2000 Chapoutier “Belleruche” Côtes du Rhône Blanc, Rhône Valley, France (Alcohol 14%, Residual Sugar 2 g/l) LCBO $14.55 until September the 11th, then $17.55 (750ml bottle)

This undeniably tasty blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier, Clairette, and Bourboulenc is an absolute steal at the reduced price of $14.55, and one of the best value whites in the LCBO at this time, even when it’s not on sale at this special price.

The bouquet is an expressive one that is reminiscent of a basket of just-picked orchard fruits: pears, apples, peaches, nectarines. This fruit driven aromatic profile is augmented by hints of anise, honeycomb, and lemon.

In the mouth, again one is hit with ripe orchard fruits, with a bit of yellow plums thrown in for good measure. There’s no oak to speak of here, but all that enjoyable super-ripe southern Rhône fruit (and five months on lees) gives this wine considerable mouthfeel and weight. The palate is gloriously fleshy and vibrant, with a very pleasant acidity keep the ripe fruit in check right out to the subtly mineral-influenced finish.

This drinks well all by itself, but I’d venture into trying with very simply prepared (salt/pepper/lemon) grilled fish.

(Four out of a possible five apples)