If ever there was a reliable wine priced under $10, the Paul Jaboulet Cotes du Rhone Parallel 45 is it. I was reminded of this over the weekend while drinking through a considerable number of bottles of red with my girlfriends in the Berkshires. You see, if you drink enough wine you are bound to find a value-priced gem in the bunch -- all in the name of research, folks, all in the name of research!
Far be it from me to bore you with the details of the bad and the ugly but the good; the good you should know about. This blend from the Rhone region of France is made from Grenache and Syrah grapes and is named after the latitudinal parallel that passes just south of Jaboulet's cellars. The wine has met with great success, leading production to rise to well over 100,000 cases per year. The good news is that this increase in production has not adversely affected the quality of the wine. The 2005, which is the vintage Vino Girl tasted this weekend, is smooth and juicy with ripe fruit and a good backbone. The Parallel 45 is tasty stuff -- and it's got style for a $9 wine! The other good fortune is that you will most likely be able to find it at your local wine store.
In the interest of full disclosure, this particular bottle was swigged after a hideously ugly example of Italy's Aglianico grape that (barely) washed down our dinner. However, I am confident that it will stand up well on its own and even against higher priced reds. Give it a try! Cheers.