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The Rhône Rangers


Snap @Alchemist, it is also mine :wink:


We are having it at our Hogmanay ‘Gathering’.


A couple of Rhone related questions for whoever wants to jump in. Hoping for a few responses…

Question 1 - If you are looking to venture into the expensive world of Hermitage, which of the below would you go for?

Question 2 - If you had the option of choosing either

  • Perrin’s 2016 Les Sinard Chateauneuf-Du-Pape from Sainsbury’s recently at the mix 6 price of £14.63
  • 2016 Coudoulet de Beaucastel Cotes-du-Rhone which seems to land on the table around £18
    which one do you go for?

I know @Taffy-on-Tour will say buy them all and as much as you can afford! :joy:


Maybe less so than in, say, Burgundy but as with most wines the Rhone depends a lot on the producer

Of the 4 wines above I have tasted one (Exhibition 14) but I own three of them (Exhibition, Sinards, Coudoulet) all waiting to be enjoyed a fair while from now

Q1: Based on the producer and the fact I thoroughly enjoyed it, I would certainly say try the Exhibition Hermitage. That said, if it is for now then allow for a long decant or consider the older wine

Q2: Producer wise, they are of course made by the same so it comes down to established vines just outside the CNDP boundary or young vines within it. If it were me and I could only buy one I’d probably go for the Coudoulet as it has such good reviews and the Sinards is more of an unknown quantity. I reckon both will be pretty good though


I’d go for the first Hermitage, because 12 years’ bottle age, and the Coudoulet, mainly because it’s raved about here but I’ve never had it.


I am not going to retype the exact same thing. Just wanted to add that Coudoulet is relatively Mourvedre heavy, while Sinards is almost all Grenache, another reason for the former… give it some time though. I had 2012 Coudoulet a few months back and it is drinking beautifully now.


Q1: Desmeure Red Hermitage generally is known for a somewhat heavy handed use of oak (though I haven’t tasted it) and JLL only gives the 2006 Emilie 3*, so I’d go for the '14.

Q2: I’ve bought both these '16 wines but tasted neither. Recent earlier vintages of Coudoulet
have disappointed me slightly (particularly the '14 though perhaps too young)so, if only on value grounds, I think I’d go on balance for the Les Sinards if you can get it for £14.75 (JLL 4.5*)…

Not much consensus, is there?!


Christmas conundrums!!:open_mouth:
I am sure that we have all been there.
And unless one has a wallet full to bursting, to be able to stock ones cellar with wines in well into their drinking window, we all have “difficult” decisions to make.
So no sitting on the larchlap for me!

Q1. No question, the Cuvee Emilie 2006 every time. There was concern that Remizieres were a little heavy handed with the oak in 2006. J L-L called it a “cellar” monster in 2008 and recommended a retasting in 2012. We are now in 2018, so that oak has had plenty of time to integrate referenced by the Vinous opinion in 2009 which was very positive with 92/100 and no mention of an overoaking influence.
Whilst the Exhibition Hermitage 2014 is very good, I tasted it only a few days ago, and wrote a short note, your decision but I will not touch my case of 12 for 5 years minimum.

Q2. I would go for the Coudoulet every time!!:wink: This vineyard is on a serious roll, as can be evidenced from all quarters in recent times. J L-L, 4.5*‘s for the 2016 and just entering it’s drinking window, so a good decant in order. Sinnards also 4.5’'s but needing a little more time. Coudoulet 2016 Jeb 92/100 and drinking. Sinards 90/100 and 2019. My preference for Coudoulet is that it is a mature vineyard with a cepage of 30% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 20% Syrah & 20% Cinsault from a great CH9dP vintage that is separated from Beaucastel vineyard by the N7 road, so essentially the same vineyard and made in the same way. Sinards is very different in that it is made from younger vines 70% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre & 15% Syrah from a rented vineyard in N CH9dP. So one will not get the complexity of a wine with more Mourvedre and some Cinsault, but still a very good wine from a great year.

And I have bought many cases of Coudoulet, going back to when it was called “Cru de Coudoulet,” some consumers were not aware that it was Beaucastel wine, hence the renaming.
Some vintages, I would buy 3 cases of the Coudoulet rather than one of its more illustrious big brother, because there was not that much difference between them except for the price. And for anyone just getting into Rhone wines and you would like to buy CH9dP but just cannot afford the price of the Grand Vin, remember that the strip of tarmac that is the N7 road is all that separates the 2 vineyards?!?

Just my opinion amongst many and one never really knows how a wine will perform until one pulls the cork!?!
So you pays your money and …!!:grinning:


I take @RogoftheRhone point about the Desmeure and JLL, but Parker gives it 92 plus it will be drinking. I’ve been impressed with the 1999 and 2001. Wouldn’t think the 2014 Chave wouldn’t be ready yet.


And regarding buying them in quantity then no question the WS Exhibition Hermitage 2014 for the potential 5+ years hence and the Coudoulet 2016 because I have never, ever had a bad bottle and some vintages have been spectacular!
A Perrin wine that is adjacent to the Beaucastel vineyard and made by the same hand and in the same way from a great vintage, that really is a no-brainer. It’s fill yer boots time. :wink::grinning:


An interesting point and one could perhaps speculate that in this case, the CNDP might actually be a little less “CNDP like” than the wine from outside the boundaries?!


Yes, an interesting point, I agree. There does seem to be a trend towards Mourvedre and away from grenache in that part of the world, not least because hotter summers and a high incidence of coulure in spring in '13, '17 and '18 haven’t done the grenache any favours.

By the same token, clairette and bourboulenc are gaining in popularity for whites apparently because they provide acidity and backbone.


There’s at least one other vineyard adjacent to CNDP which producers a cote du Rhone, that’s Clos du Caillou. There are at least two cuvees of CDR which carry the name. The story I was told is that in the 1930’s the then owner of a Clos (enclosed vineyard) basically told the Chateauneuf authority to stick their new appellation. All the vineyards surrounding the clos were listed a CNDP.


And I buy this one, managed 24 bottles of the 2015 from different sources.
This was a wine to crawl over broken glass to get your hands on, so good is it.
This is where research pays off, the same as when I found out that Coudoulet was across the road from Beaucastel when it was not common knowledge in the late 1980’s.
I used to buy 3 different iterations from a Perrin vineyard at M&S, they were brilliant and cheap. The vineyard was called Prebois and now forms part of Coudoulet!!
It took me much time to accumulate my present level of knowledge, but the likes of Marcel and J L-L are the real deal in expertise, me just an enthusiastic amateur always willing to learn.:grinning:


Speaking of which, in my quest to run down some of the older stock I have before I quit this mortal coil another I have dug out for the festive season is this

This is not my bottle but mine is the '89, I do have another if there is a disaster, but I am sure all you Rhonophiles know all about it, I have no idea with this one what to expect.


I have found Chapoutier wines “too big” for my palate and tend not to purchase them now.
I have a long memory, and there was some talk many years ago of the mixing of vintages in order to obtain better scores. That soured my opinion of Chapoutier, and right or wrong still is in the back of my mind.
I bought some very highly scored bottles of Chapoutier wines from the 2009 vintage.
Varonniers and Le Clos and tasted them, I found them too concentrated and even over extracted for my delicate (:open_mouth::open_mouth::wink:) palate, deemed them utterly undrinkable and down my sink they went.
And here we have a discussion point regarding wine as to where does a winemaker rein in his product or does she/he go for broke. I have around 8 of these quite expensive bottles that are of no earthly use to me, as they exceed by a considerable distance what I am capable of tasting and more to the point enjoying.
So if your 1989 bottles are in good nick and have calmed down as they surely must have, then you should be in for a treat. :grinning:
Good luck!!:wink:


That’s interesting - I’ve noted your distaste for Chapoutier wines in the past. Personally I have generally been a big fan although do feel the company has got a bit commercial at the lower end - I suppose everybody’s taste is different which is a good thing

If you ever want to shift any of those unwanted wines, do PM me :slight_smile:


Does anyone have any experience of Ferraton? ‘Managed’ by Chapoutier, but I don’t know how hands-on/off the management is…


It is interesting, when I was in the southern Rhone and tasting, my overall impression was that so many of the special cuvees were over extracted, whoever made them, I said as much in my road trip piece and also the parallel with Australian Shiraz that for some time got slammed for the same thing , yet rarely does the Rhone get the same opprobium, and also as before if the wine is balanced I still go for a big wine it has its place as does anything else.
One things for sure I am going to find out soon.
And staying on the Rhone theme I am going to open a bottle of Fondreche’s basic wine tonight that I returned with from the Ventoux, this was the only red they did, that was available, that wasn’t over extracted.


Yes. Everything I’ve had so far has been excellent. Especially like the St Josephs. Had a Cornas on Sunday and it was delicious. My Chapoutier experience (limited) has not been favourable so far so if I’d read the fine print I might have passed but I do like the Ferraton wines I’ve had.