The Côtes-du-Rhône region contains a staggering variety of soils and microclimates. Similar to Beaujolais, wines of the Villages AOC are of higher quality than the general Côtes-du-Rhône AOC, but lower than specific appellations such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Vacqueyras. For example, wines like the Eclat must contain a minimum of 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah/Mourvedre, with a maximum of 20% of other permitted varieties to round off the blend. As it stands, just 20% of vineyards carry the Villages designation. At this price and with five years in the bottle, the Eclat is a bargain. On the nose, there are aromas of cherry, garrigue, and leather with hints of baking spice. More of the same on the palate with good acidity and a medium-length finish. Light and easy to drink. Try pairing with roast lamb and mint sauce, or sirloin strip with mushrooms.