck with plum sauce. Cheese—manchego, cheddar, smoked gouda, pecorino, asiago. $18-22

M. Chapoutier website

Winemaker Michael Chapoulier