Could there be a better time of the year than the heart of December to savour the power and generosity of wines from the Rhône Valley? Icons, wines to share, aromatic whites…we want to let you in on all our favourites. In the festive spirit of generosity, we can also reveal the latest domains and vintages that have made an appearance at iDealwine.
Indispensable Rhône figures
Prestigious – an apt word to characterise this wine region. Its age-old vineyards and reputation for rigour has been refined over time in order to produce fine grands crus that are intense and, more often than not, made for long-term cellaring. Today, certain figures embody this excellence, diffusing their influence worldwide and forming part of iDealwine’s partner network. Let’s begin with the Guigal family estate and its famous triplets: Côte-Rôtie La Landonne, La Mouline and La Turque. We’ve also noticed your keen interest in the magnums, made for cellaring, of Château de Beaucastel’s cuvée Hommage à Jacques Perrin. The less patient among you will be pleased to know that several bottles for sale can be enjoyed much sooner! As for Maison Chapoutier, there’s probably no need to remind you of their certified organic work which ensures the production of prestigious labels such as the Hermitage bottles La Sizeranne and Chante Alouette in their 2015 and 2017 vintages. And of course, it’s impossible to talk of Rhône’s prestige without mentioning Auguste Clape’s Cornas, Henri Bonneau’s 2010 and 2011 Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Domaine Jamet’s Côte-Rôtie.
New arrivals at iDealwine
Here’s a bit of good news – some new properties have joined the iDealwine network. So you can now find a Gigondas from Domaine Raspail Ay, the Cornas Granit 30 from Vincent Paris, and wines by Matthieu Dumarcher. New vintages are also available. From René Rostaing you will find the 2018 Condrieu La Bonnette and the Côte-Rôtie Côte Brune. Also making an appearance are the Vacqueyras 2018 Les Prémices from Roucas Toumba, bottles of Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Domaine Vieux Télégraphe and Chapoutier’s two new cuvées: the Châteauneuf-du-Pape Pie VI and the Cornas Tenemos.
Take a look at the 2014, 2015 and 2016 vintages
On the subject of vintages, if there are three you should be keeping an eye on at the moment, 2014-2016 should pique your interest. If 2014 was a delicate year, it allowed the Hermitage, Cornas and Côte-Rôtie appellations to fully express their character. In this vintage you can find Michel and Stéphane Ogier’s Côtes-Rôtie Réserve as well as La Sereine Noire from Gangloff. As for 2015, it is outstanding, having produced deep, dense wines with high concentration and ripe fruit aromas. Our favourite? Domaine Louis Chèze’s Saint-Joseph Anges, one of the appellation’s rising stars. And 2017? Whilst vineyards over France were ravaged by ice and hail, the Rhône came out of this year very well, producing concentrated, characterful wines with ripe tannins. For a risk-free choice, take a look at Cornas and Côte-Rôtie wines such as those from the Vignobles Levet and Domaine Tardieu-Laurent.
Our selection of wines to share
The Rhône Valley is undoubtedly one of the most emblematic wine regions, with an inimitable style that is nonetheless copied around the world. It is also a goldmine of enjoyable wines to crack open with friends for an apéritif, around a charcuterie platter or alongside a simple but flavourful meal. A few ideas? Michel and Stéphane Ogier’s Côtes-du-Rhône Le Temps est Venu, the Gamay Les Vignes d’à Côté from Yves Cuilleron, or perhaps Domaine Christophe Curtat’s Crozes-Hermitage Fées des Champs.
What about white wine?
A paradise of Syrah and other grape varieties that manage to resist the southern heat like Mourvèdre and Grenache, the Rhône Valley also produces superb white wines. In its northern areas, you will find most notably the Condrieu wines of Domaine Georges Vernay, whose owner has greatly contributed to this appellation’s renewal. There are also ample and aromatic Saint-Joseph wines such as Christophe Curtat’s Sous l’Amandier, as well as delicate Saint-Perays like Alain Voge’s Fleur de Crussol. From the region’s southern areas, you might consider the gastronomic potential of a Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Vieux Donjon or Château de la Nerthe.
So there we have it – we hope that this eclectic, regional selection will suit your varied tastes. Even more so considering the number of lots that are available at very tempting prices…