Northern Rhone series 21, Martine Vandre Champ Morel Crozes Hermitage

I’m not giving up on my northern Rhone series, which began almost a year ago, and is now in its 21st installment. It’s a region I love, filled with great wines alongside poor ones – I guess, like most wine regions worldwide. When its on form, it’s brilliant.

This is a brilliantly focused Crozes Hermitage that [...]

A remarkable evening of wine, with Burgundy, the Wachau, the northern Rhone, Champagne and Sherry

Had a fabulous dinner last night at Francis and Bronwen Percival’s pad in Borough Market with a group of wine nuts, including a Burgundy-resident Californian winemaker. Some lovely bottles came out, and Francis and Bronwen’s cooking was on top form.

We started with some cheese, of course: Stawley, Kirkham’s Lancashire and Citeaux (a washed-rind cow’s milk [...]

Northern Rhone series 20, the 2010s from Pierre Gaillard

I was fortunate enough to be sent some cask samples of the 2010s from Pierre Gaillard. He makes wine in a modern style, but avoids spoofiness and over-ripeness. In a vintage like 2010, which I’m beginning to think is the best in the region since 1999, his wines are pretty irresistable. These are all available [...]

Syrah and Pinot Noir, and why I love them

Two wines tonight, shared with friends, which really worked.

The first, a northern Rhone Syrah from the Cornas appellation, but bottled as Vin de Pays. It’s the Les Collines de Laure Syrah 2010 from Jean-Luc Colombo who I met last week. I bought a case of this (direct from Hatch Mansfield because retailers haven’t yet switched [...]

With Jean-Luc Colombo at Hawksmoor

Had a good evening last night with Jean-Luc Colombo at Hawksmoor Seven Dials last night. Jean-Luc was quite tired – he was suffering from a cold, and had spent the day shooting pheasant – but put on a good show.

Jean-Luc Colombo is one of the leading figures in the northern Rhone. He and his wife [...]

Northern Rhone series 19, Ogier Belle Helene 2007

Normally, I’d shy away from a Cote Rotie aged in 100% new oak. But this cuvee from Ogier seems to be able to take it in its stride. It was first made in 1995, and is named after current proprietor Stephane Ogier’s mother. It’s certainly a modern version of Cote Rotie, but it still has [...]

Northern Rhone series 18, Equinoxe 2009 from Maxime Graillot

I’m so excited by this wine I’m blogging on it minutes after opening it and trying it for the first time. It’s the Crozes-Hermitage Equinoxe 2009 by Maxime Graillot (Alain’s son), and it’s just fabulous.

Made for early drinking, sealed with a screwcap (saranex liner, mind, good choice), this is inky dark and alive, with vivid [...]

Northern Rhone series 17, Chapoutier Petite Ruche Crozes Hermitage 2009

Now this I like. It’s just been listed by Waitrose at a very good price (£12.99), and it’s quite a serious expression of Crozes-Hermitage in a somewhat modern style. I get a lot of samples, but this is one that got drunk, rather than just tasted.

Chapoutier Petite Ruche Crozes Hermitage 2009 Northern Rhone, France
13% alcohol. [...]

Northern Rhone series 16, Domaine Clape Cornas Renaissance

Hmmm, I’m enjoying this Northern Rhone series. A chance to drink some wonderful wines. Here’s the latest: it’s a Cornas from Clape, but it isn’t at all rustic. Some people still characterize Cornas as producing rather stern, rustic wines, but I don’t think this is the case any more. It’s a serious appellation.

The Clape family [...]

Northern Rhone series 15, Dard et Ribo Karriere

Now this is something a bit different. It’s a white Crozes Hermitage from old vine Marsanne on white clay soil. As with all the Dard & Ribo wines, it is made naturally, with no additions. For more on Dard & Ribo, see Bertrand’s article on his Wine Terroirs blog.

Dard et Ribo Crozes Hermitage Blanc Karriere [...]