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The Rhône Rangers

This is a very fair challenge. We are going round to see them shortly and I’ll take a look in his wine rack. It is something he says fairly often. If his wine rack shows he’s happy with the higher ABV I will a) tell him to stop saying it and b) feel differently about what I could buy him.

Thanks for the challenge.


True, with sherry being the obvious example.


Re point about drinking dates above… The difficulty can be having one drink window. What I mean is that for some wines it might actually be drinking well young if you like fruit, then become not very enjoyable, then blossom later as a mature wine. Single linear windows can’t reflect that.

This is most observed in relation to red Burgundy, and also apparently in relation to Beaucastel Rousanne VV, people say, among other wines.

But I think it applies more broadly. St Joseph seems best young or after 10 years to me, though of course depends on which wine and its style.

Also questions of taste. I don’t generally like young CNDP. Sometimes in France, where wine lists these days often only have young wines, I see people order CNDP as a treat, and good for them. But I think a top end CdR or Vinsobres is likely to more enjoyable at that age. I find young CNDP fierce, alcoholic, and not terribly food friendly. I’d only want a small glass for curiosity. CNDP is for me a wine to drink with considerable age (if you pick the right one, of course).

I think if you read between the lines in what they say, drink dates are something the buyers find most difficult - and understandably! It’s extremely difficult to predict. The best people to ask about drink dates are probably the wine makers. And I’d imagine the buyers do that in forming their assessments - be interesting to ask some time.


Very true. I had 3 bottles of 2016 Raspail-Ay & decided to drink one on my birthday in January - it was delicious. While obviously young and fruit-forward, there was plenty of complexity and hints of what is to come., Nonethless, the remaining two will be left well alone for a good few years now.


With respect to drink dates, look at restaurant wine lists.
A wine will only be there, if it can be enjoyed when ordered.
So take a look at the wine list at L’Oustalet, the highly regarded restaurant of Famille Perrin of Beaucastel fame?
Many of us might think that they are permitting vinous infanticide in their restaurant, BUT who better to take a lead from?? :wink: :dragon:



Now there’s a wine list to keep you busy for a while…


With an eye to the future, I did buy a case of these:

So really handy and relatively inexpensive to track development of your bottles. £12.95 each.
Not sure if halves of the 2016, were released?
The one point to note for members is, that whilst 2014, 2015 & 2016 were abundant vintages for Raspail-Ay, Dominique Ay commented that " there isn’t a great amount of crop (from 2017) due to coulure." This is a failure of the vine to flower (no flowers, no grapes! :open_mouth:) due to a carbohydrate deficiency.
And for the 2018 vintage, mildew was prevalent resulting in yields of only 15-16 hl/ha; so bottles may be in short supply. So, possibly due to smaller vintages from 2017 and 2018, price rises may be our fate. :sob: :dragon:


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@winechief turns out I need to have a word with the FiL having looked at the wines he’s currently got in stock… Thanks for the challenge


FiL ?? :dragon:

Father in Law I suspect


Thanks, :dragon:

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Inspired by the Gigondas talk and the aforementioned wine list I have just opened. a 2016 Pallieres Les Racines. Absolutely delightful and drinking well already. Creamy, fruit driven, touch of liquorice.

Bought a 6 pack so delighted I have four left.

Thanks for bringing this conversation about.


Thanks for sharing Taffy - what a wine list.:heart_eyes:

Following our discussion yesterday it’s interesting to see l’Argnee 2016 on there.

I personally don’t think it’s as simple as looking at restaurant wine lists. Here is why I think that (though I may be mistaken).

Here’s what the Perrin family says about Beaucastel Blanc VV:

“Considered as one of the greatest white wines in France, only 6000 bottles of this wine are produced. It’s made with 100% very old Roussanne vines and harvested slightly over ripe. This exceptional wine must be drunk within 3 years or after 15 years. To be enjoyed with gastronomic cuisine.”

Whichever vintage you click on it seems to say this, so I think it’s general advice vs one vintage being an outlier. But don’t take my word for it, see: Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Roussanne

So if the Perrin family are right, you should drink the 2018 or younger. Or the 2006 or older. Or let’s give or take a year in case they don’t mean from the vintage year etc.

Still, here are the vintages on the Oustalet restaurant’s wine list, if I read it right:


Plainly, and whichever way you look at it, there’s a discrepancy between what the Perrin family say on the website for Beaucastel, and what’s offered in the Oustalet restaurant.

Of course there’s the risk of a category error here. Are we talking about the best times to drink a wine, or times when wines are enjoyable (if not at their best).

My view is that wines on restaurant lists are often there way outside their optimal drinking windows, and this makes sense to me, in a way, because:

  • storing wine ties up capital and many restaurants aren’t in the same hands for decades and need cash flow

  • restaurants sell what people want to buy (at the less wine geek end people may want to drink Beaucastel CNDP at Oustalet but not shell out hundreds of euros for an old one; at the more wine geek end someone may have stored a case at home and want to check in on it without taking the case from storage, or with friends create a mini-vertical - you do get groups of very wealthy wine geeks at such restaurants)

  • aged wines in restaurants are very expensive (as Oustalet’s excellent list shows)

  • in such a place, the list perhaps shows what’s available but there ought to be a sommelier and their advice is likely to be to drink some vintages not others - in that list you’re not seeing the sommelier’s advice

I’d be wary of opening wines because said vintage is available on a restaurant list.

Incidentally, I haven’t and can’t justify the time going through Oustalet’s list, but the sense I got was that if you look at the non-Perrin wines, the youngest wine is generally older vs its expected drink window. And I wonder if that’s because they pride themselves in offering a particularly wide range of Perrin wines - as you might expect.

BTW, it’s also the case that restaurants get cleared out of old wines. The best list in that region is probably at Beaugraviere in very down-at-heel Mondragon. Visits by wine enthusiasts have cleared out much of the old Ryas. What is offered is what’s left. Though I should say, it’s still a remarkable wine list. If you can visit, do. It’s expected to close soon (and you can Google about it). I think Nick Lander or his wife Jancis wrote about it fairly recently.

But if you look at Auberge Montfleurie, an excellent restaurant not that far away, they have a great wine list. I had a 2013 Dom des Accoles Mioncene which I’d never come across and was wonderful. But even such a brilliant restaurant doesn’t have N Rhones from, say, 1999 as they almost certainly weren’t in business then and wouldn’t be able to tie up lots of capital like that. Also they probably have a different clientele to Oustalet.

Again, if you look at places selling Gonon in that part of the world (at cellar door plus modest markup) it’s young. But of course… It all gets drunk! It’s not that they think it’s at its best then! Just none survives. Often the available whites are older. That’s supply and demand, not a particular comment on windows, I think.

That’s my experience and humble opinion. Well chosen restaurant wine lists can, especially at the lower end, point one to gems (incidentally the house white at Beaugraviere three years ago was from Dom Ste Anne). But I’d be very wary of using them as a proxy for drinking window advice. For that, I’d ask the wine maker or, if in the restaurant, the sommelier. But each to their own.


I saw it, and who am I to disagree with the winemaking family.
That said, and given that these low production, not inexpensive bottles are not easy to find, there is NO WAY that I am reaching for my Screwpull in the foreseeable!!

When I look at the JL-L notes.
Awarded 6* twice, 5* twice, and since 2004 4* or 4.5*'s - NO LESS!!
And reading his notes, “An earth shaking quality”, “Reminds me of the Grenache of Rayas,” “Grand Vin” and it goes on and on.
And then the scores and notes from Vinous, Parker & Jeb, drive the point home.
On Cellartracker, far more ProReviews than subscriber notes.
I put this down to the scarecity of L’Argnee.
Only 100 cases produced annually.
And those who know quite how good this cuvee is, are not going to tell everybody.
We are very fortunate at the Society to have access to a tiny production Gigondas.
And there are no notes, of perfectly mature L’Argnee - anywhere.
That’s my opinion. I may be entirely wrong and misguided.
But I have put my money into buying cases of L’Argnee AND Tourelles, and I might end up drinking my expensive errors.
Time will tell, and truly…I cannot wait to see how it turns out. :wink: :dragon:


I absolutely agree. I would be very careful about placing any reliance on restaurant wine lists as guidance on drinking windows. You often see very young wines from hot concentrated vintages from the likes of Burgundy, Bordeaux and Rhone on the wine lists of top restaurants but that does not inspire me to commit vinfanticide with my own collection.


Alas I think the only option is to try and buy wines in quantities of 12 and have several wines in your cellar so you can “loose” the odd bottle😉.

Several years back in I think 2018 I “discovered” one last bottle of 2007 and 2010 of
Cairanne Ventabren, Domaines des Escaravailles. TWS had both on 5 year drink windows from 3 years in (2010-2015, 2013-2018) so these were passed or on edge of at the time. These were both delicious and encouraged me to space out my 2014’s, trouble is 7 and 10 were better vintages. Well with all the buying encouragement you get on this community I have the chance to “loose” a few more bottles.


What an incredible list!

So excited about the Perrin (Beaucastel) Event this evening
18:30 - 19:30
Register below for a ticket, and perhaps ask a question.

Cheers for the heads up. Interestingly just been looking through the technical wine notes on Clos du Caillou and saw the reserve vine age for Mourvèdre at 16 years in 2017 and 17 in 2018 jumped to 40 years in 2019 yet their vineyard purchase was 2020 so curious what happen.

Reading all the technical notes certainly helps break down the different wines they have.

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