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Rhone Valley 2010

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Written by:
Ed Wells
Published:
08 Mar 2012
Rhone Valley 2010
Vinification at David Reynaud in Crozes
Rhone 2010 En Primeur Selection

2010 is a wonderful year in the Rhone - how often have you heard that? But it is. 2007 was excellent with balanced rich structured wines. 2009 produced ripe, elegant and expressive wines with a immediate ‘wow-factor’. In addition to these qualities, the 2010s have a wonderful freshness to them, giving them lift and masking the already well-integrated ripe tannins. Reading through my notes , the words “perfumed’, “elegant”, “sweet”, “creamy”, “structured”, “powerful”, “black fruit” are repeated again and again. “Big structure, fresh, creamy, but powerful” is typical. One note reads, “absolutely enormous concentration, but very fresh”. It was a smaller than average harvest, so some of the availabilities are reduced. Clean, fresh, elegant syrah and fully ripe mourvedre are factors contributing to the exceptional quality in 2010 EW.

"Wine lovers in search of great French wine whose prices have not (yet) been inflated by demand from Asia are currently able to choose from two great vintages in the northern Rhône."
Jancis Robinson MW - Financial Times, January 2012.

"...having already started my tastings of the 2010 vintage in Burgundy and the Rhône, I must urge those of you who like wines from these two great French wine regions to try to put a bit of money aside (ha!) to invest in the 2010s from them. After the unusually ripe, relatively low acid wines made in 2009, the 2010s typically show considerably more precision and freshness, and more supple tannins in the case of the southern Rhône. "
Jancis Robinson MW, Purple Pages (JancisRobinson.com) December 2011.

"This is a great vintage that comes close in quality to 2007 in the southern Rhône. Some producers think 2010 eclipses 2007 because of the wines’ vivid freshness and focus."
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate November 2011.

"As I have stated several times before, I love 2010. It is a great vintage, truly. I recommend buying it."
Drinkrhone.com, John Livingstone-Learmonth.

"With the 2010 harvest completed, France's Rhône Valley now has back-to-back potentially outstanding vintages in both the northern and southern portions of the valley, following the difficult 2008 season. The only downside consumers may have to deal with is low quantities of wine."
James Molesworth, Wine Spectator.

"You are going to adore these (Rhone) 2010s. Small yields in the South, beautiful acidity and impressive ripeness in the North, 2010 promises to be superb quality. The wines will be delicious in the richness of their youth but equally age-worthy. Isn’t that the definition of a Great Vintage?"
La Revue Du Vin De France, June 2011.

A number of these wines are ready for immediate delivery. The majority will be shipped throughout the remainder of early and mid 2012. All prices are for 75cl size (unless otherwise stated) and include VAT & Duty.

To order please contact Daniel Milburn on 01508 489000 or email dan@harperwells.com

NORTHERN RHONE

BENJAMIN & DAVID DUCLAUX Côte Rôtie
The Duclaux family own 5.5 hectares in just 2 large parcels in the Côte Blonde. 5% is planted with Viognier, and there are parcels of Syrah dating back to 1940 and 1960. Some has recently been replanted. They have been bottling their wine since the 1978 vintage, and during the 1990s introduced various new practices - vendange vert, no destalking, délestage and remontage for extraction, and the introduction of new oak. The first year is spent in demi-muids and the second in barriques. A pre-fermentation maceration of 7-10 days at low temperature is undertaken for fruit extraction. They do not fine or filter. www.coterotie-duclaux.com
Cote Rotie ‘Le Germine’ 2010 £432.00 per 12 bottles.
Cote Rotie ‘Maison Rouge’ 2010 £540 per 12 bottles.


YANN CHAVE Crozes-Hermitage & Hermitage (ORGANIC)
From 1996 Yann Chave has made the wine at the domaine in Mercurol just outside Tain l’Hermitage. They family own 13ha (11 red and 2 white) in Crozes-Hermitage and 1.2ha of Hermitage. Yann (“Without doubt one of the most promising and thoughtful growers at Crozes” John Livingstone-Learmouth) uses ‘vendange vert’, destalking of the reds. The yield is kept low: 40-45hl/ha for the Crozes (49 are allowed) and 30 for Hermitage. The Crozes vines have an average age of 20 years and the vineyards covered in galets roulés. Grapes for the Tradition are destemmed, before a 3 week fermentation period with twice-daily pumping over and it is aged in tank, with a light filtration before bottling. Le Rouvre, from their oldest parcel of vines over 50 years old on galets roulés is aged in fine-grained demi-muids, new and 1 and 2 years of age, and Hermitage, from well-exposed S-W facing 30 year old vines, in 100% new oak – but again, demi-muids.
Crozes-Hermitage 2010 £198 per 12.
Crozes-Hermitage “Le Rouvre” 2010 £240 per 12/£264 per 6 Magnums. “tastes more like Hermitage than Crozes Hermitage” Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
Hermitage 2010 £600 per 12/£624 per 6 Magnums.


DAVID REYNAUD Crozes Hermitage
David Reynaud’s vineyards are based in the highly regarded village of Beaumont-Monteux, to the south of the town of Tain, and are farmed both organically and biodynamically. To us these wines are nothing short of astonishing. The intensity and length of David’s Crozes Hermitage is astonishing, and his wines show the Syrah variety at its purest and most drinkable. David Reynaud’s family used to sell their grapes to the co-operative at Tain, but a wish to bottle his own production led David to establish his domaine in 2002. The 18 hectares of his vines lie on chalky-clay terraces, with a significant quantity of pebble that allows good drainage. David works the vineyard by hand - debudding and carrying out a green harvest to ensure even ripeness and to aerate the vines.
Crozes-Hermitage 2010 £105.45 per 6.

DOMAINE DU TUNNEL Cornas
Named after a disused railway tunnel above Saint-Peray and running under their vines, the domaine was created in 1994 by Stephane Robert and his partner Sandrine Berthouze, and now comprises 9ha of Syrah in Cornas and Saint Joseph, and Marsanne and Roussanne in Saint-Peray. They have quickly earned the reputation of being one of the top producers of Cornas and in Saint Peray are perhaps second only to Bernard Gripa for their still wine. Stéphane destems about 60% of his crop and ferments for 15 - 18 days in stainlesss steel vats. He alternates pumping over with manual cap punching, ageing it for 14 months in 4 - 6 year old casks.
These wines score very well from Parker. No 2010 scores yet but 2009 scores are in brackets below:
Cornas 2010 £456 per 12. (92 Parker)
Cornas ‘Vin Noir’ 2010 £576 per 12. (93+ Parker)
Cornas ‘Pur Noir’ 2010 £1068 per 12. (94+ Parker)




SOUTHERN RHONE

CHÂTEAU FARGUEIROL Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Before the Revolution, one of the Revoltier family was fief at Fargueirol, with the right to bear a sword. After the Revolution the family had to move and it was nearly 200 years later that, in 1974 that Joseph Revoltier bought the property including 10 ha of vines. Since then it has increased to 30ha of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and 9.5ha of Cotes du Rhone. Today Joseph’s son Pierre is running the domaine, with his own son Romain. The red is 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre. The grapes are destemmed and undergo daily pumping-over. Ageing is for 9 – 12 months, a third in large foudres and demi-muids and 2/3s in cement tanks. The different parcels are vinified separately, and blended after this ageing process. www.chateau-fargueirol.com  
Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010 £222 per 12.

CHATEAU de VAUDIEU Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc
Château de Vaudieu takes its name from ‘Val de Dieu’ (Valley of God), a reference to the beauty of the area. The property has been transformed over the last decade through substantial investment, rapid expansion and an obsession with quality. The Bréchet family has been cultivating vines throughout the southern Rhône Valley for over five generations.
Gabriel Meffre recognised the potential of the area for growers who were willing to expand and became, by the time of his death in 1987, the largest owner of AC vines in France, with over 900 hectares throughout the region. Château de Vaudieu was purchased by Gabriel in 1955, and inherited by his daughter, Sylvette Bréchet. In 1990, Sylvette was joined by her son Laurent in managing the property. Vaudieu’s 70 hectares (60 of which are red varieties) of prized vineyards are located just east of the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and neighbour those of Château Rayas.
Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2010 £195 per 6. Full-bodied, with a direct beam of peach, quince and green melon fruit flavors backed by whiffs of hazelnut and persimmon on the finish, which stretches out nicely thanks to well-embedded acidity. Wine Spectator, James Molesworth.

DOMAINE DE LA CÔTE DE L’ANGE Châteauneuf-du-Pape
The 14ha Domaine with its beautiful label, is owned by Corinne and Yannick Gasparri. It is making full-flavoured, and well-balanced Châteauneuf. The red is 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre. They destem before maceration, and pump over during the vinification. It is aged in foudres for 12 months. www.cotedelange.fr
This excellent estate has come on strongly over the last 5-6 years under the leadership of proprietors Yannick and Corinne Gasparri. 2010 appears to be this domaine’s strongest vintage since the brilliant 2007s. Wine Advocate, Parker
Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010 £153 per 6 90-93/100 Parker
Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes 2010 £231 per 6 92-95/100 Parker
Chateauneuf-du-Pape Secret de l’Ange 2010 £255 per 6 91-93+/100 Parker


MAS DE BOISLAUZON Châteauneuf-du-Pape Côtes du Rhône Villages
Mas de Boislauzon is run by siblings Daniel and Christine Chaussy. Just south of Orange and a mile or so west of Château de Beaucastel, it consists of 8ha of Red and 1ha of White Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The 2009 red is 80% Grenache, 5% Syrah and 15% Mourvedre. Low yields of 30-35 hl/ha are handpicked from vines averaging over 60 years of age. Vinification is about 25 days at 30-32˚C with délestage followed by 18-24 months in foudres. The Villages is produced on 15ha of adjacent vineyards with the same clay-limestone soils covered with large pebbles, where the Châteauneuf AC boundary takes a dip. It is 65% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Carignan, 5% Mourvedre and the vines are over 50 years old. They are unfiltered.

This 22-acre estate is on top of its game thanks to the efforts of the brilliant brother and sister team of Daniel and Christine Chaussy, who have been hitting all the high notes for the last 15 or more years. There are three cuvees of red Chateauneuf du Pape, and I would suggest that 2009 and 2010 are the finest back-to-back vintages produced to date (although one can not forget the prodigious 2007s turned out by the Chaussys). The 2010s are brilliant efforts across the board, potentially even better than the 2009s, and certainly more structured with higher acids and more aging potential. Kudos to Daniel and Christine Chaussy, who, by the way, are well-worth visiting should you venture into the northern tier of Chateauneuf du Pape where all their vineyards are located, just south of the ancient Roman town of Orange. Wine Advocate, Robert Parker.
Cotes du Rhone Villages 2010 £144 per 12. 90/100 Parker
Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010 £330 per 12. 91-94/100 Parker


“Looks and smells very sophisticated. Lovely mouthfeel/texture with great layers of Châteauneuf spices and herbs. Velvety and only after that comes some pretty marked tannins. But overall this is a thoroughly luxurious and thoroughly Châteauneuf experience.” Jancis Robinson on the 09 vintage 18.5/20

DOMAINE DE VILLENEUVE Châteauneuf-du-Pape BIODYNAMIC
Stan Wallut works ‘en bio-dynamie’, advised by top consultant Philippe Cambie. The vineyard covers 9 hectares in one piece in the north of the appellation with 3 soil types: the famous galets; gravel and sand; and clay and chalk. It is planted Grenache 70%, Mourvedre 14%, Syrah 8%, Cinsault 5%, and white Clairette 2%. Old vines, 50% of which are over 60 years old and 10% now 100 years old (rendement 10 hl/ha), enhance complexity and depth. The average rendement is less than 30 hl/ha, but 2009 was 30% down on a normal vintage, so quantities are very limited. A cool underground cellar, provides perfect conditions for its ageing 80% in tank and 20% in barrriques. www.vinergie.net
Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010 £372 per 12. 91-93/100 Parker.

DOMAINE GRAND NICOLET Côtes du Rhône & Rasteau
Why would we want to add another Rasteau and Cotes du Rhone? - We have asked ourselves this question, and the answer is quality, and that we cannot deny you the opportunity to buy these wines. Jean Pierre Bertrand is a strong-featured, generous yet reserved man, and his wines reflect his character; they are an expression of controlled power. Vines were first planted on the domaine in 1875 and the cellar built in 1926, the first private cellar of the appellation. From 1930 cereals were gradually replaced by Grenache and Carignan vines by Joseph Nicolet, and in 1999 Jean Pierre started running the estate and bottling his best wines. Traditional methods are used here and Jean-Pierre started by giving up any chemical treatments and ploughing the vineyard all year round. The vineyards are mainly on S-E-facing slopes, with some Cotes du Rhone vineyards on the plâteau. Soils are red and yellow clays and veins of blue marl for the Rasteau, and the clays and chalk for the CdR. Yields are low, and hand harvesting is followed by whole-bunch vinification, pumping-over and plunging of the cap, under strict temperature control, but the wines though powerful are not over-extracted. Côtes du Rhône is 80% 40 year old Grenache, and 20% 50 year old Carignan, and Rasteau is 70% 50 year old Grenache 15% Carignan and 15% Syrah. They are not fined or filtered.
Cotes du Rhone 2010 £120 per 12.
Rasteau ‘Vieilles Vignes’ 2010 £156 per 12.


DOMAINE BRUSSET Ventoux, Cotes du Rhone, Cairanne & Gigondas
Few estates capture the warmth, generosity and complexity of the Southern Rhone quite like Domaine Brusset. They focus on almost purely reds from the Ventoux, Cotes du Rhone, Cairanne and Gigondas to very great aplomb. The estate, which today is 85 hectares, was founded by Andre Brusset in 1947. Today the estate is run by his grandson Laurent. Vinification is classic, with a small production of the harvest undergoing whole berry fermentation in order to retain the fruit of the grapes. Laurent’s juicy and approachable Cotes du Ventoux Les Boudalles is an excellent entry into the estate’s style. Whilst at the other end of the spectrum Laurent’s flagship, the impressive ‘Les Hauts de Montmirail’ is a thundering ‘vin de garde’ that has a place at the top table of all Gigondas wines.
Cotes du Ventoux 2010 £47.25 per 6.
Cotes du Rhone 2010 £55.35 per 6.
Cairanne ‘Les Travers’ 2010 £72.90 per 6.
Gigondas Tradition ‘Les Grands Montmirail’ 2010 £108 per 6.
Gigondas Tradition ‘Les Hauts de Montmirail’ 2010 £162 per 6.


DOMAINE DE LA JANASSE Cotes du Rhone & Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Since taking over the winemaking from his father Aime in 1991, Christophe Sabon, with help from Isabelle, his sister, has set this 45 hectare property on the road to becoming a Beaucastel of the future. Tiny yields from the old vines that are farmed organically give Janasse wines great intensity of fruit, while the flavours are expertly sculpted by judicious use of barrique. Christophe’s clear talent is to express the brightness and intensity of the grape, and capture all the nuances of terroir.
“What this family operation has achieved in the last decade is nothing short of remarkable considering the breadth of wines made, from their Vins de Pays, which are among the finest in France, to their world class Cotes du Rhones and Chateauneuf-du-Papes.” Robert Parker reviews Domaine de la Janasse for The Wine Advocate.
Whilst the Domaine has clearly built its reputation on the quality of its Chateauneuf-du-Papes and Cotes du Rhones reds, Christophes white Rhone whites and his Vin de Pay whites are tremendous wines – due in part to the fact that they are lavished with the same care and attention as the ‘marquee wines’. In 2006 through to 2009 the wines from this domaine have earned phenomenal praise. For the time being they don’t have the same price tag as neighbours like Beaucastel, Vieux Telegraphe and Rayas.
Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2010 £129 per 12.
Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2011 £144 per 12.
Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010 £210 per 6.


A number of these wines are ready for immediate delivery. The majority will be shipped throughout the remainder of early and mid 2012.
All prices are for 75cl size (unless otherwise stated) and include VAT & Duty.

To order please contact Fine Wine Manager Daniel Milburn on 01508 489000 or email dan@harperwells.com


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