01438 741177         thewinesociety.com

Rhone Advice


I took delivery of a few cases of wines that I had in storage at TWS.
They were all wines from the Rhone - mainly CNDPs - Beaucastel, Vieux Telegraph, Clos Des Papes.

The problem is that since I bought them a decade or so ago, my palate has changed.
Today I’m more likely to enjoy a pinot noir.

So: How can I best enjoy these wines? I’ve noticed for example that the Clos Des Papes is a whopping 15%.

Thank you.


Make the most of the winter months to invite friends round to share with some hearty red meat stews or game. By the time they get round to inviting you back, it could be spring lamb and Pinot time! Just don’t forget to drop the hint about the Pinot noir.


That’s a really interesting ‘problem’. I think DrEm suggests a good way of sharing it and enjoying (and after a decade these wines should be absolutely singing now - we had a 2005 Clos Des Papes over Christmas which was lovely).

Maybe one night just share a bottle over a nice hearty meal and see what you think - you may be very surprised and it could reignite your interest for Rhône Valley wines. Also I tend to think well made strong wines you can’t really notice the alcohol is so strong.

Worst case scenario, say you really did not like them anymore, there’s always auctions. That’s where we buy a lot of our nice aged wine from. In particular near us in Abergavenny there’s a fantastic auction every other month at Straker and Chadwicks.

Hope that helps


I noticed that with the Clos Des Papes (2006) I decanted half the bottle and then vacu-ed it for the next day. I found the wine on day two had mellowed and what I perceived to be the alcohol “taste” had mellowed. In fact I enjoyed it more on day two than day one.


That happens a lot with well-made wines that still have a long life ahead of them, so not surprising.

May be worth getting into the habit of decanting for longer - but that requires lots of forward planning


Yes… an excruciating 4 hours, hardly strategic :slight_smile:


That means knowing what you want to drink for dinner by lunchtime … and how much


How long is a long life?


Agree with most of the advice already given - give them a good amount of air, or even leave them for another 5yrs or so and you shouldn’t really notice the high alcohol. The CNDPs you mention should all have another 5-10yrs in them. We enjoyed a 2001 Vieux Telegraphe over the Christmas break and it was an absolute delight.

On the decanting times, double decanting (the process of decanting, leaving for an hour or so, and then pouring back into the bottle) can increase the contact that the wine has with the air and may help if you don’t have the time for a longer decant.


Who knows! But although we like to think that a decade of ageing brings these wines “into the zone”, that zone can last for a while. I see no reason that well made, well structured wines shouldn’t last 20+ (even 30) years as long as you like the more tertiary, developed flavours.

There are wines (or should I say, bottles) that have lasted for much longer than that (50 years).

I know that wines from the early 80s that I have tasted, such as some Riojas, are still lovely now


Do you wash the bottle out between decants to remove sediment?
I have 1 bottle left of 1990 Beaucastel that I shall drink on its 30th.


Yup, rinse the bottle with water until the water runs clear (cover top with thumb and give it a good shake to remove any remaining sediment), then rinse the bottle with a tiny bit of the wine, which you can of course pour into a glass and drink, but it will be slightly watered down, before pouring the wine back into the bottle.


Really not sure of the problem, these are all lovely wines. What vintages are they?


Russ - not a problem obvs. :smile:but it’s interesting how my palate has changed in 10 years


Sorry my first comment was a bit flippant. Seriously my own palate has changed over the years. I started out with big Aussy Shiraz but now hardly drink them. I do find that over a period my tastes can change back and although I go off these big wines, now it’s cold outside I quite like the odd one.