Pierre Amadieu & ultimate user-friendliness of southern Rhône
When people ask us to recommend the most user-friendly, universally appealing everyday red wine, Côtes du Rhône is always at the top of the list.
That blend of fruity, juicy, generous and refreshing is hard to beat – especially when you throw in the spice, earth and gravelly minerality of better examples.
Pierre Amadieu has long been singled out by critics as an under-the-radar overachiever. The Amadieu family’s fame in Australia is built on the ‘Roulepierre’ red, a chillable, with-or-without-food number that always delivers. Its white counterpart has roundness and bounce, and the rosé has proved a great-value alternative to Provence offerings.
Reverting, though, to the southern Rhône’schampion black grape, Grenache, this range offers excellent depth and value. The family’s vineyards are at altitude and have cooler exposures, which allows the wines to exude seductive ripeness with that vital refreshment factor.
Heading into what we hope will be a long, warm autumn down under, these wines will really come into their own.
Clairette and Grenache Blanc selected for this cuvée grow on poor and stony clay-limestone soils. This cuvée is traditionally vinified in stainless steel tanks, at a controlled temperature to preserve freshness and fruitiness. Ageing 100% in stainless steel vats. It offers aromas of peaches and white and yellow flowers on the nose, with good weight and a lingering, lively finish.
Grenache and Cinsault selected for this cuvée grow on poor and stony clay-limestone soils. This rosé brings together Cinsault saignée and direct pressings of Grenache. It is vinified at a low temperature to preserve its fruitiness. Raspberry and redcurrant flavours with floral notes are followed by a pleasantly full-bodied mouth-feel.
Delivers a vibrant and tasty mouthful of flavour. I’m thinking ripe raspberry, some spice and liquorice, a smattering of dried herb, fine powdery tannin, fresh, a little dark chocolate on a finish of solid length. Easy-going, and good drinking.90 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
Ripe and focused, with a plush wave of crushed plum and warm cassis notes, liberally infused with violet and incense accents. The finish shows a dark winey edge and a tug of iron. Best from 2020 through 2025.92 points. James Molesworth, Wine Spectator
Often overlooked in the Amadieu line-up, the 2018 Cairanne les Hautes Rives is another terrific value. A blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Mourvèdre and 15% Syrah, it offers up dark, earthy scents reminiscent of black cherries, plums and cola, while being full-bodied, round and generous on the palate, with a supple, slightly velvety finish.90 points. Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate
Raspberry, lavender, roast peanuts in chocolate, a little spice. It’s fluid and charming, ample flavour delivered with restraint and a web of fine powder and gravel tannin, some grilled meat and dried herb, red fruits and perfume trailing on a long finish. A delight. Highly recommended.94 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
Beefy in feel, with dark currant and fig fruit melding with roasted alder, dried sage and liquorice root notes on the finish. Solid tannic spine throughout. Grenache and Syrah. Best from 2021 through 2026.92 points. James Molesworth, Wine Spectator November 2020