harvesting is well under way, and the crop is in good shape. Quantity is reduced according to Marcel Richaud in Cairanne, and according to Emmanuel Reynaud at Château Rayas at Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Emmanuel will start his harvesting on Monday 27 September, and reports that, while there is not a lot of Grenache because of the dreaded coulure (flowers fail to convert into fruit), it is attractive. The sugars are ready, but not the polyphenols, while the whites are in good shape. At the Clos des Papes, Vincent Avril paused on Friday 24 September with rain forecast, and will resume on Monday 27 September, having completed around half his harvesting.
mid-October 2010: please go to Veterans Corner, The Wines, to read about suggestions of what to drink with a bottle of 1996 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Château Rayas white, in response to an enquiry about that from a Norwegian subscriber. Under Recent Tastings, Les Vins Naturels, some organic wines from domaines such as Romaneaux-Destezet at Saint-Joseph and Dard & Ribo at Crozes-Hermitage have been tried, along with a 1998 Château de Fonsalette red.
2009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape reds are being gradually entered on a domaine by domaine basis, starting with the more affordable Tradition category (the Prestige wines can wait their turn). LVT 2009 r (Last Vintage Tasted 2009 red) is the clue, or use the Search engine under vintage 2009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, please.
Also updated recently have been the red wines of the Cave de Tain at Hermitage, where the Top Grade reds, notably the striking Epsilon, are bounding forward, and the pricelessly traditional Domaine La Garrigue at Vacqueyras, whose 90-100 year Grenache red Canterelle is a winner. Remember that the Garrigue wines are available at the Hotel Les Florets in the foothills of the Dentelles Mountains at Gigondas, a venue that is run by the Bernard family as well.
mid-lateSeptember 2010: beside each domaine please check out the very successful merchant range from Louis Barruol at Château Saint Cosme at Gigondas - these wines trade with the name Saint Cosme on the label, are mainly Northern Rhône, and are very good. There is a delightful 2009 w.o.w. red as well, a wine to get on and enjoy now. One-off wines to look up include the 2009 white Laudun from Domaine Pelaquié - always great value, great drinking - the white Vin de Table from Matthieu Dumarcher whom I regard as very talented under Côtes du Rhône, and a vin de pays red of great character from Château des Tours at Vacqueyras.
Having tasted their 2009 Côtes du Rhône Villages reds, the Château Courac at Laudun, Domaine La Cabotte at Massif d`Uchaux and the Domaine Montmartel at Visan have been added. The first two have been exporters and providers of good quality wines for some time, while the last-named`s wines are pretty authentic.