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.