Late spring near brouilly copy

2015 Beaujolais Part 2: A Vintage of Richness and Energy

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Jan 2017

The last three vintages for Beaujolais have been a string of home runs, but 2015 is likely to be the one that delivers the greatest impact and pleasure for most wine lovers. Two thousand fifteen has plenty of candidates for wine of the year; wines that deliver concentration and energy, with opulent fruit character and the classic core of acidity that gives Beaujolais its trademark vivacity. These wines are also built to age but at the same time display an exuberance that makes many of them pretty irresistible now.

Beaujolais 2015 vineyard   new

2015 Beaujolais Preview: Atypically Brawny but Often Excellent

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Aug 2016

While Beaujolais has been on as strong a roll as any wine region in France over most of the last decade, the 2015 vintage in Beaujolais has been receiving more attention than any I can recall, including the outstanding 2014 and 2013. But do the ‘15s justify the hype, especially for veteran fans of these wines?

Label collage   copy

2014 Beaujolais: Another Dream Vintage

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Aug 2016

Readers who enjoy Beaujolais need to stock up on the best 2014s for both immediate enjoyment as well as for cellaring. And there are many more of these top choices than usual in 2014. Stylistically the wines bear comparison to classically proportioned vintages such as 2010 and 2011, with abundant fresh fruit as well as depth and structure, all working smoothly together.

Moulin a%cc%80 vent  as viewed from the northern sector of fleurie copy

A Lucky ‘13 for Beaujolais Lovers

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2016

The last decade has witnessed some of the best Beaujolais vintages in history. Two thousand thirteen is proving more than qualified to stake its claim among them.

Bucolic cairanne as seen from its vineyards  cover

The Southern Rhône’s Value Play

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Jun 2016

Although much attention is usually focused on the southern Rhône Valley’s elite areas – namely Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and Vacqueyras – the vast majority of the region’s wines come from less-sexy locales. Not surprisingly, these bottlings are almost always priced more gently than their fancy, better-known cousins. Best of all, in many instances they offer stunning value.

The sweeping vista south and west from the tiny mountainside village of gigondas 2

2014 and 2013 Gigondas: Wines to Drink, Not Hold

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, May 2016

Fans of approachable southern Rhône red wines will find plenty to like from the 2014 vintage in Gigondas, wines that resemble the elegant 2008s and 2004s. Those two earlier vintages, which were widely overlooked by buyers in a rush to snag the hyped 2003s, 2005s 2007s and 2009s that bookended them, have emerged in recent years as exemplars of the southern Rhône in a minor key. I’m betting that the 2014s will also initially be overlooked because of what’s shaping up to be overheated pursuit of the 2015s.

The vineyards of vacqueyras lie just below the peaks of dentelles de montmirail mountain range  in northern provence sized

Vacqueyras: Excellent Values from the Southern Rhône

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Apr 2016

Fans of southern Rhône wines who are feeling sticker shock from current pricing for most Châteauneuf-du-Papes owe it to themselves to expand their buying net, and Vacqueyras is a great place to start.

White cdp collage   sized

Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Enters the 21st Century

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Apr 2016

While the overall quality standard for white Rhône Valley wines has been steadily rising in recent years, none of the region’s other appellations can approach Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s rapid expansion of high-quality, even world-class bottlings.

Domaine la barroche's new winery  with ultra modern  tulip shaped concrete tanks

Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reds: The Flamboyant 2014s and the Structured 2013s

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Apr 2016

Wine lovers who gravitate toward structured Châteauneuf-du-Papes are going to be thrilled by the style of the 2013s, while those who are drawn to more flamboyant, fruit-driven, immediately approachable wines are likely to prefer the 2014s. In fact, the personalities of the two vintages are so different that I can imagine fans of one vintage almost completely dismissing the other, even if the actual differences between the two sets of wines are not generally as extreme as some might think.

A terraced vineyard in co%cc%82te ro%cc%82tie

2014 and 2013 Northern Rhône: Great Wines If You Can Find Them

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Mar 2016

This is the best of times and the worst of times for northern Rhône wine enthusiasts. Recent vintages, especially 2013, yielded more outstanding wines than ever before but yields have mostly been low, sometimes pitifully so. On top of that, worldwide demand for the top bottlings is on fire, making the task of tracking them down a difficult and increasingly expensive endeavor.