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Roam the Rhone, Tunbridge Wells, 10th December 2019

I was wondering if anyone’s going to the Roam the Rhone TWS tutored tasting in Tunbridge Wells on the 10th? I shall be there and I’m really rather looking forward to it!


A great evening; big turnout though no other community members it seems. Big thanks to Emma and Anna for organising; both informative and fun.

I won’t go into the whites as most of you know how appalling my palate is for white wine. However an honourable mention to the

Magnum of Lirac Blanc La Fermade, Domaine Maby 2017, £24
75 points (that’s a seriously high score from me for a white!)
This was the only white that really impressed me: fresh, light, not too dry, not too sweet, both floral and savoury.

Saint-Joseph, Mairlant, Domaine Villard 2013, £23
85 points
This is a wine I already love and it didn’t disappoint (though I was surprised that it didn’t stand up better to the Cairanne at a much lower price point, see below). Black fruit, touch of forest floor/earthy. Pepper and just a little tannin. Just a lovely drinkable wine. Just a little tannic still, probably good for a year or two yet.

Côte-Rotie, Domaine Clusel-Roch 2009, £40
95 points
Richer fruit, more savoury, almost meaty, smoky. Less pepper and a touch more oak. Still tannic and good for a few years yet.

King of the evening for me (though see the Gigondas below for potential). (mind you also king of the price tag but hey ho!!!)

Côte’s-du-Rhône, Domaine Jaume 2017, £8.50
80 points
Pepper, dark fruit forward – dark berries, carries its 14% abv quite lightly. Light smooth with soft tannins. Great VFM but pipped at the post by the next wine for value.

Cairanne Peyre Blanche, Famille Perrin 2017 £10.95
85 points
Still young with a bit more tannin, but lots of fruit a little pepper. A little more robust than the St Joseph and the Cairanne.
Best VFM of the evening for me.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe 2014 £38.00
90 points
Surprisingly pale brick colour for so young. Rather subdued nose but palate all there. Less peppery, earthy, moderate tannins still gripping. Some years to go yet. Good but for me a little surprisingly disappointing. The Gigondas (next wine) was, for me, a better wine and much better value.

The Society’s Exhibition Gigondas 2013 £17.00
95 points
Still young and unbalanced with very pronounced tannins. But for me promises to be better than the CNdP in a few years. Less fruit more tannin and more robust. Spicy should be gorgeous in a few years (consensus was to ignore the TWS dates on this!). Although I’d say this didn’t rate this highly drinking now, I think it will do in a few years; for me it has lots more promise than the Telegraph.


Sounds like it was a fun evening, Mike! :+1::smile: I also absolutely love the Lirac blanc - excellent value for money for a wine so pleasurable!
Must try the Exhibition Gigondas and Cairanne…!

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Be warned though! You know my taste in robust reds. There were some (many?) who found the Gigondas a little too… austere. There are certainly easier drinking Gigondas out there such as the wines from the Cave de Gigondas. I’ve had several lovely ones from them and TWS has one, though I’ve not tried it myself:

the Cairanne on the other hand was just plain uncomplicated lovely! :smiley:


I’ll bear that in mind… ! :wink:

I have enjoyed Barruol’s Cotes
du Rhone - so would be interesting to compare this to his Gigondas. There’s an interesting interview with him in the most recent Decanter. Sounds like he was a major factor in raising Gigondas’s profile as an AOC.

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Well I must say I have loved his Saint Cosme Cote Rotie and have invested in half a dozen '16 EP.

Biggest nudge (not really surprise) of the evening for me was the Cairanne. I’ve commented a couple of times recently that I should be paying Cairanne a little more attention.

I can’t get a handle on it as an AOC. The Dom Escaravailles wine I have from 2015 is 15%, understandably a bit hot on the finish and very very full bodied, albeit black fruit driven. A couple of other wines have been black fruited but a bit more restrained. I can’t decide if it’s an amped up Rasteau or something more distinctive.

Hmm interesting comment; the Cairanne we had was 14.5% so still high abv but not too noticeable. Agree that 15% is high but I’m expecting a lot more of that as '18 wines start coming on line! Regarding Rasteau that’s another area I’ve little experience of and have been meaning to explore a little further so I can’t really comment on the distinction between them. they are neighbours after all so I suppose similarities are to be expected. I notice that Marcel describes Rasteau as ‘all power and might’ and Cairanne as more ‘delicate’ though I’m not sure I’d class 15% as delicate!

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Great notes Mike. Have a soft spot for Cairanne since staying there on a cycling holiday in 2004. Visited l’Oratoire de Saint Martin who are lovely hosts and do some excellent wines. Also another traditional domaine just up the road from them whose name escapes me currently.

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I think the comparison between Rasteau and Cairanne are fair, Rasteau after all used to be a fortified wine only,a bit like banyul .
I think the clue is the producer and the position of their vines.
There’s great hillside spots but a vast plain of lesser sites. When they gave the Cru,s to both I understand some of these lesser sites were excluded, and are now Cote Du Rhone or Plan D’ieu (?) .
As the vineyard on the hill run into each other,I think, I’m not sure why I always get a more full square wine from Rasteau, but producer is the key probably.

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I suspect that’s primarily the nature of Escaravailles showing. Also, while the grapes may be from Cairanne, isn’t Escara based in Rasteau - perhaps the best known Rasteau producer who determine perceptions of its wines?


Helpful thanks. Yes it does seem to be made in a very specific style. It’s fun but not one I will get EP again.

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