Cotes du Rhones are my favorite everyday reds so I was very excited when the bottlings from the very heralded 2012 vintage starting showing up on retailer's shelves. 2011 wasn't a bad vintage but there were some problems during the growing season that led to some variable quality across the board. Not so with 2012. A more typical growing season has led to wines of consistently higher quality than those from 2011. It's got the fruit and balance you want from a good Southern Rhone vintage.
Chateau Beauchene is run by a family that has been in the region since the 17th century. They call this bottling their "Grande Reserve" though I don't know why you would give that label to your entry level wine. No matter, this is usually a very good everyday wine and it shines brightly in the light of a good vintage like 2012. This lovely blend is made up of 60% Grenache, 27% Syrah, 10% Carignan and 3% Cinsault from de-stemmed fruit. It spends a short 6 to 8 months in oak prior to bottling. This very nice Cotes du Rhone is translucent ruby red in color and has all the bright cherry and peppery aromas you expect from these wines. In the mouth it has smooth cherry and berryish fruit supported by floral and Provencal spice notes. It finishes with very smooth tannins and good supporting acidity, and at $10.99 it's an excellent value. This beauty is imported by Regal, a company with an excellent portfolio of small to medium sized producers. Bottoms up!