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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

Laurent Brotte, Pere Anselme Cote Du Rhone Rouge La Griveliere 2018 (1x75cl)

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%. 

£10.05

Maison Les Alexandrins, (Les Terrasses de l'Eridan) Cotes-du-Rhone 2017 (1x75cl)

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%.

£14.05

Moulin Des Chenes Lirac 2016 (1x75cl)

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%.

£13.95

Paul Jaboulet Ainé Cotes du Rhone Rouge Secret de Famille 2016 (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.

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%.

£12.25

Paul Jaboulet Aine Crozes Hermitage Rouge Les Jalets 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2020 edition's Weekday Wines (see  blue link below). 

Paul Jaboulet Aine Crozes Hermitage Rouge Les Jalets 2017 - June 2020 Decanter review

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 name Les Jalets comes from the soil nature of the vineyards, located in the plain of Les Chassis, stemming from the word jalets, is the Old French word for the pebbles left by alpine glaciers, as famously found at Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Average vine age is around 25 years. 

100% Syrah. Grapes were destemmed, crushed and subject to a thermo-regulated alcoholic fermentation then vattied over 3 weeks. Ageing/elevage  was in old French oak vats for 12 months.

See also the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Paul Jaboulet Aine Crozes Hermitage Rouge Les Jalets 2017 - fiche technique

Bright ruby red in colour with a violet hue. Round and concentrated. This fruit-driven red Crozes Hermitage is a classic. It shows the real typicity of the area (red berries, liquorice, spices, peppers). On the nose, it is intense but approachable, with perfumes of red berries and a touch of spice. On the palate, it is smooth and rich, with more liquorice on the finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£20.80
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