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.