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ENTERED RECENTLY: a series of October 2012 visits to NORTHERN RHÔNE domaines, tasting and talking over vintages ranging from 2009 to 2012. At CÔTE-RÔTIE, it is absolutely fascinating to work through the many different plots that comprise the superb DOMAINE JAMET wine. The 2010 has been reviewed one year on, with the different parts and their approximate assemblage before bottling inspected, as has been the 2011. Also at CÔTE-RÔTIE, the long established DOMAINE JASMIN, the STGT quality VIGNOBLES LEVET and the more recent, accomplished DOMAINE STÉPHANE PICHAThave been visited. All those who make Vin de Pays or IGP Syrah or Viognier wines have also shown well, for those seeking hand made wines at lower prices.

From CONDRIEU, visits to two of the top names, ANDRÉ PERRET and FRANÇOIS MERLIN feature; both men also make SAINT-JOSEPH and FRANÇOIS a CÔTE-RÔTIE. Their 2012 CONDRIEUS were also tasted, at an age of two to three weeks old to obtain an idea of their shape and possible destination.

OTHER NEWS: the Telegraph TV pole hounds have been called off the Hill of HERMITAGE for now, we hear from some esteemed Ministry somewhere in Paris. So that disfigurement will not occur just yet. No doubt further horse trading will happen as people have no wish to lose face en général.

CORNAS, our Cheval Mascot, had a sore foot in early October which prevented him from running at Enghien, near Paris. No saucy stuff for him - his main opponent would have been a French mare of some talent. We wish CORNAS well - ALLEZ, CORNAS!!


ENTERED RECENTLY: the 2011 SOUTHERN RHÔNE range of FAMILLE PERRIN, including their RED and WHITE 2011 CHÂTEAU DE BEAUCASTEL. Also, an interesting, organic CÔTES DU RHÔNE estate DOMAINE DES CEDRES. Visits to domaines mean that the next loading of 2011 wines will be in the later part of October.

LATE SEPTEMBER 2012: ENTERED RECENTLY: a bundle of different domaines have been added. The high power wines of DOMAINE DELUBAC at CAIRANNE; the sound, progressive DOMAINE GRANGE DE LOUISET at VENTOUX; from CLAIRETTE DE DIE, the CAVE POULET ET FILS has been visited. In the NORTHERN RHÔNE at SAINT-JOSEPH, a mid-2000s start-up, the good quality DOMAINE NOVIS. Other notes worth highlighting include at VACQUEYRAS, the CHÂTEAU DES TOURS of EMANNUEL REYNAUD and his good 2008s. From RASTEAU, the DOMAINE LA SOUMADE 2009 and 2010 reds, from CHUSCLAN, a full 2009, 2010 and 2011 of the high quality CHÂTEAU DE SIGNAC

From the NORTHERN RHÔNE, tastings of the recent vintages from FAYOLLE FILS & FILLE at CROZES-HERMITAGE (inc 2011 reds), VINCENT PARIS at CORNAS (inc 2011 reds), DOMAINE FAURY at SAINT-JOSEPH - note the exceptional Gloriette, and from YVES CUILLERON at CONDRIEU his 2010s and his white 2011s Vins de France - look at his Viognier.

Under EAT AND STAY, two venues from TAIN L'HERMITAGE, one established and sure fire quality home cooking - the GRAPPE D'OR/TABLE DE NATH, the latter the cheaper option. And a wine bar/diner/wine shop on the main road called CAVE DU TAUROBOLE, well worth a visit.