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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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M. Chapoutier La Combe Pilate IGP des Collines Rhodaniennes boasts a huge nose of ripe peach, cherry blossom and honeysuckle, typical Viognier aromas. Full-bodied with very good balance of fruit, acidity and minerality.
M. Chapoutier Saint Peray \"Les Tanneurs\" has a brilliant colour with pale green lights. Lots of freshness on the nose, with green apple, white blossoms and honey aromas. On the palate, flavours of fresh pear with a touch of minerality. Fruity, with a very long finish.
Maison Nicolas Perrin Crozes-Hermitage Rouge offers a superb rich ruby colour in the glass with bright purple hues. Ripe black cherry and blackberries on the fragrant nose with a hint of sweet spice. On the palate, rich and lively with a good balance between the dark fruit, soft tannins and the minerality.
M. Chapoutier Muscat de Beaumes de Venise is golden yellow in colour with a powerful, rich and elegant nose of candied fruit and flowers. A well balanced palate, with a great length and good, steady aromatic persistence. A long dessert wine style on the finish.
M. Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage \"Les Meysonniers\" has a deep, inky purple colour in the glass. The nose bursts with rich red fruits, raspberries, strawberries, wild blackberries are followed by violet aromas. Ample and round, full-bodied and concentrated, finishing on flavours of stewed friuts and vanilla.
M. Chapoutier Vacqueyras has a deep red colour in the glass with purple glints. The nose enjoys nuances of blackcurrants, dried mango and a little warm soft spice. The palate is full-bodied to lots more dark fruit and has good balance between the tannins and acidity. The finish is deep, complex and very long.
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.
Maison Nicolas Perrin Crozes-Hermitage Blanc is full of freshness and exudes citrus and green apple aromas. The palate has a lovely roundness, with a subtle toasty and spicy character, also strong hints of apricot on the finish.
Chateau de Vaudieu \"Closerie de Vaudieu\" Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a deep ruby red colour in the glass, with a black cherry core. The wine has lively berry fruits on the nose, with a touch of liquorice and hints of soft spice. Full of fruit, juicy and round with ripe tannins that gently support the cherry, cassis and vanilla on the finish.
M. Chapoutier Saint Joseph \"Deschants\" Rouge has an intense garnet red colour in the glass. Very floral on the nose, developing into liquorice and soft warm spice aromas. The palate is supple with dominant red fruit flavours and the finish is long with persisting vanilla flavours.
Maison Nicolas Perrin Saint-Joseph is a deep garnet red in the glass with an intense bouquet, rich with notes of wild red fruit. The palate is complex, with lots more dark fruit, hints of vanilla going well with the soft tannins. This powerful wine has a distinct elegance to it.
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.
M. Chapoutier Gigondas has a great ruby red colour in the glass. The nose is powerful with aromas of strawberry, raspberry and hints of sweet spice. On the palate, which is full-bodied, has lots of rich plum jam mixing well with the supple tannins and more soft spicy flavours.
Chateaueuf du Pape Blanc, Clefs de Papes Blanc has a very expressive and complex nose dominated by aromas of citrus fruits and white flowers. the mouth feel is velvety smooth and unctuous with lots of finesse and fresh aromas .Full bodied with a very complex palate and lots of freshness and fruit. Enjoy with sea food and fish dishes as well as vegetarian foods.
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.