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Rhone 2016 En Primeur

We believe 2016 to be an extremely good vintage in the northern Rhône and, some are saying that it is possibly, the greatest vintage in the 30-40 years in the southern Rhône. Personally having tasted c150 wines this month, that it's very, very good but 2010 is in my opinion just, and only just the better vintage. It will be interesting to track these wines, which are undeniably incredibly vibrant and perfumed. One thing is for sure, it's an outstanding and hugely attractive vintage.

The northern Rhône experienced a cloudy, wet spring and flowering was retarded by 2-3 weeks. By the end of July, the weather turned hot and very dry, which continued until some much-needed rains fell during the first week of September. A lovely Indian summer then lasted well into October and producers were able to pick, at leisure, in ideal conditions.

According to Yves Cuilleron, “2016 is a great vintage, with good balancing acidity, alcohol and aromas. It is not fat and will age well. 2016 is like 2010. There was late and gentle maturation and great weather at the end. We could pick at the ideal moment.” Our tasting notes are littered with words like aromatic, purity, freshness, juicy and elegance.

The southern Rhône experienced a warm, dry spring and flowering, generally, went very well. Fine weather continued into the summer, with sufficient rainfall to enable ripening to continue unhindered. August enjoyed very hot days and very cool nights – and there lies the secret to a vintage which many describe as better than 1990 or 2010! The balance between gorgeous, generous, ripe seductive fruit and pristine “coolness”, freshness and purity is, in our experience, unprecedented.

In Daniel Brunier’s opinion “The vintage is characterised by a superb balance of richness and freshness and between high maturity and attractive acidity, which is fairly rare – very rare, even – in the southern Rhône Valley.” These are sublimely attractive wines from the very top of the hierarchy down to basic Côtes du Rhône.

Given the expected paucity of 2017's, this is a vintage well worth exploring and buying a little more of.

All wines will be shipped either Spring 2018 or Autumn 2018 (there may be the odd exception).

Bosquet des Papes

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Caves Yves Cuilleron

Yves Cuilleron is one of the Northern Rhône's finest winemaker – a wonderful combination of elegance, balance and power.

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Clos des Papes

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Clos du Caillou

Team Caillou consists of owner Sylvie Vacheron, winemaker Bruno Gaspard and larger than life consultant Philippe Cambie, with their game plan involving consistency and greatness in equal measure. Their Châteauneuf du Papes show plenty of concentration and weight that can lend themselves to well over a decade’s ageing. The Bouquet des Garrigues bottling is the one for those looking for more immediate pleasure, but still showing the spiced black fruit house style.

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Daniel & Denis Alary

Though Cairanne does not have the cachet of some of the more well-known southern appellations it is arguable the best of the Côtes du Rhône Villages. The Alary family have been farming their estate for many a generation and now under Denis’ stewardship the wines have quietly obtained best-in-area status. Predominately Grenache-led (apart from the Syrah dominant Font d’Estevenas) these supple and unassuming wines are brilliant value for money.

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Domaine de la Charbonniere

.The Maret family at Domaine de la Charbonnière is now into their fourth generation, with sisters Véronique and Caroline now the driving force along with enology consultant, the ubiquitous Philippe Cambie. The estate now consists of 30 hectares in total, with 19.5 of them in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and six in Vacqueyras. Like many vignerons in the Southern Rhône, they are using whole clusters more and more- 35-50% in the top 3 Chateauneuf-du-Pape's, resulting in more complexity and freshness into the wines.
I tried all of these recently, and the range has never been better- the Vacqueyras is a great value, but I would seriously suggest trading up the stunning Vacqueyras Cuvée Speciale. Savoury and intense, almost opulent with ripe black fruits and spice,a touch of chocolate and cherry, smokey and savoury from 100% Grenache. The regular Chateauneuf is the best I have tasted from this estate, really juicy and spicy; full of red and black fruits, long, powerful, savoury finish with ripe tannins. My favourite was the Mourre de Perdrix, perfumed with lovely black fruits, long almost creamy with herbs and spice on the finish.

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Domaine de Marcoux

Certified as organic by Ecocert as early as 1991, they follow rigorous biodynamic principles. Their vines spread over twenty plots throughout the famous appellation and they can trace the sites history back to the late 14th century which is why Marcoux is already established in France as a peer to the very greatest names in the village.

The key characteristic of the wines is a crystalline purity, rare this far south and an almost ethereal charm. The Marcoux 16s are, it is fair to say, more than worthy ambassadors for this superlative vintage, as fine an exemplar for all the greatest characteristics of the Grenache grape that one is likely to encounter; ripe, generous and full-bodied, yet without anything approaching an over-worked ‘confit’ quality and with a rich seam of balancing acidity and an astonishing pedigree in the tannic structure. The other grapes, albeit acting as lesser shareholders, are equally impressive. An exceptional trio from an outstanding producer.

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Domaine Fayolle Fils et Fille

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Domaine Grand Veneur

Alain Jaume is less involved now, but his sons Christophe and Sebastien are taking the domaine to higher heights and regularly garnering top scores and accolades. However, he has still kept his pricing feet on the ground under this attention onslaught. Yet this doesn’t mean that the wines are any easier to get your hands on, with his stable of thoroughbred Châteauneufs still likely to have the masses fighting over limited allocations. There is a balance and purity that makes these extremely exciting wines. All thoroughly recommeneded, though the Origines may be the star buy. Please note ordering across the board will help us spread the allocation of the Vieilles Vignes, preference will be given to those buying across the range.

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Domaine la Soumade

A magnificent range from the superstar of Rasteau. André Romero is a great character and arguably he and his team are making the best wines of the region. This was a really strong showing, the Grenache being so perfumed and fresh. The Rasteau Cuvée Prestige is probably the value pick, from old vines, it's a full rich style, ripe black fruits and spice to the fore. The Confiance and Fleur du Confiance are as you would expect, seriously impressive, age-worthy wines from a great vintage.

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Winelist last updated: 17/07/2018 22:05:27

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We offer selected wines from our list for sale online, so that we can be sure of availability for quick delivery. Wines without a 'buy now' link can be purchased by contacting us.

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