Posts with the label "chateauneuf-du-pape"


Rhone 2017 - A tale of the unexpected

Rhone 2017 - A tale of the unexpected

Thursday 25th October 2018
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

During a week of bounding up and down the Rhone valley I have tasted some truly delicious wines. My focus has been on 2017s from barrel but I have also been tasting 2016s and 2015s from bottle. 

Before I launch into the many surprises 2017 sprung on me, a word on 2015 Chateauneufs. These are in a very good place right now and it is clearly a superbly-balanced vintage, they may well go into the shut-down phase that most Chateauneufs do but right now they are a joy and what’s more they show the harmony to suggest excellent ageing potential, it can genuinely be considered a great year in the South. People may remember France being bathed  in sunshine throughout 2015 but in the Southern Rhône it was not too much of a heat-wave vintage, there was a little more rain and ensuing cooler temperatures than further north.  The results were wines of great allure, roundness and charm. For sure richer than a “cool” style vintage but less alcoholic than other hallowed years like 2016 and 2007, for example. If you missed these at the time, then don’t hesitate to snap up 2015 Southern Rhônes. 

Interview: In the cellar with Jerome from Chateau Mont-Redon

Interview: In the cellar with Jerome from Chateau Mont-Redon

Thursday 26th May 2016
by Justerini & Brooks

Last week Justerinis welcomed Jerome Abeille from the famed Chateauneuf du Pape estate, Mont Redon to St James’s Street.

After a typically French breakfast of coffee and croissant, we tasted a mouth-watering selection of Mont Redon wines. Jerome explained his wines to our team and described the enormous effort that goes into producing the highest quality Chateauneuf du Papes.

Mont Redon has been in the Abeille family since 1923. Four generations later and the winery remains in the capable hands of Jerome’s father, Jean, and his uncle, Didier Fabre. This striking domaine is very much a family affair; sons and cousins are charged with all aspects of the winery’s upkeep, from harvesting to export and sales; there is no let up for an estate that boasts close to 200 hectares.  It’s hard to image that Mont Redon once started out with a relatively tiny 2.5 hectare plot.

Vintage Report: Rhône 2013,

Vintage Report: Rhône 2013, "a silver lining" (and a quick word on 2012s)

Monday 17th November 2014
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

Walking through some Grenache vines in Châteauneuf –du-Pape at the end of September 2013 was glorious.  It was a bright, sunny and rather balmy afternoon, unusually so at that time of year even for the Southern Rhône.  

As I looked at the vines, sparsely dotted with the odd bunch, most of them grapillons (the second flush of grapes that are left on the vine after vintage because they never ripen and are not used to make wine). I imagined how glorious the crop would have looked and how gratifying harvest must have been.  So it was to my great surprise later that evening to learn that picking had not even started yet.  Nearly a year on, I travelled out( this week) to taste the results. 

Uneven weather before and during the 2013 flowering period resulted in the dropping of embryonic bunches, followed by aborted flowering of those that remained. Grenache was the most severely affected variety in the South and given that this makes up 70% of the typical Châteauneuf blend, was something of a catastrophe for growers.  A drop of 30 to 50% compared to a usual harvest was reported across the region, for many producers it was the smallest crop they had ever seen.  In the North, depending on the vineyard and individual terroir, Syrah was worse affected than it was further south and there were also tiny yields for Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne. Furthermore a very uneven wet and cold summer meant it was a late vintage, the latest in thirty years of wine producing for one particular Hermitage vigneron. 
Enfin! We waited as long as we dared ..

Enfin! We waited as long as we dared ..

Tuesday 29th October 2013
by Justerini & Brooks

A few words from Charles Blagden, vine grower and courtier in the Rhone valley, completes harvest at Le Bois Pointu in Chateauneuf ...

Le Bois Pointu 2013. Vendanges Saturday 19th October.

Enfin! We waited as long as we dared (the heavens opened yesterday) & it was all over in just under 4 hours. One of the latest harvests in the southern Rhone from memory (albeit my feeble one) since 1984 & the smallest that anyone I've spoken to can remember- we'll be lucky to have made 13hl, ie 9hl/Ha!!
Rhône: Topsy Turvy 2013 and Brilliant 2012

Rhône: Topsy Turvy 2013 and Brilliant 2012

Tuesday 15th October 2013
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

As I arrived in the Southern Rhone last week growers were debating anxiously with each other as to when to start their 2013 grenache harvest, what little of it there was to pick. Poor flowering or Coulure, has literally left just a few berries per vine. 

The weather last week was positively balmy in Chateauneuf and predicted to continue, but ripening was not complete in all vineyards and the process starts to slow down at this time of year. Picking was predicted to continue this week. This makes 2013 one of the latest in memory, certainly for Jean Abeille of Chateau Mont Redon who has 40 vintages under his belt. Curiously when I travelled to the Northern Rhone a few days later, the harvest had all but finished... A topsy turvy vintage.

2012, however, is a vintage that vignerons are certain of. It is a great year, most notably of all, but not exclusive to, the South. It is not a big crop, but it is qualitatively excellent, and this appears to be the case right across the Southern Rhone, particularly Chateauneuf du Pape. This appears to be a vintage of very ripe but notably fresh flavours, incredibly silky tannins and great intensity. The summer experienced heat spikes but the weather cooled down towards the end of season, so acidities are present but don't seem as high as that other recent great, 2010, and conditions were less dry so that tannins in 2012 are much more pliable. The resulting wines are seductive already but they are deceptively powerful and persistent. Above all the Southern Rhones, particularly in Chateauneuf, offer something very rare, elegance. This seems to me one of the most even-keeled and balanced vintages I have tasted. 
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