Northern Rhone series 14, Cote Rotie, Cornas and Hermitage at Twickenham

Worry ye not. This wine blog is not turning into a sports blog, although you’d be forgiven for thinking so. It has been a sport-filled summer.

On Saturday I was invited to the Twickenham double-header by Inter Rhone, one of the sponsors. The double-header is a smart idea. Two premiership rugby games are played back to back, which means that you can attract enough fans to make the use of the fabulous Twickenham stadium feasible. In all, 55 000 turned up, which is a good crowd, and fills most of the lower two tiers of the stadium.

Older son Dan came with me, because he’s a huge rugby fan – and his day was made complete when he got a chance to be photographed with Steve Borthwick, former England captain and current Saracens player.

Before the game we sat down to a spot of lunch, and our table had some nice wines, including three good-uns from the Northern Rhone.

Chapoutier’s Hermitage Blanc Chante Allouette 2008 – the follow-on vintage from the 2007 which featured on this blog earlier. It’s a fresh, bright vintage, and this wine shows fantastic balance with pear and peach richness as well as some fresh spicy lift. Hugely enjoyable, this varietal Marsanne.

Pierre Gaillard Cote-Rotie 2008 is for me a classic example of this appellation. It’s a fine, elegant, expressive Syrah with a lovely peppery twist to the supple fruit. Not a heavy wine, but an extremely pretty one.

Domaine Courbis Cornas Champelrose 2007 is a very polished expression of Cornas. Not my absolute favourite, but attractively ripe and pure with just a bit of meaty, spicy savouriness – enough to disclose its origins. This was very popular with others at the table.

A fine day out.

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