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mid-November 2010

Please see Recent Tastings, and click on the Cornas in London sub tab for a report on a dinner involving 13 wines of Cornas stretching from 2006 back to 1983. A veritable glimpse back in time to some fine, mature wines. Visits to leading Côte-Rôtie Domaine Jamet and leading Saint-Joseph Domaine Gonon have been entered, including a look at their 2010 Syrah. A start-up Vin de Pays domaine run by the son of Marc Sorrel at Hermitage, has been added - Les Alexandrins.

There is often good value from the Côtes du Rhône reds made by Châteauneuf-du-Pape domaines. See a fine collection of 2009 Côtes du Rhônes from Domaine de la Janasse, Domaine du Grand Tinel, and a fascinating Côtes du Rhône white from Clos du Caillou, made from Clairette rose rather than the usual Clairette blanche. Also an STGT Villages red 2009 from La Bastide Saint-Dominique.

There has been action at Châteauneuf-du-Pape, with a host of new names with usually small plots starting to make and bottle their own wine. These are Domaines Julien Masquin, La Celestière (8 hectares in the west of the appellation, a big investment), Mouriesse Vinum, La Consonnière, Saint-Pierre and Château Capucine. A lot of 2009 red Châteauneufs have been written up. The 2009 red and whites at Châteauneuf-du-Pape Château Rayas and Côtes du Rhône Château de Fonsalette have also been assessed. Recent visits to the organic Domaine Romaneaux-Déstézet of Hervé Souhaut at Saint-Joseph and Domaine Georges Vernay at Condrieu, makers of the supreme Coteau de Vernon, have also been included.

For 2009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape red tasting notes - look at domaines with an LVT 2009 r code beside them, or use the Search engine for 2009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, probably starting at 3.5 or 4 stars and up.

McLAREN VALE BUILDING NIGHTMARE: a 77 hectare suburban zone is due to be built on cereal land next to the McLaren Vale vineyards. The plan is for commercial centres, 1200 dwellings and 2500 residents in the ominously named "Phase 1." Growers are desolate at this prospect, so if you, unlike the Ministers, can take the long view - destruction of heritage, just as we had at Cornas a while back - please fire off an email to Mr Holloway, whose email address is minister.holloway@sa.gov.au More on this debacle features on the McLaren Vale sidebar. Please emphasize the country you are writing from, so the bureaucrats can realise that this is not just a little local fling. Thank you very much.