3 2017 is the last vintage for delas freres' aging cellar before their move to tain l'hermitage copy

'16 vs. '15 Northern Rhône: Heads You Win, Tails You Win

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Josh Raynolds, Apr 2018

At first glance, 2016 and 2015 in the Northern Rhône Valley would appear to have yielded wines with utterly disparate personalities. On paper and by reputation the 2016s and 2015s couldn’t be more different. So the received wisdom goes. In reality, though, the closer one looks at these two outstanding vintages, the more similarities start to reveal themselves. My recent extensive tastings of bottled wines from both years, sampled side-by-side at many estates, have only confirmed my impressions of these two superb vintages.

Vines in morgon on june 4  2016  the morning after a violent hailstorm edited

2016 Beaujolais: Hail, Yes

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Josh Raynolds, Mar 2018

Following the often opulent 2015s, the 2016 vintage in Beaujolais marks a return to the classic expression of the region, producing bright, energetic wines that show real charm and early appeal.

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Cellar Favorite: 2005 Thierry Allemand Cornas Chaillot

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2018

Thierry Allemand’s 2005 Cornas Chaillot is fabulous. Bold and pungent at the outset, with tons of whole cluster nuance, the 2005s offer striking interplay of bold, racy fruit and more floral/savory layers that are woven into the wine’s fabric.

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Cellar Favorite: 2001 Henri Bonneau Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réserve des Célestins

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2018

Bob Parker introduced me to Henri Bonneau’s wines many years ago. Unfortunately, I don’t get a chance to drink Châteauneuf as often as I would like, and had nearly forgotten I had a few bottles of the 2001 Réserve des Célestins squirreled away. A recent Vinous team dinner was the perfect occasion to check in on the 2001.

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2015 Beaujolais: Monumental But Often Atypical

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Josh Raynolds, Dec 2017

The 2015 vintage in Beaujolais has attracted more attention from both consumers and the trade than any vintage in my experience. While I tasted a higher percentage of outstanding wines from 2015 than ever before, many of them aren’t exactly what I would call classic renditions of the region.

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2014 Gigondas Charms While 2015 Stuns

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Josh Raynolds, Sep 2017

Fans of elegant, accessible southern Rhône wines will find plenty to like from the 2014 Gigondas’ while 2015 produced a plethora of outstanding, attention-grabbing and cellar-worthy wines.

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2014 and 2015 Vacqueyras: Quality and Value

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Josh Raynolds, Aug 2017

The wines of Vacqueyras don’t command the attention - or prices - of those from neighboring Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which makes the appellation’s top bottlings excellent buys for value-conscious Rhône wine lovers.

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Northern Rhône: Solid ’14 Reds and Outstanding ’15 Whites

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2017

The northern Rhône produced a number of excellent red wines in 2014, although yields are down. Happily, 2015 brought an ideal growing season and harvest, with healthy quantities of clean fruit. My early look at the finished white wines indicates that ’15 is a vintage for the ages.

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Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc: Moving Out of the Shadows

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Josh Raynolds, Jun 2017

With the 2015 vintage, Châteauneuf-du-Pape stakes its claim as one of the Rhône Valley’s top growing regions for white wines. The better examples are now equal in quality to many of their highly esteemed and generally better-known northern Rhône cousins, even Hermitage and Condrieu. Unfortunately, there’s not much wine to go around.

The famed hermitage vineyards rise above tain'l'hermitage  as viewed from tournon copy

2015 Northern Rhônes: Outstanding Wines for the Long Haul

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Josh Raynolds, Apr 2017

More than a few producers I visited this winter called 2015 “a vintage marked more by the climate than by terroir,” with the fruit and the warm conditions speaking more strongly than place character. That may be true for now but I also believe that 2015 is a seriously great vintage and one of the best in a generation for the northern Rhône.