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.
This cuvée stemsfrom a unique pebble terroir on the edge of the appellation of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a short distance from the La Crau plateau.
The vines are grown without pesticides or insecticides and manure is natural. The land is worked without herbicide to maintain ventilation and flexibility to the soil. Yields are around of 50 hl/ha.
Grapes are pneumatically pressing and macerated in vat.
Ageing process: On lees, 60% in vat and 40% in barriques (25% new) for 6 months.
Production: 15,000 bottles per year.
As the Domaine says, "a well-born Viognier, with strong personality, very fresh but with the southern muscle". Ideal for an aperitif or a mesclun salad and scallops. Serve within the next three years.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. This an IGP Viognier of impeccable breeding.
Lovely lychees and peach aromas sustained by the full and creamy palate. Pure Viognier expression.
Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2018 review of the 2016 vintage in the Northern Rhone (see blue link below).
The 2015 vintage was 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 cultivated 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.
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 average age of vines is 35 years and they are planted on Richter 100 rootstocks and trained to the simple Guyot method. Planted at a density of between 8,000 to 10,000 vines per hectare, they yield 35 hectolitres per hectare.
The grapes were manually harvested at full maturity of 13 to14 degrees, they were then 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.
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.
Yves Cuilleron pays extra-special care to the quality of his vines, and rejects “off-the-shelf ideas”. His vision of viticulture is highly personal: not conventional, not organic, and not biodynamic. He has a simple philosophy: “Grow the best possible grapes.”
As Cuilleron's vineyards cannot be mechanised, much labour is required and the vines receive “haute couture” treatment. Careful management of the growth cycle is another hallmark of distinguished savoir-faire. Low vine vigour, leaf-thinning and green harvesting allow maximum ventilation, reduce sensitivity to disease, and improve grape quality. All our grapes are grown to integrated methods and carry no certification labels – in other words, no standards or regulations constrain their conception of wine.
This approach to grape-growing takes the form of respectful manual treatment. They carry out the fewest treatments possible – three to five per year. No insecticides and only small amounts of organic fertiliser define a unique method that deeply respects the balance of the soil. Such consideration is essential, and a prerequisite for a promising future.
This wine is made using the best and oldest vines on the estate, on the south / southeast-facing terraces overlooking Chavanay. "Les Chaillets” is not a district but the local name for terraces. No insecticides or pesticides are used in the vineyard, with just a few treatments used (depending on weather), including small amount of organic-only fertiliser. There is also some yield control, leaf-thinning and green harvesting to promote grape maturation.
The grapes are picked when fully ripe and are hand-sorted. After pressing, they are fermented in barriques with native yeasts. Malolactic fermentation is also allowed to occur. The wine then spends 9 months maturing in barriques, on the lees with no racking and regular stirring.
This is a rich, refined and complex wine. A nose of dried yellow stone fruits, violets and honey. Harmonious, well integrated style on the palate, with good body. It has a pure long finish, underlaid by the terroir’s minerality.
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.
The Côtes du Rhône area of France is more readily associated with red wines but this is a lovely example of the white wines it can offer.
This wine is made from a blend of white local grape varieties including Grenache Blanc, Marsanne and Viognier. An elegant wine, it has floral aromas and flavours of citrus and peach. The Secret de Famille Blanc has a bright yellow colour, with lively pear, spice, white flower and stone fruit aromas on the nose, and fine citrus acidity on the palate to match itsfull, fruity character. The 2015 is medium-to-full-bodied, with a long refreshing sherbet and pear finish.
NB: fans of Jaboulet's Parallele 45 white 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 red CdR.
We like this because there's an increasing market insistence on single-varietal white wines: finding a blend these days can be tricky. Obviously, we 'get' the whole notion of definition and purity... that's what's driving the single-varietal fascination. But some blends are excellent, and this Côtes du Rhone exemplifies that, especially at a price tag of £11. What's more, this is from Jaboulet, one of the truly great names of the Rhone and France overall. There are few opportunities to 'pick up a Jaboulet' at this price, we can tell you. It's got serious body and yet has all the attributes one typically expects from lighter wines - aroma, acidity, 'zing' and refreshment. There are few whites that do, but this really goes with everything.
Aromatic nose of white flowers, hawthorn and acacia, with a delicate woody final note. Supple and well-rounded with an harmonious fresh finish.