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Mid-February 2011

Joining Côte-Rôtie in a full 2009 Northern Rhône review is Cornas 2009 - click THE LEADING WINES tab under 2009 Northern Rhône in the Left-Hand column. More Crozes-Hermitage 2009 reds have been reviewed under their specific domaine names - see the LVT 2009 r category. This includes visits to father and son Domaines of Alain and Max Graillot, the latter also known as Domaine des Lises.

A trio of wines from Château Val Joanis in the Lubéron have also been entered. As is often the case, my preference is for the simple wines that are less tarted up with new oak etc.

February 2011

the full investigation, 4,000 words and lots of comments and insights, on 2009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape reds is documented under the 2009 Southern Rhônetab. 

By the way, once you have clicked on that tab, please go down one level and click on the Leading Wines title underneath it; there is no need to re-log in.

Leading Northern Rhône 2009s have been entered from Cornas, Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage and Saint-Joseph - wines around the ***(*) or higher category. Look out for the LVT 2009 tab against the domaine name.

As I have been working on a large contribution to a book on Gigondas organised by the Syndicat of Growers, there are some fascinating tasting notes appearing. I am covering the vintages from 1959 to the present day, year by year. Many old bottles have been tracked down, and they frequently surprise through their stability and freshness after thirty-plus years, particularly in the lesser, higher acidity vintages. Readers can use the Search option for vintage notes, or focus on a few domaines whose wines have been found for this exercise - for example, Domaines Moulin de la Gardette, Pesquier, Raspail-Ay, Saint Gayan and Teyssonières. 

See Veterans Corner for a comparison of two wines from the sainted vintage of 1985, the Gigondas Domaine Raspail-Ay and the Châteauneuf-du-Pape Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe. A new domaine at Saint-Joseph, Domaine Christophe Blanc, has been entered, offering a sound 2009 from that excellent vintage, while an overdue listing for the accomplished Domaine Les Aphillantes at Plan de Dieu has been made.

I also urge you to catch up with the Vidal-Fleury range of wines, listed under their home appellation of Côte-Rôtie. Owned for decades by Etienne and Marcel Guigal, this largely merchant business is now receiving due investment and attention now that is established in a brand new cellar in the south of the Côte-Rôtie appellation. I have been impressed by both southern and northern Rhônes from them.

Under Laudun, the Dauvergne-Ranvier merchant business features their very respectable, modern 2009s from Côte-Rôtie and Saint-Joseph. The Côtes du Rhône Domaine de l`Olivier has been posted, as have two suppliers at Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the young team at Domaine de la Biscarelle in the north of the appellation, and the established merchant based in the southern area, Les Grandes Serres, which has produced a good, limited quantity 2009 red Châteauneuf.