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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 Coufis de Paille Vin de Table de L\'Ardeche has a dark straw yellow colour in the glass and a nose of intense exotic fruits, tangerines and apricots. This dessert wine is very lush and full-bodied on the palate, good balance with the acidity and a long persistence.
M. Chapoutier Saint Joseph \"Granilites\" Rouge is garnet red in colour with purple highlights. Nice intensity on the nose of wild dark berries and a little smooth oakiness. Soft and well balanced on the palate. Long lasting finish with lovely dark fruit notes.
M. Chapoutier Saint-Peray \"La Muse de Wagner\" Sparkling Brut has a beautiful pale yellow colour in the glass with golden reflections. The nose shows yellow fleshed fruit with fine notes of almonds and white flowers. The palate is rich and honeyed with fine appealing bubbles. Notes of hazelnuts, honeysuckle and acacia honey with a long appealing finish.
M. Chapoutier Saint-Joseph \"Granilites\" Blanc has a strong yellow colour with glints of green. On the nose, there are delicate notes of white flowers, white peach and orange blossom. A fresh palate and well-balanced, flavours of citrus, dried pineapple and good minerality on the smooth finish.
Chateauneuf du Pape, Chateau Gigognan is a lovely blend made selected from Syrah and Grenache from 40 year old vines, shows maturity, character and elegance, very complex on the nose, red fruits, aromas and some spices, soft roundeness with a very long finish,
Chateauneuf Du Pape, De L\'Arnesque, Cuvee Chaplane Domaine has a complex bouquet, evokes dark berries and fruit cake, juicy blackberry and cherry flavours, persistent finish with spicy notes,
M. Chapoutier Saint Peray \"Lieu dit Hongrie\" has a golden yellow colour in the glass with green lights. A fresh nose of baked bread and aromas of pineapple and cherry blossom. Sauve and well-balanced in the mouth, rich with great persistency.
Chateauneuf du Pape La Bastide Saint Dominique is a soft, approachable wine with good freshness to the sweet ripe cherry core. This wine is biologically produced,
Francois & Fils Cote-Rotie has a deep red colour in the glass with purple hues. Superbly concentrated with big aromas of blackcurrants, wild brambles, dark plums and a delicious jammy character. It is well structured with richness and good density. Soft warm spices, vanilla and lots more fruit linger on the long finish.
Maison Nicolas Perrin Cote-Rotie has a very dark red colour that shows good concentration in the glass. The nose opens up to intense aromas of ripe black fruit and soft warm spices. The mouth has the same dark fruit, is silky and elegant with a wonderful long finish.
Full bodied red wine, deep, rich and wonderfully concentrated
Cornas Champelrose, Domaine Courbis is Syrah at its most extreme - very deep black colour with a rich aroma of concentrated fruit, shows new oak and is very elegant. Additional minerality suggests greater longevity, wonderful with red meats, game and stews,
Maison Nicolas Perrin Condrieu is a shiny pale gold colour in the glass. The nose is very aromatic, with candied lemon peel and ripe stone fruit aromas, soft sweet spice and honeysuckle notes. The palate is nice and creamy, balanced and leaves a lovely impression and length.
Domaine Barge Cote-Rotie \"Combard\" has a red ruby colour in the glass with purple hues. The nose enjoys lots of well concentrated dark ripe fruit, supported by hints of violets and soft spice. On the palate, lots more dark fruit and nuances of vanilla from long oak ageing. Supple tannins help the long lasting finish.
From 40 year old vines comes a wine of deep ruby/purple colour, with an exquisite bouquet of incense, crushed rocks, charcoal, black raspberries, kirsch and blackberries. A broad, savoury mouthfill, stunning density with a long finish, Limited Stock Available,
M. Chapoutier Condrieu \"Invitare\" has a deep gold, golden yellow colour in the glass with a greenish tint. Very fruity on the nose with exotic fruit and acacia flower and a hint of soft spice brought by the oak. The palate is very well balanced, full, with a nice freshness which gives a great elegance to this wine.
Domaine Barge Cote-Rotie \"Cote Brune\" has a dark red colour in the glass with delicate perfumes of wild berries, violets and sweet vanilla. The palate picks-up blackberries and hints of manuka honey, The supple tannins join in to provide a full-bodied wine with excellent structure and balance and a long lingering finish.
M. Chapoutier Hermitage Chante-Alouette has a brilliant green glod colour in the glass. Complex and subtle on the nose with aromas of quince, dried mango, walnut, honey and acacia with a little hint of linden tree. Notes of almond, on the palate with good balance between the fruit and acidity, and hints of soft spice. Very stylish, so elegant with a very long lingering finish.
Full bodied dry white, rich and succulent with concentrated long memorable flavours
Exemplary and built to last. A great bouquet, slightly peppery in youth, turns to grilled almonds and cinnamon with bottle age. From the Viognier grape and in limited quantites. It is full in character and very distinctive in flavour.
M. Chapoutier Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Bernardine has a complex, but subtle nose of blackcurrant, wild blackberries and dark plums, followed by hints of chocolate and roasted coffee. A spicy palate with liquorice, vanilla and fruity characteristics. The finish enjoys cherry and dried mango flavours over a long finish.
M. Chapoutier Cote-Rotie \"Les Becasses\" has a deep purplish red colour in the glass and a nose of raspberries, violets and soft warm spices. The palate has more rich fruit and good balance with the supple tannins and a touch of oak. Spice on the long finish, with hints of vanilla.
Maison Nicolas Perrin Ermitage Rouge has an intense ruby red colour in the glass. The nose is very rich with notes of black and red fruit, developing an exquisite complexity. On the palate, fresh blackberry flavours with a spicy edge, provide good balance with the tannins and fine minerality.