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The wines of J. Vidal-Fleury, Ampuis, Rhône

19 Rue de la Roche, 69420 Ampuis, France
Tel: 04 74 56 10 18 Fax: 04 74 56 19 19
UK agent McKinley Vintners

Vidal-Fleury is a well known Rhône negociant, founded back in 1787. One of its claims to fame is that it was visited by Thomas Jefferson. Guigal is now a majority shareholder but the company is separately controlled. The quality is solid enough here, even if some of the wines lack excitement. I was disappointed by the Côte Rôtie.

Côtes du Rhône Viognier 2000
Quite a pretty rounded floral nose with some alcohol evident. The palate is soft and rich with good varietal character. If I’m going to picky, it’s a tiny bit simple, though. Very good

Côtes du Ventoux 1998
Attractive nose with some earthy, spicy complexity to the berry fruit: it’s almost meaty. Medium bodied palate is quite interesting with good concentration and some savouriness. Very good+

Côtes du Rhône Rouge 1999
70% Grenache, 30% Syrah. Muted nose with some shy blackcurrant fruit. Nice, chunky, ripe palate has a tasty, savoury edge. Good concentration. Very good

Gigondas 1998
70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre. There’s a pronounced pepperspice edge to the earthy nose. Quite a rich, chunky palate showing a good concentration of spicy fruit. Nicely textured, although a tiny bit rustic. Very good+

Vacqueyras 1999
70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre. Lovely savoury, earthy nose which is quite restrained. Good concentration of rich, chunky fruit on the palate with a spicy finish. Not showy, but a sound, earthy wine. Very good+

Côte Rôtie Brune et Blonde 1996
This is 95% Syrah, 5% Viognier, matured for 2 years in barrels, a third of which are new. The nose shows ripe, rounded caramel-tinged berry fruit. There’s savoury, slightly meaty fruit on the palate. Good concentration, fine grained tannins and a dry finish. A little disappointing for the appellation. Very good+

Muscat de Beaumes de Venise 2000
Very pretty sweet flowery nose with lifted floral elements. Grapey and rich. Rich-textured concentrated palate with nice balance and good acidity. Very lush and forward. Very good+

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wines tasted January 2002