ENTERED RECENTLY: a series of small Domaines in the right bank GARD département (30), where there are improvements in quality occurring. The left bank Vaucluse (84) has always been more media savvy, and the general quality of winemaking and commitment has been higher across the board for decades. Co-operative standards have also lagged in the Gard.
The recent financial squeeze had caused some Co-operatives to fold, others to join together. CHUSCLAN LAUDUN is a good example of the latter, while the CAVE DE ROQUEMAURE, rebranded ROCCA MAURA, is also raising its quality.
A sort of third way is for keen, younger Co-operateurs to leave the Co-operative all together, a path already much travelled at CROZES-HERMITAGE in the North, and across the Vaucluse, including VACQUEYRAS. Some leave completely - an example is the CÔTES-DU-RHÔNE DOMAINE DE L'AURE -while others reserve a small part of their crop for home vinification, the bulk of the harvest still sent to the Co-operative. Examples here are the CÔTES-DU-RHÔNE DOMAINE LA ROMANCE and the LIRAC MAS ISABELLE. All three of these Gardois domaines are featured under their respective appellations; all make interesting wines. MAS ISABELLE features in a full article under RECENT TASTINGS.
ENTERED RECENTLY: under 2011 NORTHERN RHÔNE, a full report on 2011 CONDRIEU, and 2011 CROZES-HERMITAGE WHITE. More 2011 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE REDS and 2011 GIGONDAS REDS have been logged under their domaines names - look for the LVT 2011 r (Last Vintage Tasted 2011 red) indicator. A visit to the biodynamic VINSOBRES LA PÉQUÉLETTE.