Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2017 edition review of Southern Rhone Whites (see blue link below).
Domaine Chante Cigale is situated on the left bank of the Rhône, between Orange and Sorgues, on a variety of soils which contain a high proportion of ‘galets.’ These are the large stones of Châteauneuf-du-Pape which heat up during the day and release their heat at night, allowing the grapes to achieve maximum ripeness. The white is fresh and attractive and an interesting alternative to the ubiquitous Chardonnay. Since taking over the running of the estate from his father over ten years ago, Alexandre Favier has transformed the quality of the wines, which now rank amongst the very best of the appellation.
The grapes for this wine are harvested manually and go through a selective sorting process to ensure that only the best quality grapes are used in the winemaking process. The wine is fermented in both stainless steel (70%) and wood (30%). It then spends 6 months on its fine lees before being bottled.
This wine is fragrant, with aromas that are reminiscent of almond and peach blossom. The palate is wonderfully smooth with a silky textured balance of dried apricot fruit and fresh, apply acidity.
This wine is a particularly good match for fish and also works well with smoked ham dishes. It also compliments slightly spicy dishes as well as traditional Mediterranean cuisine.
Awarded 87 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2017 edition review of Southern Rhone Whites (see blue link below).
Château La Verrerie is located in the Lubéron appellation. Jean-Louis Descours fell in love with Château La Verrerie in 1981, when he was looking at retirement estates. As a result, he purchased the 20 hectare estate and along with his son Gérard, brought it back to winemaking life. A new winery was constructed and more vineyards were acquired with the sole ambition to make a great wine. Their first vintage was released in 1985. Today, the grandson of Jean-Louis runs the estate with Olivier Adnot as the winemaker. The Descours family enjoyed their first foray into wine so much that they purchased Charles Heidsieck in 2011, when it became available for sale.
The domaine has 48 hectares of vineyard and about 70% of the production is red, 20% rosé and 10% white. Seven hectares are dedicated to Roussanne, Clairette, Grenache and Bourboulenc and 1.85 hectares located in IGP Vaucluse are planted with Viognier. The winery has recently completed its organic conversion and is certified organic from the 2013 vintage.
At the winery, the grapes were gently pressed and fermented at low temperature (16°C) to minimise the extraction of phenolics. The wine was then fermented in a combination of stainless steel and French oak casks in order to preserve the primary fruit while also adding body to the wine. The wine finally stayed on its lees for four months in stainless-steel tanks before bottling.
This wine has an appealing golden straw-yellow colour with silver-green hues. Aromas of peach, apricots and Rainier cherries on the nose, followed by precise notes of acacia and honey. On the palate, the wine is full and lush, reflecting the fruit and floral tones of the nose.
Awarded 88 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2017 edition review of Southern Rhone Whites (see blue link below).
Wines have been made on this estate for several hundred years, dating back to 1264 when the family arrived from Italy to serve the pope in Avignon. The three hats depicted on the label, signifies two bishops and a pope, who were among the fore fathers of the Lançon family. Today, the Domaine with its 38 hectares in the Châteauneuf du Pape appellation, is passing to the next generation as brothers Jean and Michel Lançon are handing over the reins to Florent, Michel's son. Florent, who is passionate about innovative winemaking, whilst honouring traditional values, has recently started working with new tulip-shaped concrete vats which were initially designed for Cheval Blanc and are at the cutting edge of winemaking technology. Domaine de la Solitutude’s wines are renowned for their characteristic elegance whilst expressing the true origins of their terroir.
This domaine has one of the best terroirs in Châteauneuf-du-Pape with its abundance of rounded quartzite stones. These stones absorb heat during the day then radiate it at night, promoting full grape maturity. The grapes are manually harvested, once each variety has reached ripeness. The grape bunches are then meticulously sorted to remove any unwanted fruit.
The grapes were pressed immediately upon arrival at the winery. The juice was cold settled and then fermented in temperature controlled tanks. The wine was then aged on its fine lees in small tanks with regular stirrings. Part of the Roussanne was matured in new oak for a short period, adding complexity to the resulting wine. The wine was then bottled during the Spring following the harvest.
Thi is an elegant wine of great complexity, with citrus aromas enveloped in layers of minerality and herbal nuances. On the palate, this wine is full-flavoured with a creamy texture, powerful and long.
Having started in 1984 with just one inherited vineyard hectare in the heart of the Saint-Joseph appellation, the production of this now 8.5 hectare estate is still tiny. After befriending each other during their wine studies, René-Jean and François were among the first Northern Rhône winemakers who intervened as little as possible in grape growing and winemaking, in a time when ’natural’ hardly existed as a term.
René-Jean Dard says that they're not looking to make great wines, their focus is to make wines that let themselves drink well, there's a Japanese word for that, he adds : Nomiyasui, which could be translated as drinkability, the ability to be drunk with ease and pleasure. Wine is not made for tasting, he says, it's made to be swallowed and fully enjoyed.
There is no unecessary intervention in the vineyard or the winery - they use natural yeasts and still trample about 10% of the grapes by foot as this helps to start the fermentation. The wine can spend up to 20 days in the open topped wooden fermentation vats but this varies as each wine is tasted every morning to assess it's development. The wine then spends time on the fine lees before bottling.
Pure Roussane that manages to be both rich, creamy with golden honey notes and racey and mineraly at the same time. A real treat. The vineyard is organic and the wine is made with no added sulphur.
The 2015 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2017 edition review of Southern Rhone Whites (see blue link below).
More than 40 years after Aime Sabon established Janasse at Courthezon, it is now established as one of the southern Rhone’s finest wine estates, spanning some 80 hectares of vineyards. Now under the control of Christophe Sabon and his sister Isabelle, Janasse’s much-lauded Chateauneuf-du-Papes are a quintessentially modern interpretation of the vineyards’ superlative raw material.
The vines are grown without pesticides or insecticides and fertiliser is natural. The land is worked without herbicides to maintain ventilation and flexibility in the soil.
The Domaine de la Janasse CNP Blanc has a ripe, expressive nose of dried tropical fruits and citrus. The palate is medium bodied, silky and full of apricot and pineapple fruit with a crisp, dry finish.
The previous (2015) vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2017 edition review of Southern Rhone Whites (see blue link below).
Bone dry with real power. Aromas of peach and apricot, excellent concentration on the palate with vibrant acidity, a full mouthfeel and refreshing acidity on the finish.
The nose is fresh, fruity and aromatic, with ripe tropical and dried fruit characteristics. The palate is medium bodied with a succulent texture, balanced alcohol and acidity and a great concentration of dried fruit flavours, such as apricot and peach, with a honeyed, silky finish.
Lovely lychees and peach aromas sustained by the full and creamy palate. Pure Viognier expression.
Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2018 edition panel article, Steven Spurrier's Fine Wine World (see blue link below).
Georges Vernay is known as the "King of Condrieu" and was responsible for the growth and worldwide recognition of this small appellation during the 1950s. His estate covers 22 hectares of vineyards, six of which are in the Côte Rôtie appellation. The steep and uneven vineyards make mechanical labour impossible. The vines are manually propagated without the use of residual herbicide or insecticide. Georges' daughter, Christine, returned to her roots with Paul Anselem, her Parisian husband, and has looked after the winemaking since 1997, gaining worldwide recognition for her Côte Rôtie wines.
The growing season in 2015 was warm and the grapes ripened to perfect maturity. This is a vintage in demand, it is showcasing a wonderful, mineral elegance.
A patchwork of small plots covering four hectares in the lieu-dits of Sainte Agathe and La Caille located in the heart of Condrieu. The vines are planted on steep South facing granite, biotite terraces where the use of machines is impossible; therefore the vineyard is maintained manually and without the use of weed killers or insecticides.
The grapes were manually harvested at full maturity after which they were meticulously sorted and pressed. After a static temperature controlled must settling, the clear juice was fermented in 20 hectolitre oak vats, lasting approximately four to five weeks. The wine was matured on its fine lees in both oak barrels and vats.
Pure peach and apricot aromas are lifted with hints of acacia flowers. Full and creamy with a distinctive mineral expression and a subtle Condrieu saline complexity supporting the ripe stone fruit flavours. This is a pure expression of a very fine Viognier.
Delicious served at room temperature with seared scallops in a rich, creamy sauce; lobster; game and mature cheese.
This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
In December of 1978 Philippe Laurent and Michèle Aubéry-Laurent bought a barn and 12 hectares of old vines in Montbrison. Their first harvest took place in 1979 with their first cuvee being the Ceps Centenaires. As time has passed they have extended their vineyards as well as buying new plots of land and they now have 25 hectares of land under vine. The vineyard is now certified as organic.
This wine was hand picked and has undergone both an alcoholic and malolactic fermentation before spending 6 months in oak.
Pineapple and hay aromas with some by floral and herbaceous nuances. Juicy, light and fresh; a wine of modest size and depth, but one with good mineral spine and liveliness.
An expressive and aromatic nose of white stone fruits and floral notes, with a full, fruity palate of apricots, peach and a hint of minerality. This delightful Rhône blend has a lively and persistent finish.
An elegant wine, this Hermitage Blanc has floral aromas and flavours of citrus fruit and peach. Fresh and light, with a roasted almond finish.