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mid-October 2009

Cairanne and Rasteau are both applying for full appellation status, with Rasteau due to rise to that top tier first. The wines from both villages are some of the most enjoyable currently produced in the Rhône, and are also excellent value for money. Nor are they too gimmicky in approach. At Cairanne, Domaines Alary, des Amadieu and Berthet-Rayne M & A have been added, while at Rasteau, the traditional, hearty duo of Beau Mistral and Bressy Masson are now posted for their recent wines. Elsewhere, at the "keep an eye on" appellation of Massif d`Uchaux, a trio of Domaine de Dionysos, du Roucas Blanc, and the utterly reliable Château Saint-Estève d'Uchaux. Under the Côtes du Rhône appellation heading, the well-established, punchy Domaine Les Asseyras and two young growers, Sophie Vache at Domaine de Gigognan, and Sébastien Guigue at Domaine de la Rouette. At Gigondas, the Château de Trignon, that now belongs to Jérome Quiot of Domaine du Vieux Lazaret at Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and at Visan, the reliable Cave des Coteaux, and the progressive Domaine des Lauriberts. Lastly, at Costières de Nimes, the excellent Mas Carlot of Nathalie Blanc-Marès.

October 2009

A very large review of 1998 Châteauneuf-du-Pape - the vintage at the time, where the wines are now - has been posted under RECENT TASTINGS. I am sure some of you are wondering when to drink these wines as they hit a more mature, second stage. As a consequence, a series of domaines at Châteauneuf-du-Pape now have older vintage tasting notes posted - notably Château Fortia, Château Rayas, Domaines Autard, Font de Michelle, Marcoux, Solitude, Villeneuve, also the most unusual and legendary (the word not used lightly) Château de Fonsalette under the Côtes du Rhône appellation heading. Added to Châteauneuf-du-Pape have been Domaine de Montpertuis, the reliable Co-operative Le Cellier des Princes at Courthézon, the very traditional, low profile Domaine du Banneret, the new, organic Domaine Benedetti and the Domaines Mousset of the Château des Fines Roches family, while under the Côtes du Rhône Villages appellation features the Domaine de l`Arnesque, a domaine making steady efforts to improve quality.