Saint michel sur rho%cc%82ne is home to both top vineyards and some of the region's best cellars copy

Exploring Northern Rhône Whites

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Josh Raynolds, May 2020

The hot growing conditions that defined the 2017, 2018 and 2019 vintages in the Northern Rhône show in the white wines, but the best examples also offer a good bit of energy to counterbalance their richness and ripeness. Simply put, the whites here have never been better, while the top bottlings are easily some of the world’s finest wines.

Some of the most complex and age worthy wines in the world come from the granitic soils of the hermitage hill copy

Northern Rhône: A First Look at the 2019s

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Josh Raynolds, May 2020

While my late-winter visit to the northern Rhône focused primarily on tasting the 2017s and bottled 2018s, I also had a chance to try a good number of 2019s. Like 2018, 2019 was a hot and dry year, but the wines look extremely promising and show an uncanny blend of depth and vivacity.

For centuries  the garnitic soils of the faned hermitage hill have produced some of the most compex  ageworthy wines in the world copy

Power and Energy: The 2018 and 2017 Northern Rhônes

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Josh Raynolds, Apr 2020

Northern Rhône wine lovers whose tastes run to richness and power are going to have a field day with the 2018 and 2017 vintages. While most of the wines tend toward dark fruit character, the best examples also have quite a bit of freshness and energy. That is especially true of the 2018s, which will appeal to readers who prefer a more classic style.

The hilly terrain of vacqueyras is surrounded by forests and local flora  or garrigue  typical of northen provence

Vacqueyras: The Southern Rhône’s Stealth Appellation

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Josh Raynolds, Feb 2020

While its more famous neighbors have long been on the radar of wine lovers and collectors, Vacqueyras and its wines continue to fly under the radar. That is likely to soon change, especially given the consistently fine value these wines offer and the uniformly high quality of recent and upcoming vintages.

High altitude vineyards in gigondas  like at domaine des bosquets  provide optimal conditions wines of balance and freshness. copy

Gigondas Maintains Its Tempo

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Josh Raynolds, Feb 2020

Gigondas, like the rest of the southern Rhône Valley, experienced lows and highs, in that order, in 2017. The low points came at the beginning of the year, when warm weather set off early flowering, and in May, when shatter severely affected Grenache, resulting in significant crop loss across the region. Fortunately, the remainder of the season was picture perfect, if warm, while the quality of the crop was very high.

Large  oval wooden foudres have long been the vessel of choice for raising grenache in ch%c3%a2teauneuf du pape copy

The Riches and Richness of Chateauneuf-du-Pape

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Josh Raynolds, Dec 2019

Châteauneuf-du-Pape fans will find plenty to like from 2017, a vintage marked by consistently warm to hot weather that yielded distinctly rich, fleshy, fruit-driven wines. The growing season presented its share of challenges, and yet the best wines are compelling. Even so, readers need to be selective, as the style of the year is quite particular, and some wines are overdone.

Beaucastel 1978 copycover

Cellar Favorite: 1978 & 1990 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Dec 2019

I must confess a penchant for mature Châteauneuf-du-Pape, though sadly I do not have many opportunities to drink it. It’s almost more difficult to track down ancient bottles of Rhône than of Burgundy.

Moulin a vent post harvest copy

Beaujolais: If You Want Value - You’ve Got It

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Josh Raynolds, Oct 2019

While prices for French wines with historic pedigree are often dramatically rising, Beaujolais, for the most part, continues to provide a respite from an overheated market. That, plus a string of recent vintages with average quality level ranging from very good to outstanding, makes Beaujolais one of the most intriguing regions in the world for savvy wine lovers.

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Northern Rhône: 2016 and 2017 Reds

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Josh Raynolds, Sep 2019

The two most recent vintages of bottled reds from the northern Rhône present two quite different faces of Syrah: 2017 full of dark fruit character, power and even opulence, and 2016 with bright, well-defined fruit qualities, distinct freshness and harmonious tannins.

St joseph grippat 1991

Cellar Favorite: 1991 Domaine Jean-Louis Grippat St-Joseph

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Aug 2019

Every now and then you taste a bottle that resonates even more the following day. That is certainly the case with this bottle, generously opened at Noble Rot restaurant for me and sommelier, winemaker and now writer, Rajat Parr.