Our latest fixed-price sale is a selection from the Rhône Valley, a vast region stretching from Vienne to Avignon that is home to a rich array of terroirs. The team has picked out a series of wines worth tasting, at prices ranging from €7 to €1,499…Read on for the lowdown on our top picks.
The grandes maisons
As the name suggests, the grandes maisons are large estates that hold the role of both producer and négociant, and they’ve all played a big part in the renown that the Rhône now enjoys. These maisons offer a large range of cuvées from appellations across the region’s northern and southern vineyards, including its most prestigious.
We can start with Guigal, whose Château d’Ampuis is an emblem of its long-established success. Here, we have the 2016 vintage in both classic and magnum formats, very fine wines to be left in the cellar for the foreseeable future. We’re excited to have both la Mouline and la Landonne in our selection, from two of the Côte-Rôtie’s most prestigious parcels. The Ex Voto cuvée from Hermitage is also available in various vintages. We’re always impressed by the consistent quality of Guigal’s wines, and this is especially the case for some of their more accessible cuvées, such as the Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Condrieu, Saint-Joseph, and Côtes-du-Rhône.
Further south, we find the village of Tain l’Hermitage, the chosen dwelling of Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné, a domain in the talented hands of Caroline Frey since 2006. The landmark La Chapelle cuvée features here in classic, magnum, and double-magnum formats, the latter being exceedingly rare (hence why you’ll have to be quick!). You’ll find a whole range of other cuvées from the estate, too, including La Maison Bleue, La Croix des Vignes, and the Côtes-du-Rhône, all excellent ways to discover the legendary property’s superb work.
Michel Chapoutier is the third noteworthy maison that features in this selection, an estate that has built a veritable empire in the Rhône. Single-parcel Hermitages made biodynamically include Chante Alouette, Monnier de la Sizeranne, Le Méal and Les Greffieux. In the 2020 vintage, the Les Meysonniers cuvée is a really enjoyable Crozes-Hermitage without breaking the bank. And if you want to discover Cornas, the Temenos cuvée is available in its 2019 vintage.
Let’s start with Vincent Paris and the 2020 Cornas Granit 30 cuvée. 30 is a reference to the incline of the parcels where the vines are grown. Particularly elegant, this wine has a streamlined profile and the kind of finesse found only in the finest Rhône Syrahs. Domaine Combier’s 2017 Crozes-Hermitage is a cuvée that found great favour with iDealwine’s tasting committee for its fruity character and floral notes. At Domaine Aléofane, Natacha Chave crafts brilliant, concentrated wines from the appellations of Saint-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, and Cornas; we’ve got the 2019 and 2020 vintages in stock.
Jean-Michel Gerin’s Côte-Rôtie comes in the forms of several cuvées: Champin le Seigneur, La Viallière, and Côte-Bodin. We also recommend the estate’s Saint-Joseph and IGP wines in both red and white; these will be your ideal allies for the spring and summer evenings on the way. Similarly, Julien Pilon’s gorgeous cuvées have a certain freshness to them, and this balanced style can be recognised in the Cornas, Condrieu, and Crozes-Hermitage cuvées, too!
Château Saint-Cosme is a landmark Gigondas estate, and its 2017 vintage was an instant favourite for us; it’s round and flavourful with a complex finish of gentle spice and white pepper. In the same appellation, we find Domaine Raspail-Ay, whose 2019 vintage has a delicate profile. It’s an expression of the village that’s not to be missed.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is arguably the Rhône’s most famous appellation, and quite a few of our recent top picks hail from this star-studded spot. André Brunel’s characterful wines carry a finesse of which very few can boast, especially the Centenaire cuvée which is made from Grenache and Mourvèdre vines planted over one hundred years ago. Another must-try from Châteauneuf is Château de Beaucastel, available here in numerous vintages and a variety of formats; these wines are crafted with irreproachable care.
The wines of Domaine Charvin aren’t among the appellation’s best known, but they certainly deserve your attention. Their Grenache grapes develop dried flower aromas and have a remarkable depth to them. Next on our to-try list is Domaine de la Janasse, a vast estate of 90 hectares cared for by the Sabon family. From IGP cuvées to some of the finest Châteauneuf around, the maison’s style is one that leans on concentration without excessive extraction, and the result is a full-bodied mouth-feel. This same family also owns Clos Saint-Antonin, located right at the edge of the Plan de Dieu appellation; silky on the palate, these wines have a particularly just balance in them. A domain to discover!