The closest link between the people that make wine and the people that drink it
Berrys’ acquisition of the distinctly up-market Agency House, Richards Walford, last year was welcome on many different levels. For me the most immediate pleasure was being able to tour around the Rhône Valley and Languedoc with co-founder and long-standing Rhône expert Roy Richards and to assess the merits of his Southern portfolio. And merits there were a-plenty, so much so that we are delighted to introduce five new producers to spruce up our offer, all courtesy Monsieur Richards. In addition I have added another two ‘finds’ of my own. The Rhône list goes from strength to strength; it would be hubris to suggest that it would be hard to improve ,as there is always room for improvement. Next year we’ll find a few more, in all probability.
So for 2011 in the North we have two new names; Domaine de Benetière who make one of the richest Condrieus I have tasted for a long time and Domaine Dumien Serrette are a classic Cornas producer, with a miniscule cellar just behind the village church where their alchemy takes place, slowly but surely. An affable father –son team, theirs is perhaps a more traditional style of Cornas and one which sits perfectly with our already popular Cornas growers such as Stéphane Robert at Domaine du Tunnel and Vincent Paris.
The Southern Rhône is where 95 % of the Valley’s wine is made and it is here where I am sure that there is still hidden gold. I could not resist the outstanding Châteauneuf-du-Pape, St Prefert, from Roy’s collection, but more generally I was hoping to increase the range from the other villages and even further afield. Hence the new wine from Ventoux, the excellent biodynamic Château Valcombe and one of the lesser-known Villages , Visan, where Domaine la Fourmente are the leading property. Add to this the superb Vacqueyras Domaine de la Monardière, whose wines I have been trying to buy for years, and Gigondas’ outstanding Domaine D’Ouréa, also biodynamic, and you see why this is our most complete representation yet of the great wines of the South. Next month I shall visit the helpfully-titled week long Découvertes du Vallée du Rhône and in all probability unearth a few more new names……….self-discipline will definitely be required such will be the volume of exciting new producers on display.
Read our Northern Rhône Report >
Read our Southern Rhône Report >