When you are searching for a wine in a liquor store and come across two wines from the same winery, with similar labels, and they are the same price it can be difficult to determine the difference. Specifically, I am referring to wines that are the same varietal or a similar blend. This happens for reasons such as the grapes are from different regions, vineyards, or blocks within vineyards, or perhaps different clones of a particular varietal or some combination of these.
This seems to be more common with the large wineries that own more land or source from multiple growers. Because of this these wines will highlight the differences between wines in nearby regions. Maison M. Chapoutier is one Estate with multiple vineyards growing the same grape varietals and making more than one wine for the same price with those grapes. For over 200 years this Rhone Estate has been making wines with the greatest respect for natural balance and terroir.
Two affordable and delicious wines from M. Chapoutier which showcase these regional differences are the Belleruche Cotes-du-Rhone and the La Ciboise Luberon. They are both a blend of Grenache and Syrah and are offered for $13.99.
The Belleruche with its dark garnet red color, aromas of black currant and raspberry with notes of white pepper leads to fruity and juicy cherry flavors. The silky tannins allow for immediate enjoyment, but there is enough structure to allow it to age gracefully. The flavors and balanced acidity make me want to enjoy a stronger flavored dish such as Rack of Lamb.
The La Ciboise is from the sun drenched Luberon, the most southeastern region of the Rhone. The extra sunshine is often a contributing factor to a slightly higher alcohol content. However, that is not the case with this wine. What you do notice is a beautiful bright and clear garnet red wine with purple tints that has aromas of spice such as nutmeg and pepper and stewed black fruits. The wine has flavors of blueberry and blackberry with a lingering and pleasant finish. Although there is a noticeable acidity I found that this wine does not need to be complemented by food to be enjoyed.
When you see two wines in the same section of your liquor store with similar labels and the same price take the time to ask about their differences or just buy a bottle of each and learn for yourself which one you prefer. Or hopefully, you will like them both. In this case I would enjoy the Luberon as my pre-meal wine and the Belleruche with the main course.