Posts with the label "chateauneuf du pape"


Rhône 2018

Rhône 2018

Monday 7th October 2019
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

Generalising about the 2018 Rhône vintage is difficult. Where it was a small crop it was tiny and where it wasn’t it was big!

Equally paradoxical is the style of the wines – some of which are really attractive and seductive now, others are blockbusters that will require great patience.  Nor do these differences divide neatly into the Northern or Southern Rhône.   What is clear, though, is the pattern of the season: 2018 started with an intolerably prolonged wet period in Spring that was ended by a long bout of hot, dry weather that began at the end of June; there was an extremely hot August and finally a harvest period that was very warm throughout. One grower I spoke to described 2018 as “tropical.”  Low yields or high, 2018 produced rich, ripe grapes that were in tip top health. Alcohols and tannic structures were relatively high and acids low. There are plenty of delicious wines to seek out, but whether they are for keeping or drinking before 2017s, 2016s and 2015s varies from Domaine to Domaine – I have given a general idea below and will go into even more detail in our Rhône offer that will be launched on the 20th November. 

Vintage Report: Rhone 2016 - The Rolling Rhônes

Vintage Report: Rhone 2016 - The Rolling Rhônes

Monday 20th November 2017
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

As flippant as the title may seem, Rhône is certainly on a very serious roll.  2016 will go down as another great Rhône vintage.  As hard as it may be to believe, this vintage is as good as and, in many cases, better than, 2015.  


There is no hesitation from Southern Rhône growers:  Vieux Télégraphe describe it as “magical”, Beaucastel as “idylllic and exceptional,” while Barroche’s Julien Barrot recalls picking berries at harvest:  “Cinema grapes, they were so beautiful to look at!” So why all the excitement? It was a dry rather than an excessively hot vintage.  By and large days were sunny and nights cool.  Flowering was successful so the crop was of good size and ripening homogenous.  Rain in mid-September ensured that the vines completed their ripening cycle before harvest at the end of the month. Certainly when tasting the wines you get no sense of a stressed season. For these 2016s are flowing and silken.  Notable for their incredibly fine tannins, belying a discrete intensity, the wines have a generous, alluring quality to them with enough of a pique of freshness to provide lift.  Comparisons have been drawn with 1990, 2007 but most of all 2010.  Though it is every bit as good if not better than the latter, we feel it is a very different vintage.  Acidities are as fresh as 2010 but the wines feel more charming in 2016 and alcohol, surprisingly, was lower ranging between 14 to 14.5%. Many growers have made their most abundant and what they believe to be their best vintage.  A great year to tuck away in the cellar or drink young, avoiding, of course, Châteauneuf’s infamous adolescent period between three and eight years after bottle.

Harvest Report: Château Mont-Redon

Harvest Report: Château Mont-Redon

Tuesday 29th September 2015
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

The Abeille-Fabre Family share with us their insights from the 2015 harvest at Château Mont-Redon, which reaches its end today, somewhat earlier than expected. 

“2015 has been a quite easy year on the climatic point of view all along the vegetative cycle, featuring a dry year with a hot summer marked by temperatures exceeding 40°C, thus accelerating the maturities and dropping acidity. This lasted until the beginning of September. We have had a crop with rarely equaled, healthy conditions, but experienced again a gap between alcoholic maturity and the phenolic one, therefore we had to wait quite a while in order to meet our expectations."

26 vintages of Clos des Papes

26 vintages of Clos des Papes

Friday 3rd October 2014
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

I have drunk more Clos des Papes in the last four weeks than the whole of last year, 26 different examples of red and white to be precise, but I am not complaining.  For this fine Rhône estate produces wine that, with age, challenges the convention that Chateauneuf du Pape is about power, richness and little else.  

Whilst the famous vintages of course get great journalistic scores and points, the last month has also proven how good Clos des Papes is in "challenging" vintages, indeed they are sometimes preferable.

Overall the wines were utterly graceful, sensual sweet but moreish, very refined but with a distinct sense of place.  My first tasting was with Vincent Avril himself in his cellars, the initial premise was to taste 2013 but Vincent's generosity extended to another eight additional wines.  The second occasion was a thoroughly convivial dinner earlier this week where the 1934 was rather decadently, but not incorrectly, served as an "apertif" - it was a memorable night.