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Drink From A Jar Wine Review: Buy A French Wine That Celebrates The Blind, Belleruche Cotes-Du-Rhone

Updated on February 26, 2015

Belleruche Cotes-Du-Rhone

Michel Chapoutier has created an approachable masterpiece with this endearing red appellation.
Michel Chapoutier has created an approachable masterpiece with this endearing red appellation.

Hardly a "beginners" wine, this rouge is still a disarming ambassador for wines everywhere.

If you want a red wine with lots of muscle that won't throw your tongue into fisticuffs try Belleruche Cotes-Du-Rhone.
If you want a red wine with lots of muscle that won't throw your tongue into fisticuffs try Belleruche Cotes-Du-Rhone.

The wine that turned a hops aficionado into a fan of the grape.


If you are a wine connoisseur I know what you're thinking, how dare you put Chapoutier into the same group as the Trappists of the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Scourmont! No wine drinker worth his salt would ever hold the libations up to the same altar! Heresy! But let's put our liver addled daggers down for a second here, and get to the heart of Michel Chapoutier's Belleruche Cotes-Du-Rhone.

I was raised in a beer drinking community. My hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the States, has a hard-earned reputation for creating the world's largest breweries with the most drinkable of Lagers. I was fortunate enough to live through the American Micro-brewery revolution of the past two decades, a rekindling of the brew master's craft. I learned from that experience that there is a growing deluge of flavor in a well made brew that may get overshadowed by more heavily marketed labels with low quality flavor. Similarly, what has always held me at bay from drinking wine, and especially European wine, is the austere language of wine marketeers and critics. I told my wife, a wine sales rep, that I was writing this article and she shuddered: "The wine crowd will probably be insulted by the comparison." She warned me but I'm a stubborn Nokota horse. I try to keep trying as a good underdog should. So let's keep an open mind, and uncork our bottle of Cotes-Du-Rhone to let it open up and gather the air around us.

Some wines are approachable, mostly I'm thinking of Pinot Gris' and Grigios here, good starter wines for non-wine drinkers in my humble opinion. But even the "a" word I just used has been poo pooed by much of the wine community because of mass produced wines that are inordinately inexpensive blends that lack depth. If you fear the sometimes commanding taste experience of red wine, this rouge with half Grenache and half Syrah grapes, delivers a wealth of taste that isn't too complicated, but still has a lot of muscle behind it's initial scent. For the uninitiated, when someone says wine has a bouquet of cherry, that doesn't mean they plopped some cherries in the mash and you are drinking grapes and maraschinos. It means there's some highlights in there, of a cherry scent. In other words, no cherries if you are allergic. Imagine a bee spending it's entire day pollinating cherry trees and at the end of the day she visits a grapevine and that's the kind of hint of air we're talking about. You will catch the cherry scent in this Cotes-Du-Rhone, I find there's an orchard hiding in this bottle. Everybody says they can smell this or that in a wine, but in this rouge I really can pick up some apple scents, some cherry and there really is a scented trail in this wine that reminds me of freshly split aspen.

Prismatic details of a solid red wine at a price you don't need to take a loan out to enjoy.

My wife sells wine and probably the most often asked question is: "Is there really a difference in taste in the wines that are expensive versus the wines that are inexpensive?" One could write a book on the answer to that question, and I'm sure many have! But I am here to let you know that Belleruche Cotes-Du-Rhone is priced above some wines, but not priced so high as to be out of reach. If you've always wanted to find a wine that was worth paying a little extra but not a lot extra for, this is it. Don't let me be misunderstood, Michel Chapoutier's philosophy is admirable from a hops-lover's point of view. He works hard to bring a superior quality product in at a moderate price. Any wine maker can make a cost effective blend, just as many experienced vineyards produce very expensive and likewise nuanced appellations. But this is the first wine I've tasted that brings all the prismatic details of a solid red wine at a price you don't need to take a loan out to enjoy.

Michel Chapoutier is to wine what Vincent Van Gogh is to color!

Another item that caught my eye long after tasting this great wine, was their label. I'm an artist by trade, an oil painter who enjoys looking at all the vibrant evolving labels of modern day wines. The labels on Chapoutier's wines are all printed in braille. They celebrate a history with the invention of abbreviated braille in the most brilliantly tactile way! Don't take my word for it, learn how to read braille, or read more about it here:

Blind people are well known for their superior tasting abilities, and it's high time they were recognized for the fact. Chapoutier has handed braille readers a reward worth savoring. If you are a blind person, and you are reading this article, take it from an oil painter, Michel Chapoutier is to wine what Vincent Van Gogh is to color!

On an environmentally philanthropic note, Chapoutier's vineyards have all adopted a "biodynamic" and organic approach to farming. So you can rest assured you are enjoying a natural, and low environmental impact product. Americans and the French have grown apart in recent years, but we do share a history of revolution. Maybe the Green revolution is where our two cultures still quietly continue to meet.

So there you have it, let the inferno begin! My first and maybe my last wine recommendation! Although it's probably not politically correct to say so, I think when a beer drinker really loves a wine, or a wine drinker really loves a beer (check out Lakefront Breweries' Klisch, best beer ever!) they are cast as some sort of mulatto pariah. Each group is alienated by the other because one represents a list of values that the other doesn't ascribe to. Maybe you're of the rarer kind, I hope so, then you will quickly enjoy this wine. There are a lot of great experiences in this world to fathom and enjoy! Don't let the loud prejudices of your prevailing tribe steal your adventure away from you. Whether you're in the wine or beer camp one things for sure, Belleruche Cotes-Du-Rhone is a wine that will take a stand in your palate!


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    • Ben Zoltak profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Zoltak 

      7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks SassyGemini, great gifting from someone! Feel free to post again and let us know your opinion!

      Happy Holy day to you!


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Just received a bottle of this from a friend for the holidays and was curious to see what is would be like - will try it soon, thanks!

    • Ben Zoltak profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Zoltak 

      8 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      GL: I hear you. I really think this is a unique wine for many reasons, not the least of which is the braille writing. I should've added that I tried the 2007 vintage, but I'm sure any of Chapoutier's wines are top notch.

    • Green Lotus profile image


      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I've gotta try this. Organic schmanic, the bit about the braille label really got to me.

    • Ben Zoltak profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Zoltak 

      8 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks Becca, we'll see about that next recommendation! Still waiting to see if the other shoe drops!

    • BeccaHubbardWoods profile image

      Becca Hubbard-Woods 

      8 years ago from Outside your window.

      Now I can't wait to try it. And if I like it, I hope it's not your last recommendation, either. Thanks for the hub. : )


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