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Rhone Valley

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Domaine Brusset, Gigondas, Les Hauts de Montmirail 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Platinum & Best in Show medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

On this family-owned estate, established in 1947, the Brusset family has managed to combine the savoir-faire of traditional winemaking with the new techniques introduced by each generation. The founder, André Brusset (1910-1999), his son Daniel, and his grand-son Laurent: three wine-growers and wine-makers with a variety of experiences have all contributed to the distinctive character of the Domaine Brusset, where three generations have complimented each other to achieve the best results. The Domaine Brusset is located in the heart of the southern Côtes-du-Rhône valley vineyards, at Cairanne. With a total of 70 hectares, their vineyards extend over 5 prestigious appellations : Gigondas, Cairanne, Rasteau, Côtes-du-Rhône and Ventoux.

50% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 25% Mourvedre.

To see Brusset's information sheet - including full vineyard and winemaking detail - for this wine please click on the blue link below.

Domaine Brusset, Gigondas, Les Hauts De Montmirail 2017 - fiche technique

A very deep, dark crimson. A rich, fruity, spicy and complex aroma. Very round and powerfull, long-lasting flavour. Consistant tannins, pleasantly woody with a deeper flavour of blackberry and chocolate.

or, as the DWWA19 panel put it:

"This complex yet seductive red has headily floral, sweet-fruited scents and lush, soft-textured, stony, perfumed flavours. Plum, strawberry and damson rarely attain this level of fragrant charm, and there's an almost sour-fresh note of ripe acidity, too".

ABV = 13.5%.

£33.60

Domaine La Barroche Chateauneuf-Du-Pape Signature 2012 (1x75cl)

Julien Barrot, of Domaine la Barroche, is one of the young, emerging talents of the southern Rhône. After Julien completed his winemaking course in Montpellier he backpacked around the vineyards of France and Australia, thirsty for knowledge and eager to expand his experiences. He came back and joined his father in 2002, more convinced than ever of the importance of terroir. Julien's enthusiasm and passion rubbed off on his father and together they agreed to release the first Domaine-bottled wines in the 2003 vintage. For thirty years previously Julien's father Christian had been working the vineyards and making wine but selling it off in bulk to local merchants. Though Christian is still around to lend advice, he entrusted the entire Domaine to Julien as of the 2006 vintage. The estate is small, encompassing 12 ha, and is planted to the traditional varieties including Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, Cinsault, Terret Noir and Clairette. The average age of the vines is 60 years old and one third of the vineyard is more than 100 years old (Grenache.) Grapes are hand picked, wines are fermented in concrete vat and aged in a mixture of large old wooden foudres and smaller oak barrels. The wine is handled gently, everything is done by gravity, and extractions are gentle. This has rapidly become a stellar Domaine.

In the vineyard the vines undergo rigorous bud pruning. Furthermore, green harvesting and leaf thinning are done. The picking is carried out entirely by hand, with sorting in the vineyard and again in the cellar.

Wine-making takes place in underground concrete vats. There is destemming of underripe stalks. The wine stays on the skins for over 4 weeks. Gentle extraction happens during this time. Ageing is done in old oak casks and 600 litre barrels which have been previously used for 1 to 3 earlier vintages. The wine is not filtered before bottling.

A blend of 14 parcels, mainly old vines Grenache (~62%), with 20% Mourvedre and the balance made up of Syrah (~12%) and Cinsault (6%).

This is an unique, elegant, silky and opulent wine that invariably expresses its distinctive qualities. It also shows great class thank to its deep colour, floral bouquet, freshness, cocoa flavours and delicate aftertaste. This offers wonderfully velvety ripe forest berry fruits, hints of strawberry, bullace sloe and damson. Glorious, crisp clear fruit flavours, enchanting and beguiling whilst boasting a more savoury, complex undertone of herb, sandalwood, salt and pepper.

"Potpourri and dried Provençale herbs on the nose. In the mouth it is rounded, immediately juicy and intense, but piercingly fresh. A pâté de fruit, red and black fruit character on the palate is accompanied by very fine but ample tannins. It's intense but lifted, structured, complete and harmonious. Very long and well balanced" (said Decanter, in late 2017, of the 2016).

ABV = 15.0%.

£32.00

M Chapoutier Cote Rotie Les Becasses 2016 (1x75cl)

The Chapoutier family motto Fac et Spera – "do and hope" – sums up their patient and daring approach to winemaking. They must be patient with nature, that uncontrollable force, and the winemaker must be daring in his decisions. Michel Chapoutier’s distant ancestor Polydor Chapoutier first bought vines in the Rhône Valley in 1808, and today history and tradition abound at this vast estate that stretches from Côte Rôtie in the north, to Luberon in the south. The M. Chapoutier vineyards in the very best sites of the Rhône represent the quintessence of the range.

So strong is Michel’s commitment to treat the terroir with respect that Chapoutier now owns the largest biodynamic vineyard in Europe. It is his personal conviction that “the complexity in a wine comes from the level of microbiological activity around the vine roots”. Soils on the Chapoutier estate never see pesticides or herbicides, floral growth amongst the vines is essential, and the natural cycles of earth, sun and moon are also considered, as vines respond to these. A consistent approach is crucial. 

The grapes are entirely hand-harvested at maturity and after destemming, the grapes ferment in concrete tanks. A daily treading ensures a good extraction of the colour and tannins. The temperature does not exceed 33°C. Fermenting lasts between 3 and 4 weeks depending on vintages. Maturing begins after vinification and takes place in oak casks with a proportion of which being new.

Ageing lasts 14-16 months. 80% of the wine is aged in oak barrels with a majority of new wood. The remaining 20% are aged in stainless steel vats which allows us to preserve the purity of the fruit and the floral notes, which are a distinctive feature of great Côte-Rôtie wines.

This wine is 100% Syrah. 

Very intense, purplish red in colour. Quince, peony and then roasted almond on the nose, together with aromas of red fruits, blackcurrant, raspberry and vanilla. On the palate full and round, the wine has a lovely rich character and blackcurrant fruit flavour, with stewed fruits and vanilla on the finish.  

Great with all meats and poultry, roast beef and cooked pork meats. Goes extremely well with cheeses.  

ABV = 13.0%.

£51.25

Paul Jaboulet Aine Cornas Domaine de Saint Pierre 2018 (1x75cl)

** THIS IS AN ADVANCE (pseudo-en-primeur) OFFERING OF THE SOON-TO-BE-RELEASED 2018 VINTAGE. **

** WE HAVE TAKEN A SMALL AMOUNT OF FREE STOCK AND THESE BOTTLES ARE AVAILABLE BELOW. **

 

"Gentle notes of crushed stone accent red-currant fruit on the nose of the 2018 Cornas Domaine de Saint Pierre. There's a sense of tension in this medium to full-bodied wine, which walks a tightrope of ripeness to yield a wine that's velvety and rich yet fresh and vibrant on the finish. 92-94 points." Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate, December 2019

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“The 2018 Cornas Domaine de Saint Pierre could turn out to be a real superstar, and it’s an incredibly impressive barrel sample. Lots of dark berry fruits, toasted spice, and cured meat notes give way to a full-bodied Cornas that has ripe tannins, subtle background oak, and a great finish. 92-95 points"Jeb Dunnuck, December 2019

_____

Jaboulet produces some of the world's greatest wines in the Rhone Valley, with Hermitage La Chapelle being its most famous wine. It was for many years run by Gérard Jaboulet, who was one of the great ambassadors for Rhône wines, tirelessly travelling the world and spreading the Gospel according to the Holy Grail of Hermitage. He died suddenly in 1997 and the firm has been run by Philippe & Jacques Jaboulet, until 2006 when the real estate entrepreneur Jean-Jacques Frey purchased the wine company.

The Frey family has  of long standing in the Champagne region and are owners of Château La Lagune in Bordeaux. Jacques and Nicolas Frey are now involved in the day-to-day running of the Maison Jaboulet, while Caroline Frey (pictured right), the eldest daughter, is at the helm of the wine-making team. Under Caroline’s leadership, in 2006, the vineyards earned Sustainable Farming status while Jaboulet's winegrowing is in the course of conversion towards biodynamic certification. 

Jaboulet produces wine from 26 different appellations in the Rhône. On the right-bank of the Rhone, the vineyard sits on the Eastern slopes of the Massif Central in Cornas, which means ‘burnt earth’ in old Celtic. The abrupt, south-facing slopes form a natural amphitheatre that protects the vines from cold winds. Cornas’ vineyards are very old, dating from ancient times. The first terraces and chaillées (walls) were likely made by Romans. Legend has it that Charlemagne himself tasted the wine when travelling through Cornas in the year 840 and liked it so much that he had some sent on to his residence in Aix-la-Chapelle. Owned by Domaines Paul Jaboulet Aine since 1996, the first vintage of this cuvée is 1996. This estate is located on the top of the hill, near the little chapel of Saint-Pierre. The estate represents 3.9 ha on very steep graphite south-facing slopes.

The autumn of 2017 was exceptionally dry. Winter 2017-18 was moderately watered and did not fully offset the water deficit. The winter season was very cool, temperatures returned to normal at the beginning of April resulting in later budburst. The whole spring was regularly and correctly watered. Temperatures remained and sometimes were above normal. These alternating hot and rainy periods led to very rapid growth of the vine. Phenology progressed very quickly and the season became early. At the beginning of July, temperatures were getting hotter/ the sanitary state of the vineyard was excellent, berries were juicy, well inflated and often larger than last year. The few rains in August allowed to unlock the situation and the harvest of September took place in a summer atmosphere under particularly heavy heat.

Click this link for Wine Advocate's review and opinion of the 2018 Northern Rhone harvest

Grapes were hand-picked, sorted on the plot, in small crates. The vatting period lasted around 4 weeks with gentle extractions. Aged in French oak barrels (20% new).

See the link below for more details of the wine and winemaking from Jaboulet themselves.

Paul Jaboulet Aine Cornas Domaine De Saint Pierre 2018 - fiche technique

100% Shiraz/Syrah. 

For tasting notes, we refer you to the reviews above.

ABV = 13.5% (estimated, not known until bottled).

£44.95

Paul Jaboulet Aine Crozes Hermitage Domaine De Thalabert Rouge 2017 (1x75cl)

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.

The Domaine de Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage, as the Oxford Companion to Wine describes it, remains the "appellation's principal standard bearer". It has long been seen as having the quality of nearby Hermitage, particularly in good vintages, at only a small fraction of the price.

See this link for an excellent guided tasting of the 2012 vintage by one of the world's leading sommeliers.

The Crozes-Hermitage vineyard is the largest of all the northern Rhône Valley appellations. It extends over 11 communes situated in the Drôme, on the left bank of the Rhône. Domaine de Thalabert has belonged to the Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné since 1834. It is situated on the plain, and is the oldest in the appellation.

This estate of around 40 ha lies on a pebbly plain that is glacial in origin. The small, round pebbles store heat during the day and release it at night, providing optimum ripening of the Syrah grapes  Average vine age is an impressive 40 to 60 years.

100% Syrah. The grapes from the Thalabert estate are carefully sorted then meticulously vinified using traditional methods. Traditionally aged in wood for 12 months in Jaboulet's ancient VINEUM cellar.

Deep ruby and bright. Intense, complex and aromatic with a blend of red berries and animal notes. Powerful and fine; noble tannins; full, well-balanced finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£25.25

Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Maison Bleue 2018 (1x75cl)

** THIS IS AN ADVANCE (pseudo-en-primeur) OFFERING OF THE SOON-TO-BE-RELEASED 2018 VINTAGE. **

** WE HAVE TAKEN A SMALL AMOUNT OF FREE STOCK AND THESE BOTTLES ARE AVAILABLE BELOW. **

 

"The 2018 Hermitage La Maison Bleue offers up aromas of mocha, raspberries and a hint of black olive. It's full-bodied, velvety and plush, with a finish that's marked by hints of maple syrup and a slightly open-knit quality. It should drink well for at least a decade after release. 93-95 points." Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate, December 2019

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"The 2,000-case 2018 Hermitage La Maison Bleue comes from the eastern side of the appellation and is a much more fleshy, opulent wine compared to the more mineral-laced La Chapelle. Jammy blackberry and cassis fruit, notes of ground herbs, graphite, and violets, full-bodied richness, beautiful concentration, and a great finish all make for a compelling Hermitage. It’s going to benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age. 94-96 points." Jeb Dunnuck, December 2019

_____

Jaboulet produces some of the world's greatest wines in the Rhone Valley, with Hermitage La Chapelle being its most famous wine. It was for many years run by Gérard Jaboulet, who was one of the great ambassadors for Rhône wines, tirelessly travelling the world and spreading the Gospel according to the Holy Grail of Hermitage. He died suddenly in 1997 and the firm has been run by Philippe & Jacques Jaboulet, until 2006 when the real estate entrepreneur Jean-Jacques Frey purchased the wine company.

The Frey family has  of long standing in the Champagne region and are owners of Château La Lagune in Bordeaux. Jacques and Nicolas Frey are now involved in the day-to-day running of the Maison Jaboulet, while Caroline Frey (pictured right), the eldest daughter, is at the helm of the wine-making team. Under Caroline’s leadership, in 2006, the vineyards earned Sustainable Farming status while Jaboulet's winegrowing is in the course of conversion towards biodynamic certification. 

Jaboulet produces wine from 26 different appellations in the Rhône. Along the Petite Pierrelle street, not far from the stream of Torras and the road where the blackbirds sing, lies the pretty Maison Bleue. Leaning against the Hermitage Hill, one of the most beautiful vineyards in the world, this small stone house with blue shutters was once a real haven of peace for the winegrowers: a place to work, rest and share located in the heart of a legendary terroir. Today, this house of winegrowers has regained new youth. Winegrowers and horses take there shelter from time to time. Grapes come from the most easterly vineyards of the hill, where soils are deeper, less stony and slope flatter.

The autumn of 2017 was exceptionally dry. Winter 2017-18 was moderately watered and did not fully offset the water deficit. The winter season was very cool, temperatures returned to normal at the beginning of April resulting in later budburst. The whole spring was regularly and correctly watered. Temperatures remained and sometimes were above normal. These alternating hot and rainy periods led to very rapid growth of the vine. Phenology progressed very quickly and the season became early. At the beginning of July, temperatures were getting hotter/ the sanitary state of the vineyard was excellent, berries were juicy, well inflated and often larger than last year. The few rains in August allowed to unlock the situation and the harvest of September took place in a summer atmosphere under particularly heavy heat.

Click this link for Wine Advocate's review and opinion of the 2018 Northern Rhone harvest

Grapes were hand-picked, sorted on the plot, in small crates. The vatting period lasted around 4 weeks with gentle extractions. Aged in French oak barrels (20% new).

See the link below for more details of the wine and winemaking from Jaboulet themselves.

Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Maison Bleue 2018 - fiche technique

100% Shiraz/Syrah. 

For tasting notes, we refer you to the reviews above.

ABV = 14.5% (estimated, not known until bottled). 

£48.50
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