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. 

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. 

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.

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. 
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