Cave de Tain Première Note Syrah 2016

Cave de Tain is a Rhône Valley cooperative that is well regarded. This syrah is from the IGP appellation of Collines Rhodaniennes indication géographique protegée, north of Valence. It has a restrained aroma of plums and anise. The palate has good balance and expression of sour red fruits. Ready to drink now, this is a […]

Clefs des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015

This is a delicious Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a region whose wines I taste infrequently.  From the 2015 vintage, the Clefs des Papes has aromas of savoury plums, stones and smoke.  The palate has great length and is moreish.  This is a great value CNP that is ready to drink now.  Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $50. […]

M. Chapoutier Les Incontournables Crozes-Hermitage and Luberon 2016

Here are two sound releases from M. Chapoutier, both from the 2016 vintage.  Luberon sits between the southern Rhône valley and Provence, whilst Crozes-Hermitage is in the northern Rhône and quite different in style.  The 2016 vintage appears sound in the northern Rhône and a great vintage in the southern Rhône.  I find Jancis Robinson’s […]

Xavier Gérard Saint-Joseph Le Blanchard 2016

This is a deeply coloured syrah wine from Xavier Gérard in Saint-Joseph in the northern Rhône valley.  One sniff however and it is immediately a vin de terroir with its very distinctive aroma of rosemary and spice.  The palate is dry, full bodied and made in a ripe and approachable style with mid weight tannins.  Good […]

M. Chapoutier Les Incontournables Crozes-Hermitage 2014

This is a pretty basic Crozes-Hermitage from Chapoutier. The 2014 vintage has aromatics of syrah spices and earth. The palate is medium bodied. The finish is short and lacks complexity of expression. Current drinking only. Rating: Acceptable. Abv: 13%. Price: $27.

Yves Cuilleron Saint-Joseph Les Pierres Sèches 2014

This is a very tasty Saint Joseph from Yves Cuilleron.  Tasted out of a half bottle, it has red fruited aromas of redcurrant, strawberries, plus and no overt cedar influences.  The palate is medium bodied, sweet fruited, balanced and youthful.  (Region: Saint Joseph, Rhone Valley, France, Rating: Good, Would I buy it based on this […]

Domaine Roche-Audran Côtes du Rhône 2014

I was impressed by this Côtes du Rhône from Domaine Roche-Audran.  It’s a blend of 70% grenache, 15% syrah and 15% carignan, the vineyard is biodynamic and the vines are between 35 and 100 years old.  In the glass, it’s a step up from the usual CDR.  It has complex aromatics of white pepper, peppercorn, […]

Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2011

I view Guigal’s Côtes du Rhône as the entry level benchmark of the southern Rhone valley style of GSM (grenache, syrah and mourvedre) blends.  It is universally available in my experience, well made and is good value.  The blend is in fact 50% syrah, 45% grenache and 5% mourvedre.  An “SGM” blend somehow rolls of […]

Chapoutier Luberon 2014

There are only so many appellations I can remember and I’m afraid Luberon isn’t one of them.  The possibility that it may, on examination, prove to be a planet in the Alderaan system remained a stubborn thought.  Closer investigation however reveals Luberon to be a fashionable and very sunny wine region sitting between the Rhône […]