Word reaches me of the creation of a new Rhône Village, published on 1 Nov 2012, that of GADAGNE. This is an area close to the east of AVIGNON, and comprises the communes of Caumont-sur-Durance (the most south-easterly, bringing into play the Durance Valley that fringes the south of the Lubéron range), Châteauneuf-de-Gadagne, Morières-les-Avignon (hard by Avignon, some of it industrial), Saint-Saturnin-lès-Avignon and Vedène (the most north-easterly), all of them in the Vaucluse département.
Only the red wine from GADAGNE qualifies for the GADAGNE CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES status – the same as for MASSIF D’UCHAUX, PLAN DE DIEU, PUYMÉRAS and SIGNARGUES. White and rosé will be straight CÔTES DU RHÔNE.
There was some controversy over the naming of the new Villages, with growers seeking to use the full CHÂTEAUNEUF-DE-GADAGNE name. This was opposed by the growers of CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE on the reasonable grounds that the new name would lead to confusion, or worse. So GADAGNE it is.
The Gadagne plateau is full of galet stones, the old Mediterranean ocean influence being marked here. One of the leading domaines over the years has been DOMAINE DEFORGE, set up by the several times Champion Jockey of France, JEAN DEFORGE and now run by his vivacious widow MIREILLE, an Avignonaise.
Other estates to feature in this new Village include CHÂTEAU DE FONTSÉGUGNE and DOMAINE DE LA CHAPELLE at CHÂTEAUNEUF-DE-GADAGANE, DOMAINE DU BOIS DE SAINT JEAN at JONQUERETTES and CHÂTEAU NOËL SAINT LAURENT at MORIÈRES.
The wines are full-bodied, and doubtless will be vinified with even greater care following their promotion, along with lower yields per hectare. There are now 18 Villages allowed to use their own name – 10 in the VAUCLUSE – CAIRANNE, GADAGNE, MASSIF D’UCHAUX, PLAN DE DIEU, PUYMÉRAS, ROAIX, SABLET, SÉGURET, VALRÉAS and VISAN.
There are four in the DRÔME – ROCHEGUDE, ROUSSET-LES-VIGNES, SAINT-MAURICE and SAINT-PANTALÉON-LES-VIGNES. Across the River in the GARD, there are also four: CHUSCLAN, LAUDUN, SAINT-GERVAIS and SIGNARGUES. CAIRANNE is the Village due next to ascend to full CRU status.
ENTERED RECENTLY: Notes on 2011 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE REDS are being entered. Use the Search engine and start at 3 stars or higher. Visits to CLOS DES PAPES ands LES CAILLOUX there have been reported, as has a visit to DOMAINE SANTA DUC at GIGONDAS.
ENTERED RECENTLY: the review of 2011 CÔTE-RÔTIE has been posted under the 2011 NORTHERN RHÔNE heading, which is under LEADING WINES BY VINTAGE tab. It is a good, mild vintage there. The review of some 2011 CÔTES-DU-RHÔNE REDS has been posted, under the 2011 SOUTHERN RHÔNE heading, which is under LEADING WINES BY VINTAGE tab. It is a very good, drinkable vintage, with pockets of good terroir, STGT, in the wines. 2010s from THIERRY ALLEMAND and DOMAINE CLAPE at CORNAS have been posted, with THIERRY about to bottle this exemplary vintage. In December there are tastings of 2011 GIGONDAS and 2011 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE REDS and WHITES.
LATE NOVEMBER 2012: sad news of the death on 23 November, 2012, of LOUIS JABOULET, aged 100. MONSIEUR LOUIS was the sparkling patriarch of PAUL JABOULET AÎNÉ in their glory years of the 1960s, when the most legendary Rhône wine ever, the 1961 HERMITAGE LA CHAPELLE was produced under his stewardship. He was a man brimming with mental alacrity, always active, always ready to make a point, and a keen dissector of the Fourth Estate - journalists were there to be jousted with, teased, combatted if necessary.
Louis was the glue that sealed the two branches of Jaboulet together, and the sadness of his later years must have been the pulling in different directions of members of the extended family, that resulted in the sale of the firm to JEAN-JACQUES FREY in late 2005. Under Louis, the Northern Rhône had a gifted, inspired ambassador of the truth in these Syrah wines, wines that I would find on my travels in South America or French West Africa in the 1970s. These were the early flag bearers of the Rhône's real worth, which is now, at last, appreciated by the wide world. FAREWELL, LOUIS, et MERCI.
In the light of this news, it might interest subscribers to visit the Tab BIG TASTINGS to read a full description of the background story behind 1961 HERMITAGE LA CHAPELLE, which I drank with CHAPELLES of 1944, 1972, 1978, 1983 and 2 bottles of the 1990 in England last year.
ENTERED RECENTLY: more NORTHERN RHÔNE domaine visits, in the shape of CHRISTOPHE PICHON at CONDRIEU, helped now by his first two sons; while at CÔTE-RÔTIE, the excellent DOMAINE GARON, given impetus by the sons, and the also promising, improving DOMAINE FRANÇOIS & XAVIER GÉRARD, with son Xavier raising the game, able to work full-time, as opposed to his father, who retires soon from his bank job.
From SAINT-JOSEPH a visit to DOMAINE DU MONTEILLET to see the Wild Child STÉPHANE MONTEZ who has built a socking large new tasting room and storage cellar with a large glass-fronted view of the River. He also makes good CONDRIEU and CÔTE-RÔTIE, wines that take time to come together.
From the SOUTHERN RHÔNE, some of the better 2011 WHITE CÔTES-DU-RHÔNES after a tasting of 77 of them. See 2011 SOUTHERN RHÔNE, THE LEADING WINES.
Visits about to occur include HERMITAGE growers such as CHAVE, DELAS, BERNARD FAURIE, MARC SORREL, GRAILLOT at CROZES-HERMITAGE and CLAPE at CORNAS. I will also be rounding off a tasting of 500 CÔTES-DU-RHÔNE and VILLAGES REDS from 2010 and 2011.
ENTERED RECENTLY: a series of October 2012 visits to NORTHERN RHÔNE domaines, tasting and talking over vintages ranging from 2009 to 2012. At CÔTE-RÔTIE, it is absolutely fascinating to work through the many different plots that comprise the superb DOMAINE JAMET wine. The 2010 has been reviewed one year on, with the different parts and their approximate assemblage before bottling inspected, as has been the 2011. Also at CÔTE-RÔTIE, the long established DOMAINE JASMIN, the STGT quality VIGNOBLES LEVET and the more recent, accomplished DOMAINE STÉPHANE PICHAThave been visited. All those who make Vin de Pays or IGP Syrah or Viognier wines have also shown well, for those seeking hand made wines at lower prices.
From CONDRIEU, visits to two of the top names, ANDRÉ PERRET and FRANÇOIS MERLIN feature; both men also make SAINT-JOSEPH and FRANÇOIS a CÔTE-RÔTIE. Their 2012 CONDRIEUS were also tasted, at an age of two to three weeks old to obtain an idea of their shape and possible destination.
OTHER NEWS: the Telegraph TV pole hounds have been called off the Hill of HERMITAGE for now, we hear from some esteemed Ministry somewhere in Paris. So that disfigurement will not occur just yet. No doubt further horse trading will happen as people have no wish to lose face en général.
CORNAS, our Cheval Mascot, had a sore foot in early October which prevented him from running at Enghien, near Paris. No saucy stuff for him - his main opponent would have been a French mare of some talent. We wish CORNAS well - ALLEZ, CORNAS!!
ENTERED RECENTLY: the 2011 SOUTHERN RHÔNE range of FAMILLE PERRIN, including their RED and WHITE 2011 CHÂTEAU DE BEAUCASTEL. Also, an interesting, organic CÔTES DU RHÔNE estate DOMAINE DES CEDRES. Visits to domaines mean that the next loading of 2011 wines will be in the later part of October.
LATE SEPTEMBER 2012: ENTERED RECENTLY: a bundle of different domaines have been added. The high power wines of DOMAINE DELUBAC at CAIRANNE; the sound, progressive DOMAINE GRANGE DE LOUISET at VENTOUX; from CLAIRETTE DE DIE, the CAVE POULET ET FILS has been visited. In the NORTHERN RHÔNE at SAINT-JOSEPH, a mid-2000s start-up, the good quality DOMAINE NOVIS. Other notes worth highlighting include at VACQUEYRAS, the CHÂTEAU DES TOURS of EMANNUEL REYNAUD and his good 2008s. From RASTEAU, the DOMAINE LA SOUMADE 2009 and 2010 reds, from CHUSCLAN, a full 2009, 2010 and 2011 of the high quality CHÂTEAU DE SIGNAC.
From the NORTHERN RHÔNE, tastings of the recent vintages from FAYOLLE FILS & FILLE at CROZES-HERMITAGE (inc 2011 reds), VINCENT PARIS at CORNAS (inc 2011 reds), DOMAINE FAURY at SAINT-JOSEPH - note the exceptional Gloriette, and from YVES CUILLERON at CONDRIEU his 2010s and his white 2011s Vins de France - look at his Viognier.
Under EAT AND STAY, two venues from TAIN L'HERMITAGE, one established and sure fire quality home cooking - the GRAPPE D'OR/TABLE DE NATH, the latter the cheaper option. And a wine bar/diner/wine shop on the main road called CAVE DU TAUROBOLE, well worth a visit.
ENTERED RECENTLY: on the grounds of price-quality, I draw your attention to the 2011 WHITE CÔTES DU RHÔNE from E.GUIGAL. A good, and very good value CÔTES DU RHÔNE DOMAINE DU GRÉZAS in the low Ardèche has also been added, along with another right bank CÔTES DU RHÔNE estate, the DOMAINE LA LÔYANE, which is based at Rochefort-du-Gard. The DUBOIS family also make very respectable RED and WHITE LIRAC.
Delving back into history, notes from the 1990s at CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE have been added, as have LIRAC 2009 RED tasting notes. The white and two red wines of 2010 DOMAINE DE MARCOUX at CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE have also been reviewed, now the reds have been bottled. CÔTES DU RHÔNE notes from the SOUTHERN RHÔNE have been entered, featuring some ROSÉS of that vintage. Once logged in, click on 2011 SOUTHERN RHÔNE and click on the subtag THE LEADING WINES.
ENTERED RECENTLY: a thorough inspection of RASTEAU now that it is a full cru appellation wine, the 2009s and 2010s tasted across the board. Apart from the usual leading names wines being entered - RABASSE CHARAVIN, GOURT DE MAUTENS, COTEAUX DES TRAVERS, BEAURENARD etc - domaines newly listed include GIRASOLS, whose wines are traditionally deep, along with the accomplished, more modeern wines of DIDIER CHARAVIN, and full-hearted estates such as WILFRIED and NYMPHES. A promising name to to note is the DOMAINE CHAMFORT, based at SABLET. The young Portuguese VASCO PERDIGAO acquired this in late 2010, and I have been impressed by his first wines. Vai pra frente, rapaz! With its clay soils, RASTEAUperformed well in the high heat of late summer 2009, and the vintage stands up well alongside 2010.
The first 2011 CÔTES DU RHÔNE notes from the SOUTHERN RHÔNE have been entered, featuring the WHITES of that vintage. Once logged in, click on 2011 SOUTHERN RHÔNE and click on the subtag THE LEADING WINES.
IN THE NORTHERN RHÔNE, a whizz through the GUIGAL vintages of MOULINE, TURQUE and LANDONNE from 1998 until 2010, bar the 2008s, which were being prepared for bottling when I last visited.
ENTERED RECENTLY: a full review of 2010 GIGONDAS reds features under the 2010 SOUTHERN RHÔNE tab; click on the sub tab THE LEADING WINES. 2010 holds many more 4 to 6 star wines than either 2009 or 2007; nearly 110 wines are 3 stars or higher. Under VISAN, see a domaine that I regard as great value, DOMAINE DE COSTE CHAUDE. The wines at this Swiss-owned domaine have gained in elegance recently. A good quality estate under CÔTES DU RHÔNE is PASCAL CHALON, a fourth generation grower with vineyards mainly at Tulette, plus Visan.
LATE-JULY 2012: NEWS OF THE HERMITAGE LOCUSTS
MICHEL CHAPOUTIER reports that on 25 July, 2012, in his role as President of the Union of Vignerons of Hermitage, he and the Mayor of Tain l`Hermitage met representatives of the engineering company ITAS TIM. The main antenna is 18 metres or 54 feet high, and there is a second antenna as well. Michel reported: "in order to move forward on this project, various concrete actions were proposed during the meeting. The proposals made were either 1) moving the two antennas or 2) hiding the antennas with a technique proposed by ITAS TIM. From now on, the various parties have committed to pass information on to each other in the coming weeks in order to find a positive solution." La Lutte Continue, Camarades - The Struggle Continues, so keep signing the petition.
There is a plague of locusts set to descend on the hill of Hermitage in the form of an 18 metre TV mast, the contract for which was signed earlier this year. Wine lovers are naturally dismayed by such a proposal, which has engendered comparisons with the bridge construction over the Mosel in the heart of the vineyards there - work suspended, but due to resume, by the way.
However, the Hermitage story has a complicated finesse about it. Money takes the main role, with self-interest and prestige attached on its coat tails. The debate among the vignerons to apply for Special Site protection for the Hill of Hermitage occurred just a few years ago, but it was decided not to proceed since part of the requirement was for the Hill to be blamelessly just that - a Hill covered in vineyards. Not a hill covered in vineyards and stone wall publicity panels.
These stone wall announcements, which are proliferating in crude manner at Côte-Rôtie, are themselves of some historic interest. One of the mayoral families of the early to mid-nineteenth century, the Bergiers, owned what was termed as a "quite enormous" holding of eight hectares in the 1860s. M.Bergier was not a shy customer, having built a full replica Pompeii Villa on the slopes in full view of the town. An artist and a lawyer, he then proceeded to put up an enormous signboard marked HERMITAGE CUVÉE BERGIER in red and white on Le Méal, which is the climat topped by cypress trees east of the mighty Les Bessards and L`Hermite.
Hence started the Hollywood style advertising on the hill. Fast forward to summer 2012, and because the Hill has no Special Site Status protecting it - in the late 2000s the growers had preferred to keep their publicity walls, so knocking on the head the Special Site application -the 18 metre TV mast can be built.
It may well be that the village of Crozes-Hermitage benefits from this, since it is said to be lined up for land in their commune, and perhaps viewers in the hilly Ardèche across the river will be able to get their favourite soaps and cycle races in full HD quality. It also appears that the main houses such as Chapoutier and Jaboulet had absolutely no knowledge of the project. Sounds a bit like the boys from Crozes getting one over their illustrious neighbours, you could say.
With much kerfuffle surrounding this intended move, I, like many others, received an e-mail from Michel Chapoutier a couple of days ago in which he did indeed refer to the Publicity Walls. He points out that after the railways construction in the 19th century, only walls that held the terraces together were painted for publicity purposes. Since then, he recognises, walls that are purely for show purposes have been painted. This concerns CHAPOUTIER and PAUL JABOULET AÎNÉ.
Michel`s proposal to Caroline Frey of Jaboulet is that their publicity-only walls be taken down, if they are to have any chance of succeeding in their defence of the hill and its protected classification. This would allow them to request the moving or reducing of the Antenna, it seems, not necessarily its wholesale banishment. La Chapelle, the chapel, by the way, stands on the climat of L`Hermite. Right behind the Chapelle is the commune of Crozes-Hermitage.
But while talking money, let`s talk . . more money. I also find it scandalous that the bottom of the Bessards site, the granite-based hill on the west end of Hermitage, is now up for building. Rights to build exist on the Jardin des Vignerons at the bottom of the hill, where a jardin potager has existed for decades. Tomatoes, leeks, cardoons feature here. This can now have apartments built on it . . or even shiny new cellars (no names mentioned).
The moral of this Sorry Tale is that if you allow the Crown Jewels to slip through your fingers, today`s world of avarice will swiftly swallow them, hawk out the best bits, spit out the rest, and then move on to the Next Game in Town.
FLOREAT HERMITAGE, but for how long??
The French - yes, the French, not the international lobby - have set up a petition website, so please go this link and sign up. The more non-French the signees, the better, and the greater impact. https://www.change.org/fr/p%C3%A9titions/ministre-de-la-culture-et-de-la-communication-que-l-on-ne-d%C3%A9figure-pas-la-colline-de-l-hermitage
ENTERED RECENTLY: two recently started Domaines - CHÂTEAU JULIETTE at LAUDUN and DOMAINE MELODY at CROZES-HERMITAGE. Both involve young, switched-on and motivated young couples, with promise shown at both estates. A Review of the leading 2010 WHITE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPES has been posted - go to 2010 SOUTHERN RHÔNE and click on the sub tab THE LEADING WINES.
From what I term the more peripheral Appellations, take a look at the following wines recently tasted: COSTIÈRES DE NIMES: CHÂTEAU MOURGUES DU GRES TERRE D`ARGENCE RED, CH D`OR ET DE GUEULES LA BOLIDA, always a star turn, CH DE LA TUILERIE EOLE ROUGE, the fruity wines of CHÂTEAU BEAUBOIS and the VIEILLES VIGNES RED of CHÂTEAU DE NAGES. From VENTOUX: the ARCHANGE RED of DOMAINE DES ANGES, the wines of British-owned CHÂTEAU UNANG, and CHÂTEAU LA CROIX DES PINS. All are sound, and leaders in their appellations.
ENTERED RECENTLY: visits to some Northern domaines, notably at CÔTE-RÔTIE, DOMAINE BARGE, including a tasting of their 2011s, DOMAINE BERNARD, also including a look at their 2011s, and JEAN-MICHEL STÉPHAN, who lost 55% of his crop and could only make one wine, but what a saintly wine, in 2010; also at CONDRIEU, DOMAINE ANDRÉ PERRET with his accomplished Condrieu and Saint-Josephs, at CORNAS, MATTHIEU BARRET of DOMAINE DU COULET, and at SAINT-JOSEPH, the reliable DOMAINE VALLET.
the very sad news reaches me of the death of FRANÇOISE REYNAUD, the colourful, talented, cultured, beautifully waspish when required sister of the late JACQUES REYNAUD of CHÂTEAU RAYAS. I have known Françoise, called Tante Françoise by Emmanuel Reynaud, for nearly 40 years. She gave good advice to her brother on the tasting and blending of the wines, having listened well to their father, the genius but also highly disciplined LOUIS REYNAUD. I have memories of her harvesting in two hats once upon a time, darting around the vineyards keeping pickers and cutters on their toes, totally involved in the excitement of the moment. My condolences go to Emmanuel and his family.
ENTERED RECENTLY: a series of visits to interesting SOUTHERN RHÔNE domaines, established and new. At BEAUMES-DE-VENISE, the STGT DOMAINE DES BERNARDINS, which has been Anglo-French since the late 1970s, another longstanding STGT DOMAINE LA FERME SAINT-MARTIN of GUY & THOMAS JULLIEN, the accomplished DOMAINE DE FENOUILLET run by brothers PATRICK and VINCENT SOARD. All have made good 2010 reds, while both 2010 and 2011 are good for the MUSCAT DE BEAUMES-DE-VENISE.
Two recent start-ups: at VACQUEYRAS, DOMAINE LA LIGIÈRE, where there are STGT wines in the Gigondas and Vacqueyras 2010s, made by PHILIPPE BERNARD, ex-Co-operateur. Another estate of great promise is DOMAINE DE LA GRAVEIRETTE of JULIEN MUS. His Burgundian schooling is leading him to fine-tuned wines from his VIN DE PAYS, CÔTES DU RHÔNE (listed under that) and CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE.
ENTERED RECENTLY: as noted on the Home Page a full tasting of all the red and white wines produced by DOMAINE JULIEN MASQUIN at CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE. Julien`s family have an important broom and brush factory, but the family have owned vineyards for at least three generations. Julien has moved them into bottling and home production. A collection of 2010 VACQUEYRAS REDS has been entered- use the SEARCH engine for these, as well as full reviews of 2010 SAINT-JOSEPH RED and 2010 SAINT-JOSEPH WHITE - click 2010 NORTHERN RHÔNE tab, then the subtab THE LEADING WINES.
2012 DECANTER WORLD WINE AWARD RHÔNE GOLD MEDALS: there were 9 in total. The Appellation and the Vintage are known, but not the producer ID when tasting. This will be revealed in a little while. Golds were given by the Panel of experts to: 2011 COSTIERES-DE-NIMES WHITE, 2011 LIRAC WHITE, 2010 CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES WHITE, 2010 GRIGNAN-LES-ADHEMAR RED, 2010 COSTIERES-DE-NIMES RED, 2010 PLAN DE DIEU VILLAGES RED, 2010 CAIRANNE VILLAGES RED, 2010 GIGONDAS RED, 2010 CROZES-HERMITAGE RED.
ENTERED RECENTLY: a full review of 2010 CROZES-HERMITAGE REDS and WHITES, both very successful. Click on the 2010 NORTHERN RHÔNE tab, then the subtab THE LEADING WINES.
A good collection of 2010 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE WHITES has been entered, while around 25 2009 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE WHITES have been posted, with a definite upgrade after their bottling. The 2009s are rich and well-installed wines that are food-friendly; the 2010s are fresher. Look for the LVT 2009 wh or LVT 2010 wh tag for The Last Vintage of white tasted under the Châteauneuf-du-Pape domaines. The best 2010 VILLAGES and CÔTES DU RHÔNE REDS from Châteauneuf-du-Pape producers have also been put up, following a February 2012 tasting.
ENTERED RECENTLY: see RECENT TASTINGS, and once logged in, click on 2011 ORGANIC RHÔNES for a tasting held in late March 2012 in Paris involving the longtime organic estates DARD & RIBO at CROZES-HERMITAGE, DOMAINE GRAMENON in the CÔTES DU RHÔNE and the more recent DOMAINE ROMANEAUX-DESTEZET at SAINT-JOSEPH. Also, more entries of 2010 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE REDS and 2010 GIGONDAS wines.
ENTERED RECENTLY, a round-up of over 165 2010 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE REDS that rate 3 stars or higher. See 2010 SOUTHERN RHÔNE in the left-hand column - click the subtag The Leading Wines. The main tranche is starting to be bottled now, and these are usually high quality, complex, delightful wines; the early bottled wines - within 11 months of the harvest - can be agreeable, but simple. I prefer 2010 to 2009 across the board - it has much better balance and freedom.
This recently inaugurated event runs on 31 March and 1 April, 2012 this year. It was set up by the "Young Vignerons" of Châteauneuf in 2010, and runs from 10 am to 7 pm each day in the Salle Dufays village hall, cost of entry €7. There will be 77 domaines taking part, and another twist is that all the village restaurants will allow corkage for wines brought to them during the weekend. The best names are La Mère Germaine - say hello to mon ami André - the pretty Verger des Papes up by the Château, and Le Garbure, opposite the LMG, most formal of the three. Evening grub at Château des Fines Roches is pretty good, and the Alonso in Sorgues is tops, as is L`Essentiel, the best restaurant in Avignon.
There are also workshops on Southern French cheese and Châteauneuf, the Terroirs (€35, in English, 31 March, 3 to 5 pm), Risottos and Châteauneuf, and Terroirs again on 1 April (French, only €25 for that one, 3 to 5 pm again). Read more on:
ENTERED RECENTLY a review of the glorious 2010 HERMITAGE WHITES placed under 2010 NORTHERN RHÔNE in the left-hand column - click the subtag The Leading Wines and scroll down past 2010 HERMITAGE RED.
The next big event involving the Rhône is the 10th edition of VINISUD in Montpellier, from MONDAY 20 to WEDNESDAY 22 FEBRUARY. It occurs every two years. The Rhône has a Hall of its own, and a decent amount of domaines are present.
ENTERED RECENTLY: visits and talk with LOUIS BARRUOL of CHÂTEAU DE SAINT COSME at GIGONDAS, especially his vins de table and cheaper merchant wines. Also, both at RASTEAU, GEORGES PERROT of DOMAINE LA COLLIÈRE as well as the newly entered DOMAINE GOURT DE MAUTENS. New entries also: the respectable CHÂTEAU SAINT LOUIS PERDRIX at COSTIÈRES DE NIMES, and the above-average VENTOUX Co-operative CAVE TERRAVENTOUX which combines Villes-sur-Auzon and Mormoiron. Look at DOMAINE DE LA RENJARDE at MASSIF D`UCHAUX and DOMAINE DE L`AMAUVE at SÉGURET for the latest vintages there - both very good names in their Appellations.
The last week of January heralds the issue of proper 2010 Rhône offers from two highly respected sources in Britain, The Wine Society (which is a Members Society on http://www.thewinesociety.com/ and Berry Brothers of London, http://www.bbr.com/The Wine Society offer, for example, features 180 wines from North and South. These are correctly timed offers, allowing the importers main men to have assesed the wines recently, when they are closer to their final nature than they are back in October and November.
ENTERED RECENTLY: more Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2010s, including Tradition and Prestige quality wines, a visit to Château Rayas there to taste the Emmanuel Reynaud 2010s, along with a series of very good red Crozes-Hermitage. Note the incidence of w.o.w. wines at Crozes in 2010 - exactly what the appellation should produce. Visits to Côte-Rôtie estates René Rostaing and Michel and Stéphane Ogier are also included, with their 2010s showing the beauty of the year.
More notes have been entered on the 2010s of Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape - use the Search engine and I suggest keying in at 3.5 stars or 4 stars and above. Under each domaine the LVT 2010 r code shows if a note has been posted - Last Vintage Tasted 2010 red.