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Leading Wines

late July 2010

a first look at two leading 2009 Châteauneuf-du-Papes: Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe - including the 2009 red, and the 2008 bottled wine across the range, that includes Châteauneuf-du-Pape Domaine La Roquète. Also the 2009 and 2008 at the Bruniers` Domaine Les Pallières at Gigondas, where the Les Racinescuvée is starting to make a name for itself.

A look at the 5 main grape varieties involved in the red Châteauneuf-du-Pape Château de Beaucastel 2009 has also been included after a mid-summer visit.

Meantime, the hot weather that started in the last week of June - temperatures into the 30s°C - has given the vineyards some impetus to their ripening, after setbacks in June from cold weather and high winds aggravating that effect. Already the enemy of yields, coulure, has hit the later ripening Grenache - the failure of the flowers to convert into fruit. There is enough moisture in the vineyards after the snowfalls and rain of winter, so unless there is hardly a drop of rain between now and September, drought should not be an issue this year.

In the Northern Rhône, flowering has occurred in tune with some of the late June heat, and at Condrieu the Viognier is set for a mid-September or early third week harvesting, according to André Perret.

New Arrivals

July 2010

well, Rasteau is now a fully fledged appellation in its own right - for its red wine. The process that started in 2002 came to fruition in early June, with the approval of the INAO, the appellation body. However, the clincher will be the further approval that this promotion above Côtes du Rhône Villages status can start from the acclaimed 2009 vintage - and that depends on "The Minister" agreeing to it before the 2010 harvest. The clock ticks on. We have Countdown! See Goings On for more of the facts, figures, thrills and spills behind this.

Bottled And Ready

July 2010

two serious domaines, worthy of full attention - note the contrast in scale: the 42 hectare Côtes du Rhône Château de Montfaucon beside the Rhône near Hannibal`s point of crossing at Roquemaure and the more than double that size Château de Beaucastel at Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Montfaucon is improving all the while, while at Beaucastel the 2008s, 2007s and the 2006 red were checked in June 2010. The excellent Perrin & Fils range has also been reviewed, taking in the 2007s that are now all bottled, and some of the 2008s. See Perrin & Fils under Châteauneuf-du-Pape.