There’s no place like Rhone…

Well, winter has certainly arrived and as ever, just in time so have our ‘winter warmers’ from the Rhone Valley. We are also sporting a new producer, along with new vintages from our firm favourites.

For those of you who receive our regular e-shots you will already be in the know about Domaine Le Renard – but for those of you that don’t, we are thrilled with this new winery. Nestled in the heart of the southern rhone valley, in the small commune of  Travillan, it’s north-east of Orange and just a few kilometres south of Cairanne. The estate is owned and run by Marie-Christine Andrieu and her partner Pascal Valadier and between their two estates, they have amalgamated 40 hectares of vines; the majority being Grenache noir with an average age of over 40 years old, followed by Syrah & Carignan and small plantings of Mourvedre and others.

The estate is all farmed organically, although not certified. The wines are a real delight from their entry level Cotes du Rhone (£9.95 and currently our wine of the month for November), the small appellation of Plan de Dieu cotes du rhone-villages, (£11.95) to the most recent Cru appellation ‘Cairanne’ (£13.95). All slightly different blends from older blocks and wines having spent more time in oak barrels, but all from the excellent 2015 vintage.

We are also thrilled by the return of Richard Maby’s wines from Domaine Maby in Tavel, on the other side of the river. Here, he is well renown for producing excellent wines, not just under the Tavel Rosé appellation but also Lirac (the neighbouring village). We have both his red 2015 vintage (£14.95) and white 2016 vintage (£12.95).

The red is a classic blend of Grenache, Syrah & Mourvedre, or more commonly known in Australia as GSM and just happens to be my Father’s favourite cepage of grapes! The wine is dark intense and broody with lovely dark fruits and spices on the nose and palate. It’s of similar style to the more infamous Chateauneuf du Pape but far more approachable now and will certainly be gracing our table for ‘beef on boxing day’.

There are two other new wines from the Rhone valley, one of which is from Domaine La Decelle and it’s their superb Cotes du Rhone-villages 2015 (£12.95). This estate is based in the most northern part of the ‘southern rhone’ in Valreas, where it’s hillier and therefore cooler and the blend also has a higher percentage of Syrah – but has the ability to maintain wonderful purity and freshness. We also have in stock the excellent Chante Cigale Chateauneuf du Pape (CNP). However, at a recent tasting came across and whilst I didn’t rave about their white, their organic red CNP 2014 is an absolute cracker! (£29.00).