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 [...]

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 [...]

Northern Rhone series 13, Jaboulet Thalabert 1985 and cricket

Great day today. It was Wine Trade vs Further Friars, down at Keevil in Wiltshire, on a perfect late summer’s day.

The game was great – more on that later – and ended perfectly with Jasper Morris MW, one of the Friars, bringing out a magnum of Jaboulet’s Thalabert Croze Hermitage, in the 1985. We drank [...]

Northern Rhone series 12, Saint Peray time

Saint-Péray is a tiny appellation in the south of the northern Rhône, consisting of some 62 hectares of vines planted on granite overlaid by limestone, silt and loess soils. It’s a white wine appellation, with the majority of the vines being Marsanne, with a bit of Roussanne and a tiny bit of Roussette. Many of [...]

Northern Rhone Series 11, Tardieu Laurent Cornas Coteaux

My second visit to Tardieu Laurent in this northern Rhone series (previously here). This is a really impressive interpretation of Cornas, an excellent appellation that sometimes gets a bad press (it’s often described as ‘rustic’, which is perjorative, I feel).

Tardieu Laurent Cornas ‘Coteaux’ 2008
13% alcohol. Vibrant fresh black cherry and blackberry fruit here with [...]

Northern Rhone series 10, Georges Vernay Condrieu

We’re heading to Condrieu for episode 10 in the northern Rhone series. It’s an appellation that’s a bit of an outlier in the region, but it adds some welcome diversity. Viognier is the grape here: recently fashionable, as evidenced by the growth of the appellation. Back in1965 there were just 8 ha (that’s all the [...]

Northern Rhone series 9, Delas Les Challeys St Joseph

Continuing my northern Rhone series, I’m sticking with St Joseph. It’s an appellation with a reputation for inconsistency, but there are clearly some very good terroirs here. This is a cracking wine: fresh, natural, bright and edgy. Delas are a negociant who seem to be on good form at the moment.

Delas Freres St Joseph ‘Les [...]