Chateau Fargueirol is on great form and offers traditional Chateauneuf du Pape at a superb price. Ripe and garriguey nose with impressive concnetration but a nice easy going texture and ripe tannins that means it can be enjoyed young or after 3-10 years of cellaring.
92 Points - Wine Spectator - A favourite Châteauneuf-du-Pape producer of Robert Parker, Domaine Roger Sabon, established in 1952 produces a modern style of wine, with the Cuvée Les Olivets a stunning fruit forward Cuvée from vines over 50 years of age. A bright ruby colour. Toasted, furry, brothy and undergrowth nose. Ripe tannins are assorted with ripe black cherry on the palate. With previous vintages rated as high as 99 points by Robert Parker - it shows the remarkable consistency of Roger Sabon's wines - Just exceptional and on par with the most expensive Châteauneuf du Pape - a must try !
Not only is the magnificent Gigondas estate 500 years old, it's owned by Daniel and Frédéric Brunier. Know the name? They are behind Châteauneuf's leading estate, Vieux Télégraphe. Meting out the same care, they produce this rich, old-vine Gigondas. And Daniel reckons that 2019 is his best vintage to date. A perfectly balanced wine, finely poised and with great length.
From a vineyard located on the sandy banks deposited by the river Ouvèze. A beautiful mix of indigenous, rare and wonderful cepages (25% Grenache Noir, 25% Carignan Noir, 20% Cinsault, 10% Aramon, 10% Counoise and 10% Oeillade) vinified whole-bunch with a short maceration and then 6 months breeding in concrete vat produce a beautifully bright-fruited, floral, vigorous but supple, savoury and very classy drinking and tapas wine. A GREAT introduction to this most exciting of estates based in Vacqueyras and Gigondas. SERVE COOL.
A great introduction to this most exciting of estates based in Vacqueyras and Gigondas. Instead of producing a younger vine, cheaper Vacqueyras like many other top Domaines, Adrien's choice is to use such fruit in his Cotes du Rhone. In 2022 we have mostly Syrah (70%) and the remainder of Grenache Noir from the Vacqueyras vineyards 100% destemmed (not usual for the estate) crushed and seeing a short infusion. 100% naturally fermented and bred in concrete for 10 months.
This makes for a wonderful wine of fruit and terroir, the link to the classic Vacqueyras and Gigondas of the Domaine. An utterly delightful wine - vibrant Syrah - lifted red and black fruit, a subtle blend of sweet spices and beautiful violet blossom.
Delightful and digestible,
Wow. A literal "Wow". We were completely knocked out with this cuvee upon discovery back in January, at an organic wine fair in Southern France. Across from d'Ourea's stand was the stand of one of our longest standing and most successful producers who also makes a similar style of lifted, elegant Grenache. I passed him a glass of d'Ourea's Vacqueyras 2021 to which the winemaker put under his nose, "Wow". He continued "This is beautiful, the perfect balance in the aromatics of Grenache, a lovely use of wholebunch".
"The stems (of the grape bunches) are the most beautiful part of the grape - they bring freshness and aromas of garrigue, herbs, and complexity to the wine". Adrien Roustan, Vigneron at d'Ourea
The selection in 2021 is 85% Grenache Noir, 5% Cinsault, 5% Carignan Noir and 5% Mourvèdre.
An outstanding Vacqueyras from a selection of Adrien's finest terroir. Being a blend of "Hautes Garrigues" (a red clay gravel) and "Pendants" (a blue and yellow marl). Each terroir brings its original personality. The "Garrigues" finesse and minerality. The "Pendants" the power and depth. Vineyards planted in 1950.
"The Grenache here is at the northern end of its ripening range, and that means its wines have finesse and elegance".
We could not agree more. A truly charming wine and a real "Wow".
John Livingstone-Learnmouth of Drink Rhone on the 2021:
"Red robe, pale top; the bouquet has a herbal tone, smoke and red cherries, almost a cordite aspect. The palate gives red cherry, redcurrant fruit, stands out of the loop with its quiet, pure fruiting and lightweight presence. The finish brings in some Grenache floral notes with a green pepper manner on the aftertaste. It's a hands-off, spiced Vacqueyras, drinks fluidly now, carries a little late tannic depth, has subtle appeal. 13.5°. Drink until 2027-28"
"There is marked promise here, a name to note".
From the Grand Montmirail, high altitude vineyards (400 to 520 meters). The foot of the vineyards consist of a red marl that brings the muscle and virility. In middle and higher slopes limestone bedrock is increasingly present, this transmits the wines tension and raciness. Direct, pure wines.
70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Cinsault in 2021. Grapes destemmed, crushed and a short infusion follows. Wildly fermented and only matured in concrete tank to expose the complexity and natural tension of the wine. This is a full, broad wine, but elegant and still vibrating. The originality and beauty of the site is transmitted with energy. This Gigondas shows you this character, this minerality - water of rock, wine of rock.
4/5 stars from John Livingstone-Learnmouth on Drink Rhone:
"The Gigondas vineyards are above 400 metres, notably on Grand Montmirail, with Grenache leading at 70%. The raising in concrete, the style lighter. The 2021 Gigondas 'O.... a successful **** w.o.w. wine, balanced and well together....
....quite a firm red colour; the bouquet collects around a discreetly sweet aroma of raspberry, a little herbal tang attached, is a steady, sure opening that carries appeal. The palate surfs along on a bonny wave of red fruits, has a little tingle in its tannins, holds its line well into the finish. Its nicely balanced, well together, w.o.w. Gigondas, can be drunk now, will offer openly as it evolves, has gone for tuning over strength. 13.5°. Drink until 2030-31"
A unique, high-altitude plot selection, 1 hectare located at 520 meters (the highest vineyard in the appellation), on the southern slopes of the Dentelles de Montmirail, in a place called "Grand Montmirail". It's a unique spot surrounded by holm oaks and limestone rocks, with a cool, breezy, light climate.
Hand-harvested, half-destemmed then crushed, followed by a two-week infusion. Aged only in concrete vats to retain purity and delicacy.
Bright ruby colour, with notes of Morello cherries, redcurrants and wild raspberries. The antithesis of traditional Gigondas with energy and a rare chalky density.
There are many delightul Northern Rhone whites from 2021 and this is very much one of them. Performing very well in Crozes-Hermitage tastings in both Terres des Vins and La Revue du vin de France, well up amongst the big boys and girls of the appellation. 70% Marsanne, 30% Roussanne - half from loess soils on l'Homme at Larnage, half from loess soils on Les Pinets at Crozes-Hermitage. 90% steel vat, 10% new 600-litre oak cask fermented, raised 9 months, assembled just before bottling, malo completed.
John Livingstone Learnmouth on Drink Rhone -
"Fine yellow robe; the nose is neat, offers lime cordial, peach airs, hints of salt and spring flowers, a note of varnish. This drinks with direct purpose, has a restrained, firm content, gathers depth and tannin into the solid, slightly pushy finish. There is more weight than at first appears, turning it towards a table wine, up for pork dishes, vegetarian pasta, courgettes, Brie de Meaux, cheddar. Decant it. From mid 2023 until 2029-31"
Rated 3.5/5 stars.
100% Viognier from gore soils on Les Méjeans at Larnage, hand harvested in early morning, steel vat fermented at 18°C, raised 9 months, malo blocked.
A quite serious but relaxed and lovely, aromatic, floral, juicy but bright drinking Viognier. Delicious as an apero or with semi hard goats cheese, peaches and charcuterie. A classy drop indeed.
100% Syrah from Larnage, destemmed, steel vat fermented, raised 9 months, unfined. Pleasing aromas with red fruit, pepper and savoury notes of freshly baked bread. Charming, drinkable and quite delightful Syrah. A class entry-level from this outstanding new domaine.
Delightful Rhone Rose from the fabulous Clavel estate. Wild Strawberry and grape jelly make this the perfect wine to sip in the sunshine. Provence might be all the rage at the moment but this is every bit as elegant and delicious.
Vinsobres is the most northern appellation of the Southern Rhône. The Perrin family owns around 80 hectares here. The vineyards grow at altitudes of 200 - 450 metres, in terraces, with the Prealps on one side and Mont Ventoux on the other. The soils are stony and sandy marl on the slopes, and stony quaternary alluviums on the terraces. A very particular microclimate protects the village and the vines planted which are planted in amphitheatre formation. Summers are hot and dry, with the local Mistral and Pontias winds bringing cooler air at night.
The vineyard at Cairanne extends over 14 hectares to the south-west of the old village. The soils are very stony and made up of clay and sedimentary sand known as safre. This Cairanne is a full-bodied wine that develops magnificent aromas of blackcurrant, garrigue, and liquorice.
The Dentelles de Montmirail (from the Latin mons mirabilis, extraordinary mountain) is a small, jagged mountain chain that forms a natural amphitheatre around the sandstone village of Gigondas and its surrounding vineyards. Roman legionaries chose this beautiful, protected site to plant their grapevines. Located mid-slope at 300-400 metres above sea level, the Famille Perrin vineyard is amongst the most historical vineyards in Gigondas. It benefits from a flow of cold air which blows through the valley situated to the west of the village. The vines grow on limestone, calcareous marl and sandy soils, giving the Grenache immense finesse and elegance with unique aromas. Some old plots of Grenache planted on sand have pre-phylloxera vines.
Grenache dominant wine produced on very clay rich soils with stones from the Ouvèze river. "Beautiful dark and shiny color. The nose is very expressive, pure and aromatic with great mineral notes. The palate presents a structure of great finesse, elegant with ripe fruit. The tannins are rich, noble and silky." Famille Perrin
Château de Beaucastel has long been regarded as one of the greatest wines in France. It is notorious for its elegance, balance and ageing potential. Beaucastel has an exceptional terroir at the Northern limit of Châteauneuf du Pape, exposed to the Mistral wind. All thirteen varieties of the appellation have been organically grown since the sixties.
The vintage :
2021 is a vintage marked by freshness, which is similar to the vintages we had in the eighties and nineties. It is also what we call a "winegrower vintage", human intervention and the care given to the vines were decisive for the quality of the vintage. Marked by climatic vagaries, with an episode of frost in April and interrupted harvest because of rain, this year has indeed required constant investment from our teams in the vineyard. Their attention and their commitment have borne their fruit: this vintage is very promising with lots of freshness and great balance.
Laure Dubois runs this excellent estate with her husband Romain and started conversion to organic farming in 2019. The wines they produce are consistently good and elegant, mainly from the Lirac appellation, north West of Chateauneuf-du-Pape but also this Cotes du Rhone from just outside. The 2019 is the second year in a row that the wine has won a coveted Coup de Coeur top award in the Guide Hachette, the 'bible' of French wine. Charming, 'irresistible' and ready to drink it also offers outstanding value for money.
Cracking value Chateauneuf from Chateau Fargueirol, whose single varietal Chateauneufs are rightly praised as some of the most exciting wines from the region. Easy to drink young and made in a fruit forward, accessible Grenache-y style.
Cracking value Chateauneuf from Chateau Fargueirol, whose single varietal Chateauneufs are rightly priased as some of the most exciting wines from the region. Easy to drink young and made in a fruit forward, accessible Grenachey style.
Gilles Ferran's entry level Rasteau from the steep sunny slopes that black robed monks used to tend, looking like beetles or 'escaravailles' from a distance.
"Big, robust, plush, and juicy with evident oak too. Still showing some puppy fat, but should come together to be pretty sumptuous in a few years time."
Domaine des Escaravailles was established in 1953. With over 60 ha of vines, most of them planted on hillsides in Rasteau, this is a serious estate that remains somewhat under the radar. It is run by Gilles Ferran, who graduated first in his class at the University of Montpelliers School of Oenology (the number two graduate that year was his best friend, Philippe Cambie, who unfortunately passed away last year). Daughter Madeline has now taken the reigns after her studies and various extensive experience. The wines have never been better.
The name of the domaine comes from the nickname given by the people of Rasteau to a priest in 17th century who wore a long black coat and owned the farm at the time. Escaravaille means beetle in Oc.
Pure and elegant. Nothing rustic here. Fresh and perfumed, with lifted acidity working seamlessly against the robust structure. (Starred First)
A lovely red Crozes produced with fruit from the Domaine's established 50-year-old plus vineyards in eastern Les Chassis at Mercurol and in the south of Les Chassis at Pont de L'Isere. Both sites are marked with the classic Chassis terroir of red clay limestone with large, rolled pebbles. This cuvee in 2022 has elegance and lift, with suave, deep but charming fruit that has a lovely lush quality mixed with classic, complex iron notes, a nice tension and a lovely freshness. The tannins are beautifully judged here. Drinking now is a lovely experience, but this shall show well for a good few years to come. A gorgeous Crozes-Hermitage.
Vendome are an established Domaine but have only started producing their own wines in the last couple of years. The wines have been very warmly received in both the French and international wine press in the debut 2020 vintage and in the following far trickier 2021 vintage. We are very happy to have struck up a relationship with the Domaine at such an early stage. The whole range is impressive across the board. Their classic red Crozes a great place to get acquainted.
Serious "baby Chateauneuf Blanc" from the opposing side of the Rhone, 6 miles from Chateauneuf. Creamy, almost waxy, broad, dense, intense, aromatic, spiced. Almond and toast, apricot and lilies. Quite superb food wine with rich creamy sauces, roast birds, mushrooms, fish and chips. Way out of its class, a jewel and bargain from top Chateauneuf grower Sabon. Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier, Clairette. Minimal sulphur, cool co-ferment, unfined, vines up to 40 years old, declassified vineyard.
From a breathtaking 0.5 hectare site on Chaban at 400+ metres altitude that was passed on to the Roudier family by the retiring Jean-Marie Teysseire, a legendary figure in Cornas and Saint-Peray. The Syrah vines are 80++ yrs of age on granitic soils including a portion of the mineral baryte, a clear crystal/quartz looking mark that gives the wine its mysterious sounding name. The vines are deeply established on this steep hillside, cut into terraces and oriented East/South-East. An utterly beautiful, natural granite amphitheater that protects the vines from the cold winds.
Beautiful Syrah expresses all its power and finesse on this wonderful Cornas terroir. The debut vintage of this full-bodied terroir wine - which doesn't initially appear to be representative of the "Northern Rhone 2021" vintage - spring frost, harvest rain affected. But from what we have tasted, Cornas in general appears little affected, likely due to the elevation of the vineyards and the gradients of the slopes. So watch out for sleeping Cornas bargains like this from 2021.
The wine has a fairly classic Cornas nose, on the palate it is voluminous, lush and suave but fresh and balanced with real tension and energy. The wine is pure and very long. All the fruit destemmed, no oak breeding (all in stainless steel) with a four week maceration. A true terroir wine from a great Cornas site.
This 2021 is very impressive now and shall reveal its elegance and finesse over the coming years.
What a wine!
50% Grenache Blanc, 40% Clairette (planted 1950) from 0.9 hectare on very stony alluvial soils at Sablet and 10% Roussanne on Gramiller at La Montagnette at Rasteau. The wine sees ferment in 80% steel vat, 20% old oak cask. Then bred for 6 months. 2,500 bottles produced.
The nose is all freshly cut juicy pears and gorgeous white flowers - so pretty, utterly charming. More fruit and flowers to the palate's silky juice. This is medium-bodied, elegant and long Southern Rhone white wine with fine acid. Really jolly drinking and great with delicate fish or simply as the classiest aperitif.
Full-bodied, fruity grenache-syrah blend made using fruit grown in the excellent southern Rhône region of Rasteau. This is ample and spicy with some deliciously ripe and juicy fruit, typical of the vintage.