Skip to main content

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

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Decanter’s top Rhône wines under £20

The moratorium is over. Decanter’s December issue has been published and I can announce our successes in the recent tasting undertaken by their Rhône expert, Matt Walls who has recently returned from a year and a half in the region. If you look on Decanter.com today (November 2020), you will see a link to ‘Top Côtes du Rhône wines under £20’. What the article doesn’t tell you is that the brief of its writer was to taste and rate wines from across the valley in that price range and that the top scoring white wine was actually a Ventoux. No prizes for guessing that it was  Château Juvenal’s 2019 ‘Ribes de Vallat’ Blanc , awarded 91 points, which, at £12.60 is also the best value of any of the white wines on the list: 'From 30- to 40-year-old vines grown on granite south-facing slopes; half of the wine is matured for six months in demi-muid leaving no overt oakiness to the aromatics. Full-bodied, rich and opulent style, very ripe and fulsome. Some mango and pineapple juice. Unmist

Postcard from Provence

With lockdown more or less over, we made a dash to the other side of the Channel and are currently languishing in the Vaucluse  d épartement , home to the wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape  et al . Mont Ventoux, known to cyclists the world over, is staring at me as I write, only providing a shield from the sun in the early hours of the morning before the heat hits. Exercise here, recently so highly prized (the French were allowed no further than 1 km from home to exercise during their lockdown), is necessarily limited to a gentle morning stroll around the village to collect bread from the  boulang ère.  In time it may be possible to acclimatise but, looking at the locals, I wouldn’t bet on it. France went into lockdown before us, of course, and came out earlier as well so, if we in the UK are fortunate, what I am seeing is a glimpse into the future. We are welcome here – I know plenty of people with concerns about this but it is the Parisians they fear most here it seems. The UK, until

Watching and drinking Perseides concurrently.

Being British, I am obliged to comment on the Provencal weather this summer. Mostly hot with the occasional Mistral wind and, a few weeks ago, a threatened storm which yielded some highly unusual clouds, identified by a friend’s meteorologically talented daughter (moments before o ne of my own clever clogs) as being of the mammatus variety, these being, in effect, upside down clouds which, said expert explained occur when   the cold, moist poc kets of air sink rather than rise. Pic included of clouds over neighbouring property (would you believe me if I said it was sunny over us? No?).   What I ca n ’t give you a picture of bec ause (a) it hasn’t properly occurred this year yet (a brief flirtatio n last night but that’s all so far) and (b) my technological wizardry has yet to master how to tak e a still image of a (literally) flying circus, is tonight’s extravaganza of shooting stars, known as   Per séide s . (Some of you will, by now, have figured where this is going.) The useful peop