La Grivelière is a blend of native grapes cultivated in south-central France along the Rhône River. Well-balanced with aromas of red fruits and spices with mild hints of vanilla and earth. Rich, full-bodied and round in the mouth. The finish is long with mild tannins. Each varietal is fermented separately in concrete tanks, then aged in a combination of concrete and oak for 6 months, followed by 18 months in bottle.
This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Carignan, 5% Mourvedre.
ABV = 14.0%.
Maison Les Alexandrins is the newly renamed collaboration between Nicolas Jaboulet, formerly of the eponymous winery in Tain, winemaker Guillaume Sorrel and viticulturalist Alexandre Caso. Each person brings their expertise to this micro-négociant, an extension of Domaine Les Alexandrins, established in 2015. The aim of Maison Les Alexandrins remains the same: to buy parcels of fruit from some of the top growers in each appellation in the Northern Rhône. Maison and Domaine Les Alexandrins will soon be a permanent fixture in the Northern Rhône with a new winery under construction in Tain-l’Hermitage.
This wine is a blend of Grenache and Syra. The Grenache is grown on vines located in the commune of Vaucluse and the Syrah is from vineyards further north, in Vinsobres. The vineyards are planted on a variety of soils: clay and limestone with a stony top soil. The stones are excellent for retaining heat and ensuring that the grapes achieve full ripeness.
The 2017 vintage began with a mild winter, followed by lower temperatures in May with some heavy rain during the flowering period, which led to a reduction in yields. By mid-June, the weather improved, becoming warm and dry, ideal growing conditions for the grapes. The wines give an impression of opulence, concentration and generosity. Ageing will allow the wines to soften and slowly find their balance.
After the grapes were harvested, they were sorted and destemmed at the winery. Fermentation took place in a mixture of temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and oak barrels. Following fermentation, the wine was aged for eight months before it was bottled, this allowed the tannins to homogenise and soften.
60% Grenache, 40% Syrah.
This Côtes-du-Rhône offers opulent aromas of black and red fruits with a warming cinnamon spice. The combination of Grenache and Syrah gives the wine a beautiful freshness and generous mouthfeel, with an aromatic finish. This wine is drinking extremely well now, but will also age well over the next five years.
ABV = 13.5%.
Laurent and Julien Bréchet have long admired the potential of Lirac, in the Southern Rhône; when the owner of the Moulin des Chênes vineyard retired, they jumped at the chance to take over the vinegrowing there. Lirac lies to the west, across the river from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It is a Rhône Cru, with a heritage of vinegrowing that is just as long as its easterly neighbour, although with mixed fortunes in comparison. Quality was varied in the past, but with the arrival of a younger generation of growers and more modern technology, the potential of Lirac has been realised. The Bréchet brothers have 16 hectares of vines in total there.
Conditions for Lirac are similar to Châteauneuf-du-Pape: both are Mediterranean in climate with over 2500 hours of sunlight per year and a dry growing season that ensures consistently ripe, flavoursome wines. Both have predominantly stony soils (Lirac also has the large pebbles or galets roulés of its neighbour) supported by red clay underneath. The Mistral wind keeps the crop healthy and concentrates flavours in the berries.
2016 was an excellent vintage. Low rainfall throughout the growing season produced smaller berries with less juice, but this led to great intensity of flavour in the wines. Both spring and summer were warm and dry, with budburst and flowering occurring in nearly ideal conditions. The hot and dry conditions persisted during the ripening period, but cool nights helped mitigate the effects of the heat and the grapes were harvested when they had reached optimum levels of ripeness.
The berries were destemmed and crushed and then fermented in stainless steel vats at 25°C. The wine was kept on skins for 15 days with daily pumping over and rack and returns to ensure good colour and flavour extraction from the grapes. Part of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation in barrel and part in tank. After that, the wine was aged in underground concrete vats for 10 months before bottling.
37% Cinsault, 36% Syrah/Shiraz, 16% Grenache/Garnacha, 11% Mourvèdre.
Deep crimson in colour, with notes of strawberries and blackberries. On the palate, the wine has a velvety mouthfeel and fresh acidity. Redcurrant flavours continue through the mouthwatering finish.
ABV = 14.0%.
Since the early 19th Century, Paul Jaboulet Ainé has been synonymous with quality wine in the Rhône Valley. Jaboulet’s Hermitages - white and red - and most of their upper wines - are the stuff of legend. The famous Rhone winery was bought by the Frey family in 2006. The Freys, owners of Chateau la Lagune in Bordeaux, saw the potential of the vineyards. They brought renewed energy to this corner of France and to one of its greatest names.
This, their “everyday” (if Jaboulet can ever be described as “everyday”) Côtes du Rhône brings all that winemaking experience to bear brilliantly for not much more than a tenner.
Soils: Shingle with clay, stony “argillaceous limestone” soil, pebbles.
Traditional vinification with long vatting, controlled fermentation temperatures. Aged 75% in stainless steel tanks, 25% in large French oak vats for 12 months. Syrah (40%) and Grenache (60%).
It is elegant, fruity and full-bodied and brings together the Grenache and Syrah in a rather more powerful, spicy (yet balanced) form than we find with most Côtes du Rhône. The nose is characterized by notes of black fruit, exotic spices (curry and sandal wood) with a rounded and delicate mouthfeel.
NB: fans of Jaboulet's Parallele 45 red may like to note that this is exactly the same wine under a different (off-trade) label: the same is true of the Parallele 45/Secret de Famille white CdR.
ABV = 14.0%.