Rhone 2020 Vintage
Tasting wine over 2020/2021 was difficult for obvious reason but we got a window of opportunity to head to London last year and were very glad we did! This was a cracking vintage from the Rhone and both the whites and reds excelled in the Northern and Southern Rhone. It was a warm vintage so ripeness was not an issue, but lots of lovely freshness throughout.
CAVE YVES CUILLERON, CHAVANAY
Making cracking wines like these means Yves Cuilleron is no stranger to our shelves. He took over the reins as the 4th generation vigneron in 1987 and has never looked back. He is based in Chavanay, just south of Condrieu and has built up a formidable reputation in recent years and is now one of the names to look for in the Northern Rhone. Yves was also instrumental in reclaiming the lost vineyards of Coteau de Seyssuel. Situated north of Vienne and prized by the Romans it was lost to phylloxera at the end of the 19th century. Yves and two other winemakers undertook the task of effectively grubbing up a wood and replanting a vineyard, certainly no mean feat... but that’s Yves for you!!! We are very proud to say many of these wines were shipped specially for us and as such not readily available in the UK.
YVES CUILLERON ST JOSEPH LYSERAS 2020 £27.99
A blend of Marsanne /Roussanne from south/south-east facing plots on the hillsides of the communes of Chavanay and Saint-Pierre-de-Boeuf (north of the St.Joseph appellation). Plots are vinified separately and spend 8 months in oak before blending and bottling. On the nose there are aromas of ripe fleshy stone fruit, citrus and notes of honey. A rich yet elegant palate with a surprising tangy finish.
YVES CUILLERON CONDRIEU CHAILLETS 2020 £48.99
The 2020 Les Chaillets is made from a selection of plots located in the heart of the Condrieu appellation. There, the vines are rooted in a granite terroir which allows the Viognier to express itself with great minerality and elegance. Les Chaillets is the local name for the arrangement of vines on stone terraces. The plots are vinified separately, and the wine is aged in oak for 8 months and then blended.
On the nose there are aromas of peach, apricot, honey and blossom. A rich and generous mouthfeel is balanced by a granite minerality and a long satisfying finish. Potential to age for another 10 years.
YVES CUILLERON CONDRIEU VERLIEU 2020 £55.99
A blend of Viognier from parcels planted in terraces on the hillside of Verlieu above the village of Chavanay. The vines are planted on a muscovite granite soil, allowing this wine to obtain a beautiful aromatic complexity. The wine is aged in oak for 12 months prior to bottling. On the nose you'll find lingering and seductive aromas of white blossom and fleshy stone fruit. Round and expressive in the mouth with a richness typical of Viognier.
YVES CUILLERON SYRAH SIGNÉ 2020 £21.99
Signé is a blend of 85% Syrah and 15% Viognier that have been planted together and co-fermented. It spends 8 months in barrels and blending takes place plot by plot before bottling. A fruity wine, with real richness and an erelegant nose, with notes of sweet spices and flowers.
YVES CUILLERON SYRAH CANDIVES 2020 £20.99
Les Candives is the local name given to Syrah and the grapes are sourced from the best plots in Chavanay. It has loads of black and red fruit on the nose along with pepper and liquorice. Fleshy on the palate, with lovely velvety tannins on the finish, give it an hour in a decanter if you have time!
YVES CUILLERON ST JOSEPH CAVANOS 2020 £31.99
A cuvée produced exclusively from vines located in the commune of Chavanay in the far north of St. Joseph. It is the only village in the appellation where vines are planted on muscovite granite soil, which helps bring out a fresher expression of Syrah. The wine is aged in oak for 16 months. It has a complex nose of intense red and black fruits, morello cherries and blackcurrant accompanied by delicate woody notes. The palate is well balanced and velvety with fine spicy tannins.
YVES CUILLERON ST. JOSEPH SERINE 2020 £44.99
Le Serines comes from multiple terroirs and has matured for 18 months in 40% new French oak prior to bottling. It has an intense, complex nose of dark fruit enhanced by lavender, spice and liquorice. The flavourful palate is packed with mulberries, dark cherries, olives, violets and black pepper. It has a silky texture with fine tannins and balanced acidity.
YVES CUILLERON CÔTE RÔTIE MADINIERE 2020 £57.99
Yves Cuilleron owns 4ha of vines and this cuvee 'Madiniere' is named after a little stream at the bottom of the slope. The wine spend 18 months in barrique and is made from purely Syrah grapes, so no splash of Viognier. It can be drunk now if you like upfront bold wines, but will age easily for decades.
DOMAINE ROGER SABON, CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE
Domaine Roger Sabon is now one of the regions leading producers. Didier Négron (who is married to a Sabon) has been making the wines since 2004. Sabon is blessed with vineyards in some of the very best sites of Châteauneuf – Les Cabrières, La Crau, Courthezon and Nalys, and all with the famous “galets roulés”. Galet roulés are the large round pebbles that are strewn across the ground. They soak up the heat from the sun, emitting their warmth long into the night which helps the grape ripen. The stones also help with soil erosion by protect the soil from the strong Mistral wind also famous for the region. The vines are at least 50 years old many much older and for the red the usual Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvèdre thrive. All the wines are accessible but will age for 10 years plus.
SABON CHATEAUNEUF-DU PAPE BLANC 2020 £34.99
Their Chateauneuf-Du Pape Blanc is a blend of Roussanne, Clairette, Grenache Blanc and Bourboulenc. It’s a lovely pale golden colour. The wine has an aromatic nose dominated by frangipane and peach and hint of hazelnut. Juicy and round, with good body and honey on the finish and a wonderful freshness!
SABON CHATEAUNEUF-DU PAPE CUVEE PRESTIGE 2020 £46.99
The Prestige is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, with Muscardin, Terret, Vaccarèse and Counoise from 90 year old vines.
DOMAINE DU VIEUX TÉLÉGRAPHE, BÉDARRIDES
Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe was founded back in 1891 and five generations later it is still run by the Brunier family. The vineyards are to be found on the legendary “Plateau de la Crau” which is covered by the famous “galets roulés” that give a distinct minerality to the wine. The heat the “galets roulés” absorb and radiate out also help ripen the notoriously difficult Grenache. They might be five generations old but they have a highly modern state of the art gravity flow winery. Vieux Télégraphe really is one of the stars of the Rhone if not the whole of France.
VIEUX TELEGRAPHE CHATEAUNEUF-DU PAPE BLANC 2020 £56.99
The Vieux Telegraphe Blanc is made from 40% Clairette, 25% Grenache Blanc, 25% Roussanne and 10% Bourboulenc and fermented in oak and stainless steel. After three to four years, it will develop into a rich, succulent, nutty treat reminiscent of white Hermitage.
PIEDLONG CHATEAUNEUF-DU PAPE 2020 £46.99
The Brunier brothers have produced this special Châteauneuf du Pape from two distinct parcels since the 2011 vintage. It is a blend of 90% Grenache (70-year-old vines) and 10% Mourvèdre (50-year-old vines). The wine is aged for 20 months in French oak foudres and there is no filtration or fining.
VIEUX TELEGRAPHE CHATEAUNEUF-DU PAPE 2020 £65.99
The Vieux Telégraphe Rouge is made from predominantly three grape varieties, 65% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre plus 5% Cinsault and Clairette. Grapes are partially destemmed and are fermented in both stainless steel and wooden vats. The wine is matured in large foudres for 20 months and then bottled unfined and unfiltered.
It displays a distinctive minerality from the terroir, tremendous concentration and intense flavours of dark cherry and local “garrigue”.
DOMAINE VINCENT PARIS, CORNAS
Vincent Paris is another relative newcomer only starting up in 1997, but was helped greatly by his uncle Robert Michel, a legend in the village of Cornas. Vincent with the help of an international wine loving syndicate bought La Geynale from his uncle when he retired. La Geynale is one of only two south facing slopes in Cornas, Reynard being the other one. These are modern Cornas wines and yes powerful and clearly long lived but they have a beautiful elegance.
VINCENT PARIS CORNAS GRANIT 30 2020 £34.99
The Granit 30 effectively comes from the younger vines Vincent owns. They are around 10 years old and come off the lower slope. Granit 30 refers to the slope of the vineyard. The wine does not see as much oak as the Granit 60 and as a result it has a fresher more approachable feel to it. The wine is made from Syrah, so has a spicy edge but there is a freshness to the wine as well as some good grippy tannin.
VINCENT PARIS CORNAS GRANIT 60 2020 £47.99
This is made from 3 plots of vines up to around 100 years old. The wine spends 12 months in old oak. This comes from the steeper slopes. As you would expect this will be a very long-lived wine and is only going to get better.
VINCENT PARIS LA GEYNALE 2020 £57.99
The vines are around 100 years old and have the ability to age for a very long time. Inky purple in colour with a complex bouquet evoking ripe blackberry with hints of red fruit, smoky Indian spices and a floral edge. It shows impressive structure but there's elegance here as well. Fine-grained tannins lend shape to the long, smoke-tinged finish, which leaves notes of dark berries.
DOMAINE LA SOUMADE,RASTEAU
André Roméro founded the Domaine in 1979 and was then joined by his son Frédéric in 1996, and finally by his nephew Régis. Together they are making some of the finest wines in Rasteau! They adopt incredibly low yields 40 hl/ha for their basic wines and down to 15 to 20 hectolitres for their top cuvées.
DOMAINE LA SOUMADE CUVEE PRESTIGE 2020 £22.99
As with all Soumade’s vineyards “La lutte raisonnée” is the key in all their vineyards. They only treat the vines where absolutely necessary, which allows the terroir (clay-limestone) characteristics in their wine to shine. They are effectively organic and certainly as sustainable as they can be. The vines are aged between 30 to 50 years with a yield of 35 hectolitres per hectare. Harvesting is done by hand and the best grapes are then selected on a sorting table in the vineyard. The wine undergoes an 18 month maturation on fine lees of which 50% is in 4000 litres wooden barrels (“foudres”) and 50% in concrete, it then undergoes a light filtration. It is made from 70% Grenache noir, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre.
DOMAINE LA SOUMADE CUVÉE CONFIANCE 2020 £26.99
The Rasteau Villages Cuvée Confiance is made from 70% Grenache Noir, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre, although the blend can change slightly depending on the vintage. All the grapes are hand harvested and they adopt as close to organic viticulture as they can. The vines are aged between 50 and 100 years old and the yields are low, between 25 and 35 hectolitres per hectare.
DOMAINE LA SOUMADE FLEUR CONFIANCE 2020 £43.99
Cuvée Fleur de Confiance is their flagship wine and is made from 90% Grenache noir, 10% Syrah, but this can change depending on the vintage. Yields are extremely low, only 15 to 20 hectolitres per hectare and again vines are old, between 50 and 100 years old. The wine shows extraordinary power and concentration, plenty of spice, some darker fruits. A wine like this will power on for another 20 years
DOMAINE DE LA CHARBONNIÈRE, CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE
Domaine de la Charbonnière has been a favourite of ours for years, it is still a family run affair with 12 hectares in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and 4.5 hectares in Vacqueyras. Michel Maret has now handed the running over to his two daughters. Véronique is the winemaker and sister Caroline runs the administration side. Grenache is king here: we have always have loved a more Grenache heavy blend when it comes to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. There is more red fruit and less leather which reminds us of Pinot Noir on steroids! That said it does have a spice and nice tannins from the Syrah and Mourvèdre.
DOMAINE DE LA CHARBONNIÈRE CDP BLANC 2020 £36.99
This white is made from 40% Roussanne, 40% Grenache Blanc and 20% Clairette It has aromatics of peach and apricot, there is a little waxiness but more of this oily weight will show with a little more age.
DOMAINE DE LA CHARBONNIÈRE CDP ROUGE 2020 £38.99
This is made from 70% Grenache, 15% Syrah and 15% Mourvèdre. So it has the red fruits from the Grenache but spicy leather from the Syrah with the Mourvèdre adding a herby edge.
DOMAINE DE LA CHARBONNIÈRE CDP PERDRIX 2020 £48.99
Single vineyard cuvée “Mourre des Perdrix”. It is situated on the much respected site of Courthezon. The soil here is composed of red clay, with round pebbles and sand marl. 70% Grenache,15% Syrah and 15% Mourvèdre. The wine has a mix of dak and red fruits, with some plum/prune, nice spice and a subtle herby finish. Going to age well if you can keep your hands off it.
DOMAINE DE LA CHARBONNIÈRE CDP VV 2020 £56.99
The Cuvée Vieilles Vignes is nearly 100% Grenache with a splash of Mourvèdre. The Grenache comes from a plot of hundred-year-old vines on clay-sandy soil in the vineyard called "La Crau" and since 2017 one plot from "Coudoulet".