Wines from the northern Rhône Valley are waiting for you in this new selection: Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, Saint-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, and Hermitage. Their steep slopes are home to many big names such as Paul Jaboulet Aîné, Chapoutier, Guigal, Yves Cuilleron, Michel and Stéphane Ogier, and Jean-Michel Gerin.
Three northern Rhône legends
These three wines have travelled through the ages gracefully and are absolute legends from the northern Rhône Valley:
- Hermitage La Chapelle by Paul Jaboulet Aîné: On the steepest slope found in the appellation, which is also at the top of the hill, the knight Gaspard de Sterimberg built a small chapel in 1235 when he returned from the Crusades. He started a religious community here which went on to plant the first vines in the hamlet of La Chapelle. Legends have since mixed with other stories, but in any case, the history of this vineyard demonstrates the quality of its terroir. The very old, biodynamic Syrah vines – between 40 and 95 years old – grow healthy grapes that ripen before being harvested by hand and placed in small boxes. As the grapes arrive in the winey, they are placed in vats for four weeks where vinification take place with gentle extraction. Ageing in oak barrels follows with only 20% of the barrels being new in order to preserve the fruit and the delicate nature of the wine’s undercurrent. An absolute legend!
- Côte-Rôtie La Mouline from Guigal: La Mouline, a plot barely a hectare in size, is located on the Côte Blonde. The vines in this symbolic vineyard, which has been entirely owned by Guigal since 1966, are of a remarkable age – 75 years old to be exact – and its favourable southernly exposure matures the grapes beautifully. The vines sit on terraces built in the shape of a Roman amphitheatre. The wine produced from La Mouline spends 40 months ageing in new barrels and is the only one of the LA-LA-LA trio to contain a significant amount of Viognier (nearly 11%), which gives it a strong “Burgundian” profile according to Eve Guigal. With exceptional finesse and minerality, the wine reveals sublime aromas of blackcurrant, blackberry and violet. Even if its velvety silkiness gives the impression that it can be opened in its first few years, its ageing potential is impressive nonetheless.
- Ermitage Le Méal from Chapoutier: Round and full bodied, this Hermitage from a small plot with limited yields is a jewel of the domain’s white wines. The vines grow in certain plots on the Méal hill which has extremely old, glacial alluvial soil with pebbles that store the day’s heat. Marsanne is the variety used to produce this Hermitage. The whole grapes are pressed in the cellar, and half of the juice is placed in new demi-muids (600-litre barrels) for vinification, while the other half goes into vats. Ageing take place over 10 to 12 months, and the wine is tasted regularly with the lees being stirred several times to stop them settling on the bottom. On the nose, aromas of white fruits, honey and fine spices stand out the most, while on the palate, the wine is balanced and fruity with a pleasant, largely hidden woodiness. It also reveals brioche notes before moving into a beautiful finish. A timeless bottle which enjoys being aged for many years in the cellar.
Three exceptional Côtes-Rôties under €50
An emblem of the northern Rhône Valley, Côte-Rôtie produces wine in many different styles, for everyone’s tastes, and for all budgets. Here are three of our favourites from this appellation which are all under €50:
- Côte-Rôtie Améthyste from Vignobles Levet 2020
- Côte-Rôtie La Giroflarie from Domaine Jasmin 2020
- Côte-Rôtie La Chana from Domaine Duclaux 2020
Three Crozes-Hermitage at pleasing prices
It is always good to have wines in your cellar that come from the reasonable price bracket. So here are a few Crozes-Hermitage bottles at more affordable prices:
- Les Meysonniers 2020 (€15.90), Crozes-Hermitage from Chapoutier
- Crozes-Hermitage 2019 (€18), Guigal
- Les Launes 2021 (€18), Crozes-Hermitage from Maison Delas