Wednesday, 27 April 2016

It's en primeur season - Part I: the Southern Rhone

£9.12
The Southern Rhone
2014 reds are the starting point of this offer but 2015 whites are superb and other vintages offered should not be overlooked. 2014 was a mixed vintage so wines should be selected carefully but, fortunately for us, we have been working with a selection of winemakers who seem to come up trumps year after year. What you can expect with all these wines is the house style but in a readily accessible wine; whilst every red wine in this offer will develop given more time, most can be enjoyed straight away (there are a handful of obvious exceptions, of course: Usseglio's Imperiale, for example).
The list is shorter than usual partly because we are offering wines from other region at the same time but, in the main, because many estates are releasing wines at different times, making a consolidated offer impossible. We are especially pleased to welcome to our portfolio Chateau Juvenal, a Ventoux estate we have been following for three vintages and which has, in the course of those vintages, impressed us with some already great wines and a promise of yet more to come. Otherwise, the wines of Chateau de Beaucastel and Raymond Usseglio impressed, as always, and we found the latest releases from Xavier Vignon irresistible.
How the offer works
Wines are offered in bond (IB) which means the price quoted does not include duty or VAT, both of which are payable before the wines can be delivered. Currently the duty on a single bottle of table wine is just under £2.10 each, regardless of the purchase price of the wine and VAT is charged at 20% on top of both the IB price and duty. This is the duty paid (DP) price. The list price quoted is the anticipated price of the wine once it arrives in stock.
Chateau Juvenal
When Anne-Marie and Bernard Forestier bought Chateau Juvenal, their primary interest was the building itself which they wanted to transform into a luxury hotel. However, chateaux in this part of France (as in so many others) tend to come with vineyards. Enter Sebastien Alban, thier neighbour whose experience and commitment had been restrained only by cash. The Forestier land meant that there was enough volume to go it alone (or, rather, jointly) and all parties quickly saw the benefits of having their own cellars. Under the direction of Philippe Cambie who, along with Xavier Vignon, is one of the top consultants in the region, 2014 is the fourth vintage made on-site and, like it's predecessors, it has produced some rather special wines. 
The mainly Grenache'Ribes de Vallat' has a smokey Burgundian quality and is already very enjoyable. The oak-aged, Grenache-Syrah blend 'Terre du Petit Homme' is magnificent or, rather, it will be given a couple of years or so in the bottle. The 2015 whites are extremely impressive too: the 'Ribes de Vallat' is mainly Clairette with a little Viognier providing an attractive lift and a delightfully grapey Muscat Sec . Even the rose here wowed us!
WineCase size£/case IBEquivalent per bottle DPList price per bottle
2015 Ribes du Vallat Blanc6x75cl£39£10.32£12.00
2015 Moment (Muscat Sec)6x75cl£30£8.52£9.90
2015 Ribes du Vallat Rose6x75cl£30£8.52£9.90
2014 Ribes du Vallat Rouge6x75cl£36£9.72£11.00
2014 Terre du Petit Homme6x75cl£48£12.12£13.50
2015 Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise6x75cl£57£14.40£16.50
The following estates are all regulars on our list so please visit our website for more information about them. All the 2014s offered have been tasted and rated and a general finding is that the vintage offers a welcome respite from the trend towards richer wines, providing wines for all seasons. 
Chateau de Beaucastel
One of the most famous names in the valley and a regular on our list. With the exchange rate much improved over last year, these look like great bargains.
WineCase size£/case IBEquivalent per bottle DPList price per bottle
2014 Coudoulet de Beaucastel, Cotes du Rhone12x75cl£112£13.72£16.00
2014 Chateau de Beaucastel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape6x75cl£180£38.52£45.00
Raymond Usseglio et Fils
Stef's wines are, as always, at the very top of the appellation. From 2015, we are also able to offer his whites and a new negociant wine from the Ventoux, a juicy, easy-drinking red.
WineCase size£/case IBEquivalent per bottle DPList price per bottle
2015 Cotes du Rhone Blanc 'Les Claux'12x75cl£90£11.52£13.20
2015 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc12x75cl£180£20.52£23.00
2015 Chateauneuf-du-Pape 'Rousanne Pur'6x75cl£162£34.92£39.00
2015 Ventoux Rouge (Stephane Usseglio)12x75cl£66£9.12£11.00
2014 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge12x75cl£180£20.52£23.00
2014 Chateauneuf-du-Pape 'Imperiale'6x75cl£180£38.52£43.20
2013 Chateauneuf-du-Pape 'Part des Anges'6x75cl£180£38.52£43.20
Xavier Vignon
Xavier likes to keep us guessing what his next move will be: a couple of years ago, he surprised with a range of wines from Turkey, for example. This year, he is venturing into a retail partnership with an estate in Beaumes-de-Venise and, thanks to this, his own-label Beaumes-de-Venise Rouge is well worth seeking out. Of course, the rest of the range remains is of the highest quality too, just as you would expect from one of the region's top consultants.
WineCase size£/case IBEquivalent per bottle DPList price per bottle
2015 Cotes du Provence Rose6x75cl
£33
£11.00
 
2014 Ventoux Rouge12x75cl£54£7.92£9.00
2014 Beaumes-de-Venise Rouge12x75cl£93£11.82£13.50
2012 Cotes du Rhone Rouge12x75cl£60£8.52£9.90
2012 Rasteau Rouge6x75cl£57£13.92£16.00
2012 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge 'Anonyme'6x75cl£129£28.32£33.00
Chateauneuf-du-Pape 'La Reserve X XI XII'6x75cl£165£35.52£42.00

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