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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 Luberon \"La Ciboise\" Blanc has a pale green colour in the glass with yellow tints. Aromas of white blossom, lemons and exotic fruits. The palate has good balance between the freshness and roundness, with a great length.
M. Chapoutier Cotes-du-Rhone has a lovely garnet red colour in the glass with glints of purple. Lots of aromas of red fruit, including, dark cherries, blackberries and plums, plus a hint of soft spice. The palate is rich and full bodied, with supple tannins and a well sustained finish.
M. Chapoutier Luberon \"La Ciboise\" Rouge is an intense garnet red colour with purple tints. Complex on the nose, delicate with soft spicy notes and ripe dark fruit aromas. The wine is well balanced on the palate with flavours of blackberry, blueberry and blackcurrants. A refined long finish.
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,
M. Chapoutier Cotes-du-Rhone Belleruche Rouge is a deep garnet red colour with intense aromas of red cherries, wild strawberries and soft warm spice. This wine is juicy, powerful and very fruity on the palate. The supple texture moves into a long and interesting finish.
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,
Rhonea Les Coudoulieres Sablet Cotes du Rhone Villages has a beautiful garnet-red colour in the glass that reveals a powerful nose wild blackberry and wild strawberry aromas. The tannins are supple and balance well with the fruit, vanilla and sweet spices. This well structured wine has a long lingering finish.
Maison Nicolas Perrin Viognier has a light gold colour in the glass. Aromatic, this Viognier has notes of citrus fruit and wild spring flowers. The wine is fresh, crisp and has nice minerality with good tension on the palate and a lovely finish.
Maison Nicolas Perrin Syrah/Viognier is bright ruby in colour with purple undertones. Red fruit, full-bodied and very harmonious with aromas of blackcurrants, blueberries along with notes of soft warm spice. The tannins are soft and round and combine well with the dark fruit on the long lingering finish.
M. Chapoutier Cotes-du-Rhone Belleruche Rose has a pale pink colour in the glass with salmon-pink highlights. The nose provides a mixture red fruit, citrus and grenadine aromas. The palate has good balance between the fruit, acidity and fresh minerality.
M. Chapoutier Cotes-du-Rhone \"Belleruche\" Blanc has a bright golden hue with an intense and expressive nose, aromas of apricot, mango and floral scents. The wines roundness is a perfect match for its freshness, with the finish revealing subtly notes of aniseed.
Les Coudoulieres, Cotes Du Rhone Villages,from Sablet is a rich generous, characterful wine with powerful nose of wild strawberry aromas and sweet spicy notes,
M. Chapoutier Cotes-du-Rhone Villages Signargues has a dark garnet red colour in the glass with purple highlights. The nose enjoys perfumes of ripe red fruit, dried mango and hints of vanilla. Soft warm spice and liquorice are part of the complex flavours on the palate. Good balance between the fruit, acidity and tannins.
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.
M. Chapoutier Domaine des Granges de Mirabel IGP Coteaux de L\'Ardeche has a greenish-yellow colour, quite deep. The nose has fine aromas of apricot, pear and hints of honeysuckle. Good roundness and acidity on the palate, including flavours of tangerine and more apricots. Clean, fresh and lively on the long 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.