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Rhône AMA with buyer Marcel Orford-Williams!



Can’t answer either of these, I’m afraid: sorry, but it’s confidential!

It’s the same wine.

Kumeu wines - ? Great marketing over substance

Every vintage is different. You really can’t generalise, or ask for specific wines – I couldn’t say how 2018 will behave, for instance. 17s I imagine won’t close up, but it’s very hard to say. It’s one of the slightly frustrating things about the Rhône, I’m afraid.

Yes they are more conservative, but people are different and have different tastes. There’s also the fact that not many drink wines that are very old and lots of people make wines with that in mind now. So we err on the side of caution.


Hermitage Rouge Gréal, Domaine Sorrel 2017 has seen a significant price rise on recent vintages but has also seen stellar reviews marking it out as the best Greal produced. Would you agree with that sentiment?


I’ve only tasted very, very young 2018s, back in November, so I don’t really know yet! But some people are very excited, particularly in the north. I shall be tasting my first 2018s seriously in March when I head out to blend The Society’s Côtes-du-Rhône.


Funny you should say that! I had a St Joseph last night - Terre Blanche 2014 from Domaine Monier that was very Cornas-like - pretty wild and bloody (although very young) and, at £23, really quite good value. I look forward to trying some TWS St Jo’s in the future…


Sorrel made very, very little wine, a tiny harvest for him, a very small crop. But what he has made is absolutely amazing - it’s his best vintage to date! But it’s higher in price because the quantities are so small.


There’s not enough wine, sadly. I don’t know anyone who bottles halves other than Jaboulet sometimes, but they’re ready before they’re bottled almost, so not suitable for EP. We do halves in the List and on the web, which I think is the right place for them. Bottling halves is complicated, particularly whites.


It depends what you like: they’re totally different!

Condrieu tends to be at its best young and ‘on the fruit’ compared to the other wines.

Marsanne and roussanne are really northern grapes: marsanne isn’t allowed in Châteauneuf, for example. Some think roussanne shouldn’t be! Clairette and picpoul are key in the south: they add acidity to the wines. Grenache blanc too. But there are exceptions. It’s a personal choice and I hope you enjoy exploring the wines.

If you want a richer style then definitely buy Hermitage Blanc. The Saint-Péray region is seriously good these days though and Domaine Voge in particular is making super wine.


Marcel, why the Society doesn’t promote more Bandol reds? I haven’t seen Tempier or Pibarnon in a long time. Or Bandol wines in general, for that matter.


Tempiers’s coming up in the next FWL. The chances are there’ll be other Bandols coming up in future lists too! But you’re quite right - we should do more with Bandol. The other issue is most of Bandol is rose - which isn’t so interesting at the moment.

We don’t sell Pibarnon, but the wines are fantastic! We just don’t have room for them all.


This is a great AMA, really informative - one I’ll be coming back to!

One question I thought of regarding a producer I was introduced to on this forum - Raspail-Ay. I’m told they ‘don’t do’ EP - why is this? And might we expect their 2016 Gigondas to make its way onto the list at some point this year…?

sigh - story of my wine-collecting life!


Huh?! I love it! :wink:


We are buying Raspail-Ay - the 2016 Gigondas is ageing quietly in Stevenage already! It’s not ready to sell yet. They don’t do EP though - I don’t know why! In the Rhone a lot of people don’t like it, it sounds too much like speculation, and in a way they’re right - it can sometimes put prices up. So I don’t push them.


Any final questions for Marcel? We’ve got just under 15 mins left. :smiley:


Random question, but do you have any tips for arranging a vertical tasting (of Thalabert)? Is 16 vintages too many? Should I leave out the most recent 2/3/4 etc? Decant all or none?


I’m also tempted to paste my ep list for a ‘rate my order’ post but I suspect the answer will be “they’re all good” :rofl:


Tell you what - DM @laura and/or @martin_brown directly and I’ll have a look into this for you, and ask Jaboulet.


Are there any regions or producers you have recently stumbled upon on your travels that might become future stars (or are currently very underrated at the moment)?


Any region/s? The answer really is all the mountain regions of France like Savoie and L’Auvergne, where climate change has been particularly beneficial.


Apart from the regions you buy for, what other regions/countries do you also enjoy? Or is your cellar at home mainly Rhone (both red and white)?