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France - The Rhone Valley
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The red wines of the Rhone Valley vary considerably from the rich concentrated reds of the Cote Rotie to the lighter more fruity wines of Ventoux and Lirac. The white wines can vary even more, sample the intense sweet wine Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise, then move to the fragrant whites of the many Cote du Rhone Village wines and then onto the the rich flavoured full bodied wine of Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc.
Alexander Hadleigh Wine Merchants are big supporters of fine Rhone Wines and are constantly increasing their range of wines to satisfy both existing and new customer demand. Its noticable that many lovers of full bodied red and white wines are moving back from the new world to the old world, especially towards Rioja Wines of Northern Spain and the huge selection available in the Rhone Valley.
Many followers of Rhone Wines view the Rhone Valley as two distinct halves, simply put, Northern Rhone and Southern Rhone. The Northern Wine Region is governed in many ways by the narrowness of its valley landscape, the output of wine is considerably less than the South, but what is produced in these smaller appellations is big and often stunning and with an outstanding vintage will produce some of the World's best and most expensive wines. Some of the North's most famous appellations include Cote Rotie, St. Joseph, Condrieu, Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage. These wines are very impressive, big in statue, big in taste and the best vintages will often improve in the bottle upwards of fifty years.
Alexander Hadleigh Wine Merchants promote many Northern Wine Growers including: Alain Paret known for their Condrieu and St-Joseph Wines, also Maison Nicolas Perrin a fine producer of Condrieu, saint-Joseph and Cote Rotie Wines.
The landscape of Southern Rhone is much different to the North, the flood plains are wide, open and flat with small hills and clusters of many small villages, many supporting in one way or another the vast wine industry of this region. The regions varying landscape of lighter and then the more productive soils inturn supports a wide variation in both quality and volume produced. Cote du Rhone being the appellation which produces by far the greater volume of wine and Grenache being the most dominant grape variety (possibly close to 50% of all grapes grown) followed by Syrah and Mourvedre. Well produced Cote du Rhone Villages wine can often be the best buy of the region, the volume produced is high and often the growers and competing on two fronts…quality and price. Two other appellations that can also support good value without compromising quality are the Vacqueyras and Gigondas wines.
Alexander Hadleigh Wine Merchants has spent much time and energy over the last thirty to fourty years travelling the vast Southern Rhone Region seeking out new exciting Growers and of course meeting up with our old friends we have been doing business with for decades. Just a few of the many growers we feel should have a special mention are: Domaine des Bosquets for a simply stunning Gigondas wine. Chateau Thabour and Chateau de Vaudieu both have a high reputation for producing Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines of great prestige.
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Domaine Allegret Cotes du Rhone Villages Blanc has an expressive nose and fresh flavours of ripe pears, quite full bodied and accompany white meats , cheeses or great as an aperitif,
Cotes Du Rhone Villages, Laudun, Domaine Allegret is elegant, complex and with a fine minerality, lovely concentration. Tannins are melted and the finish is round,
Moulin des Chenes Lirac has a deep crimson colour in the glass, with aromas of wild strawberries and blackberries on the nose. The palate has a velvety mouthfeel, good balance with the supple tannins and fresh acidity. Redcurrant and blackberry flavours continue through the mouthwatering finish.
Chateau la Verrerie Esprit Bastide Luberon has a vibrant ruby colour in the glass. The nose has appealing aromas of black fruits with hints of fresh baked bread and vanilla. On the palate, it is medium-bodied with lots of brambly fruit, soft warm spice with smooth tannins on the finish.
Chateau la Verrerie Luberon Rose is a very pretty pale pink colour in the glass. The nose expresses fresh red forest fruits, as well as floral notes nuances of soft spice. The palate is full and round, lots fruit, including hints of citrus, good balance and excellent texture.
Chateau la Verrerie Luberon Blanc has an appealing golden straw-yellow colour in the glass with silver-green hues. Aromas of peach, apricots rainier cherries on the nose, followed by precise notes of acacia and manuka honey. On the palate, the wine is full and lush, reflecting the fruit and floral tones of the nose.
Chateauneuf du Pape, Domaine la Roquete, Domaine Daniel Brunier Half bottle is a dark ruby/purple-tinged colour with a rather firm mouthfeel with some dark berry fruit, medium to full bodied , Drinking now but better over the next 15 plus years,
Domaine Richaud \"Terre de Galets\" Cotes de Rhone has a light garnet colour in the glass with notes of red fruits and nuances of black olives on the nose. More fruit on the palate, good balance with the supple tannins and long lingering finish.
Domaine les Alexandrins Crozes-Hermitage Rouge has an intense ruby red colour in the glass. There is an abundance of red fruit on the nose, well supported by an undertone of fresh violets. A silky, full-bodied wine, it is well balanced, most approachable and true to Crozes-Hermitage.
Domaine Richaud Cotes de Rhone Villages Cairanne has a full bouquet of red fruit aromas. The palate displays the full fruitiness of the Grenache and the wilder character of the Mourvedre. It is a rich, full-bodied wine with well structured, supple tannins and a long alluring finish.
Famille Quiot Les Arnevels Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a deep crimson in the glass with glints of purple. Lovely aromas of dark ripe fruit, including blackcurrants, plums and prunes, and some soft sweet spice. Lots more rich fruit on the palate, with good support from vanilla and dried mango flavours. The finish is very smooth and persistently long.
Domaine les Alexandrins Saint Joseph has a lovely dark colour with aromas of dark fruit and soft warm spices. The wine is beautifully structured and full-bodied, boasting concentrated dark cherry fruit flavours. It has an elegant mineral edge and a long, spicy finish.