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Château Grand Dignitaire 2017

Château Grand Dignitaire 2017

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  • Rhône - France
  • 2017 - Grenache-based blend
  • 14.0 % Alc - 750 ml

Locals call it “the real Châteauneuf.” And this is your chance to taste it.

What’s the story? Basically, world-famous Rhône Valley icon Châteauneuf-du-Pape has a neighbor: the little hamlet of Châteauneuf-de-Gadagne. The two regions share the same vineyard characteristics – each planted with gnarled, old bush vines growing in those famous galet stone-littered soils. In fact, they’re also both perched on the same geographical plateau, bisected thousands of years ago by the Ouvèze River. Each village has been around for centuries and each has their own medieval castle (we’ll get to that in a moment). But Gadagne predates its sister village by several years. And until recently, the wines were labeled as Châteauneuf-de-Gadagne …

Unfortunately, the few producers who still make wine in Gadagne lost a legal battle with the fancy lawyers of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and are no longer allowed to use “Châteauneuf” on their labels. We’re not sure we’ve heard the last of this skirmish … but for now, it’s really good news for the value hounds out there. Because these rich, powerfully spicy reds (every bit as classy as Châteauneuf-du-Pape) are selling for a fraction of what they really should cost. (These are “wines of powerful personality with a force, an energy, an intensity to them you will not find among their peers,” writes Decanter.)

Which brings us to Yannick Alliaud’s beauty from his family’s fourteenth-century Château Grand Dignitaire. Named for the opulent entryway reserved for clergy and royalty at the local palace, it’s a classic Châteauneuf blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Carignan.

Need another reason? The Rhône happens to be on a hot streak of fantastic vintages, with the 2018 yielding “charming, forward, elegant wines” (Jeb Dunnuck). So get in now while the getting is really good!

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