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Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2022: Bring It On

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Nicolas Greinacher, Jun 2024

After getting a good glimpse at the 2022 vintage while visiting other Rhône appellations last year, I was eager to see how Châteauneuf-du-Pape performed in a growing season marked by heat, drought and hail. The short answer is that 2022 is a very good vintage in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, clearly surpassing 2021 for the reds, though likely not at the same level as 2020. Overall consistency for reds in 2022 is higher than in 2021, and there are plenty of excellent wines cruising in an affordable price range.

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Cellar Favorite: 1938 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Côte-Rôtie

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite

Neal Martin, Apr 2024

When someone whispers into your ear, particularly my ear, that you will never drink this bottle again, the aforementioned ear perks up. The 1938 Côte-Rôtie from Paul Jaboulet Aîné had lived its entire life in a cool dank cellar over in the West Country, so factor in perfect provenance. Though the bottle states Jaboulet on the label, it is more accurate to look at this as an amalgamation of all the growers in Côte-Rôtie at the time since hardly any bottled themselves.

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But Seriously: Beaujolais 2021-2023

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Neal Martin, Apr 2024

Beaujolais is one of the most dynamic wine regions in France. This report looks at new releases that almost entirely represent outstanding value for money, growers on the rise and the sheer diversity that Beaujolais has to offer.

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Cellar Favorite: 2014 M & C Lapierre Morgon Marcel Lapierre Cuvée MMXIV

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite

Neal Martin, Apr 2024

The 2014 Morgon Marcel Lapierre Cuvée MMXIV comes from 2.5 hectares planted in 1907-1910, just after phylloxera. The vines are located in the Le Douby climat, towards Fleurie, which the legendary Marcel Lapierre has intermittently bottled separately since 1999. Authorities refused the maiden vintage since it did not adhere to the typical Morgon style for reasons only known to them. To circumvent demotion into Vin de France, Marcel Lapierre’s son, the then teenage Mathieu, who is recounting this story in the sunny courtyard outside the winery in Villié-Morgon, suggested his father print the vintage in Roman numerals.

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Northern Rhône: Where Diversity Ignites the Senses

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Nicolas Greinacher, Mar 2024

Diversity reigns supreme in the Northern Rhône Valley, with each appellation offering unique expressions. Despite climatic challenges, local vintners exhibit remarkable adaptability, ensuring the sustainability of their vineyards and the quality of their wines. This report unearths the distinct characteristics of the 2021 and 2022 vintages, from a high degree of variability of the former to the promising potential of the latter.

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Cellar Favorite: 1991 René Balthazar Cornas

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite

Neal Martin, Mar 2024

The Northern Rhône is a region that I would like to know better. There is too little time with Burgundy and Bordeaux under my charge, so I look forward to future reports from my colleague, Nicolas Greinacher. A recent Riesling/Syrah-themed dinner was bejeweled with exquisite bottles and fodder for several Cellar Favorites. This one caught my eye.

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Cellar Favorite: 1983 & 1967 Domaine J.L. Chave L’Hermitage

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite

Neal Martin, Jan 2024

Last year was such a treasure trove of amazing bottles that I completely forgot a dinner in February that finished with a pair of outstanding wines from Jean-Louis Chave.

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Gigondas: The Southern Rhône Jewel Shines and Adapts

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Nicolas Greinacher, Jan 2024

Gigondas, the Southern Rhône gem, finally moves ahead with the official Gigondas Blanc category as part of the inaugural 2023 vintage. This report unravels the time-consuming AOC adaptation process, delves into the region’s unique terroir and offers a thorough review of the promising 2022 and more mixed 2021 vintages.

Moulin a vent 1971 bottle

Cellar Favorite: 1971 Hospices des Moulin-à-Vent Moulin-à-Vent

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite

Neal Martin, Nov 2023

Held every November, the Hospices de Beaune is Burgundy’s most famous charity auction. It attracts global attention, celebrities and, in recent years, stratospheric hammer prices. Lying in its shadow is the annual Hospices de Nuits auction that unfairly doesn’t attract nearly the same hoopla. Yet I have encountered very fine bottlings. Until the 1971 Moulin-à-Vent was poured, I had no idea that a similar auction was held in Beaujolais. I do not know when the auction ceased and correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems lost in the mists of time.

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Vacqueyras New Releases: Walking the Underdog

featured, France: Rhône & Beaujolais

Nicolas Greinacher, Nov 2023

In the sun-drenched vineyards of the Southern Rhône Valley, a captivating underdog story has been unfolding for years. Overshadowed by its prestigious neighbor, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the unassuming Vacqueyras appellation has been gaining attention for its affordable, high-quality wines. This report dives deep into the world of Vacqueyras, explores its characteristics, winemaking techniques and the latest four vintages, uncovering why this hidden gem deserves your attention.