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En Primeur
Rhône

Justerini & Brooks
En Primeur Rhône

France’s wine growing “Rhone Valley” in reality covers two very distinct wine growing regions, separated by a vine-free gap of approximately 30 miles. Up and down the quality scale the Rhone stands out today for offering serious wines made by small quality conscious growers at very reasonable prices. A stellar run of recent vintages (barring the obvious 2002) and a wider pool of quality wine making talent than ever before has see the Rhone in recent years very much regaining its position front of mind for many of the world’s great wine collectors.

Rhone 2021 En Primeur

We have always adored the Rhône Valley in all its luminous, lavish, multi-faceted splendour. It is, though, an uncomfortable truth that the Rhône has fallen out of favour to the sorts of “precise”, “vivid”, “mineral-driven” wines that are easy to appreciate but hard to access.

By contrast, the immense Rhône Valley sits as a model of celebration and simplicity. There is freedom in a largely benevolent climate; a wide array of grape varieties, microclimates and soils; and the desire to articulate things as they are. Prices remain largely very fair for wines that – in the south especially – have remarkably wide drinking windows. Embroidered with silken fruits, berries and flowers, the wines are a joy to drink in the first few years, and will often hold for several decades. One does not come to Châteauneuf-du-Pape to die on the altar of acidity. We who love the tremor of the south are happy to luxuriate in the amplitude and pantheon of the Mediterranean, and feel compelled to invite others to bathe in its glow. To have it any other way would be to lose the essence of the wine world’s most famous and well-known appellation: the very first of its kind.

For our full vintage report, producer profiles and tasting notes, we invite you to peruse our full offer here

Rhône 2020

For the charm, balance and youthful beauty of its wines, 2020 is an unmissable vintage. Overall, it was a sunny year characterised by drought and a good-sized crop (for the majority of producers), with less extreme heat and higher yields than its predecessor, 2019. As a result, the wines feel less powerful, but more immediate and even-keeled. Make no mistake, though, the best 2020s have sufficient depth and the right balance to ensure excellent ageing potential. These are sun-kissed but juicy, harmonious wines with less alcohol than the 2019s, a difference in some cases of up to half a degree. Producers across the length and breadth of the Rhône extol the vintage’s virtues, with Domaine Clusel Roch describing 2020 as like a balance of 2018 and 2016 but better than either; or Jolivet who considers it “juicy and elegant”, whilst in the south Barroche compare it to the great 2012 in that the ‘20s are “similarly round but fresher”. Beaucastel go the whole hog and call it “one of the all-time classics,” referencing the great 1990 and 2010 vintages as comparisons.

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