Finding Value In The Neighborhoods of Notoriety

Adjacency matters, often quite a bit. Everyone knows about Napa; its quality and its stratospheric prices. But few know about Red Hills, an appellation north of Napa and which shares many characteristics, but at much lower price points. Same thing with Barolo versus Diano d'Alba, Verduno, and other sub-regions in the area. Certainly there's a reason why the famous places are famous, but when the bottles are trading a multiples of their neighbors', that distortion causes many close-by wineries to be overlooked. And overlooked spots are a terrific place to find high quality wines at relative bargains.

Just 15 minutes from Gigondas and half an hour from Chateauneuf du Pape, Cairanne was part of the Cotes du Rhone Village appellation until just a handful of years ago.  This is the right neighborhood to look for hidden gems. And this wine, the 2020 Francois-Xavier Nicolas 'Entre Restanques et Garrigue' Cairanne, is one such beauty. Made of grenache, syrah, and mourvèdre, this youthful, exuberant red is overflowing with purity and brilliance. Hefty without being heavy, it way overdelivers on its modest $15 price tag. 93 points