Before any major exertion you should train a bit, so that's what we're doing in preparation for our trip to the Rhône and Languedoc in southern France.
We've stocked up on $10 bargain wines from the area to form a base for our tastings while we eat and drink our way around the northwestern bank of the Mediterranean. We've already set up two winery visits — to two vineyards that we've reviewed.
In our effort to taste and determine the differences in Rhone wines, we opened a Côtes du Rhône that we bought online for $11, just a dollar over our $10 limit (thinking that in France it will cost $10 or less).
The Domaine de Dionysos La Deveze Côtes du Rhône Villages 2009 was rated 90 by Wine Spectator, so it was pretty much assured that it wouldn't be a loser.
Indeed, this dark mix of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Carignane was a great all-around buy. It sipped well before dinner and accompanied our summer meal of tomatoes and pasta extremely well. It smells and tastes of berries, with just a hint of flint to keep it from being too jammy.