With the Rhone 2016 en primeur offer going strong, I can see how intimidating the discussion on Rhone wines could seem to those new to the region or infact to “fine” wine. I have been there 3-4 years ago and admittedly still on a learning curve. I thought it was a good idea to start a thread for the many.
You will have to bear with me, as I am not an expert, but will try and do my best to start up an introduction to the region, which hopefully be strengthened by others’ responses to my ramblings.
Why the Rhone? This region has grown on me in the last couple of years with its wonderful crowd pleasing wines and this is the French region where there is considerable value to be had for your money. Also there is a Rhone 2016 offer (NOT en primeur) currently out that came through the post recently.
Some unsolicited advise as to how to get to know the region:
Read about the geograpical diversity the North / South divide. For the reds it means pure Syrah reds in the North and Grenache dominated reds in the South.
Taste, taste , taste. Try and take any opportunity to taste the wines, if it is a TWS or other merchant organised thematic tasting or simply going for the enomatic machines at your local wine merchant (or those open bottles at your local Majestic). This is definitely the best way to broaden your understanding of the wines and find out what you like and what you dislike.
Understand the grapes… REDS - syrah for spice, grenache for weight and mourvedre for freshness WHITES - viognier for fragrance, marsanne for opulence and roussanne for fine herby notes and many other…
Don’t forget about the whites, they are great!
My introduction to the Rhone 6 bottle mixed case from wines that are currently available from TWS would be the following:
Grignan-les-Adhémar, Delas 2016 - Order and reorder this wine, IMHO this is the most outrageous value for money in the list that you can find. It is also consistent quality year on year. It is a delicious red grenache and syrah blend that would please the most discerning drinker. From Grignan les Adhemar a lesser known Southern Rhone appellation.
The Society’s Exhibition Vacqueyras 2015 - Take note of the Society’s Exhibition range, mostly very good wines that don’t break the bank. Another Grenache - Syrah blend from the South. This has more weight and concentrated fruit.
Lirac Rouge La Fermade, Domaine Maby 2015 - Anothern Southern red (promise the last) where Mourvedre makes an appearance. This is satisfying with more spice than the previous two.
Crozes-Hermitage Blanc, Domaine des Martinelles 2016 - A Marsanne from the North. Fresh and rich.
Laudun Blanc, Ferraton 2016 - A grenache blanc dominated white from the South from an ever reliable winegrower. The main varieties mentioned above also make an appearance. Pure fruit.
The Society’s Exhibition Hermitage Rouge 2010 - This is for you to get a glimpse of the quality that can be achieved with Syrah in the Northern Rhone. It is three times dearer than any of the other wines in this list, but most definitely delivers. I will keep coming back to this wine once a year until stocks last…
I am sure this list will draw critics, but never forget the Society’s Promise. If you do not like it report it.
Explore and share!