At my anniversary party one guest/friend who is a serious oeniphile was asking me about Rhone wines as he has a substantial collection.
The discussion which he had the most to say on the subject as I have knowledge of only part of the area was on CNDP a wine I have drunk very little of over the years.
His surmise followed a discussion he had with a well known merchants buyer at a tasting who proffered up that he believed that CNDP has not lived up to the hype generally and it was because everybody has heard of it that merchants and wineries were getting away with a lot of sub standard wines on the back of good marketing of a well known product.
The truth is you could say that about most well known regions everywhere, but I think what was being implied was that CNDP is being sold more on the area name than most other regions and the supermarkets are discounting many of them even better known producers.
It could be that so many of the bigger producers in the Rhone have their fingers in many pies all over the region, Guigal is an example of someone whose products are based on quality but he grows every year and is now a conglomerate, can you keep up the standard when you get that big on so many fronts and are supplying supermarkets with ever more wine.
Of course many of the big conglomerates world wide do manage to keep up a high standard within what they are producing, but someone like Guigal, and I use him as an example not as the only one are really or were high end producers of a large portfolio of wines now even bigger and using an awful lot of bought in grapes.
Guigal has recently purchased an old CNDP estate so is now serious about having a slice of that cake as well as all the others.
Back to the conversation, because it jogged my mind as to having seen this year CNDP from the likes of Perrin and Ogier and others on supermarket shelves, you have to be of a certain size to supply supermarkets and how much expansion was necessary to fulfil those quotas or do they buy in more grapes.
As I said at the start I am not qualified enough to give an answer only some outside input, but it is very noticeable how the largely overlooked satelite areas Gigondas, Vacqueras etc are on the rise not just on sales because they are cheaper but also the recognition of the value they represent as quality wines.
Even areas like the Ventoux are producing some very good wines now, TWS have a few and I can vouch for them, CNDP is going to stay out in front , the name is to well recognised but are they resting on their laurels, some seem to think so.