Virtual Fine Rhone Wines
A new era is dawning for everyone involved in classrooms and events. Using modern technology, we can enjoy learning about our favourite wines (and gin) from the comfort and safety of our own homes. This has the added advantage that nobody needs to be the “designated driver”.
Using Zoom video conferencing is just like being in the room with Gary, who will, as ever educate, inform and entertain you for about an hour.
All sessions will be recorded and if you can't attend at the last minute just let us know so you can go through the event at your convenience later.
Why not invite your friends to make it a truly social experience?
Over four weeks we will look at some of the finest wines from the Rhône Valley in France. If you thought the Côtes du Rhône was where it starts and ends then let us open your mind to some truly stunning wines. The Rhône splits into two quite separate sub regions: north where the Syrah grape reigns supreme and the south where it is Grenache that takes the lead role, ably supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre. But that’s just the reds. The Rhône also produces superb and highly distinctive white wines with Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne the starring grape varieties. Then there are the unique rosé wines from Tavel. Quite a different proposition to other rosé wines, a full-bodied and deeply coloured rosé?
All of the wines have been carefully chosen to showcase the Rhône at its very best, from premier appellations and very good-outstanding vintages.
Friday 19th February
We start our journey in one of the more accessible of the northern Rhône appellations; Crozes-Hermitage AC. However, in a change to the more widely produced red wine we take a look at a white example made predominantly from Marsanne with Roussanne in support.
1. Crozes Hermitage AC Blanc Domaine Alain Graillot 2018 £24.95
"An 80-20 blend of Marsanne and Roussanne, the 2018 Crozes Hermitage Blanc is a 50-50 blend of barrel-fermented and tank-fermented portions. Malolactic fermentation is blocked. It's a deep golden colour, rich, broad and honeyed on the full-bodied palate, then finishes with a bit of white pepper and surprising zestiness. Drink 2019 - 2022. 91/100."
Joe Czerwinski - The Wine Advocate.
Then we move onto one of the classic red appellations of the northern Rhône, but one that is often overlooked; Cornas AC. 100% Syrah aged for two years in inert containers to maximise the concentration of fruit without any oak influence – pure indulgence.
2. Cornas AC Domaine Lombard 2014 £42.50
Friday 26th February
Our second evening is spent at the very top of the Rhône region in two of its most famous areas.
We start with a Condrieu that actually isn’t technically a Condrieu as the vineyard is just above the 300m height limit for the appellation itself. Same superbly concentrated Viognier in the hands of a top producer however.
3. IGP Collines Rhodaniennes ‘Le Pied de Samson’ Domaine Georges Vernay 2019 £27.95
Then we have a rare treat, a Côte-Rotie! This most celebrated of appellations is one even wine professionals get to sample only occasionally and we have an absolute corker to taste. Syrah grapes are vinified with 5% of Viognier grapes as is traditional for Côte-Rotie that produces a wine of outstanding elegance rather than raw power.
4. Côte Rotie ‘La Viallière’ Champet 2016 £42
“Brilliant violet. Intense, mineral-accented cherry pit and cassis scents, along with hints of succulent herbs, olive, smoky bacon and violet. Juicy dark fruit and bitter cherry flavours unfold and slowly turn sweeter on the back half while picking up a zesty hint of cracked pepper. Fine-grained tannins lend gentle grip to the finish, which hangs on with impressive, spicy tenacity and repeating smokiness. 92 points.” Josh Raynolds - vinous.com
Friday 5th March
We now travel to the perhaps more familiar southern Rhône, home to the generic Côtes du Rhône AC and Côtes du Rhône Villages AC. Whilst there are some good and occasionally great wines produced under these labels, it is the more specific Cru wines where individuality and quality are more well represented.
We start our journey with the most unusual wine of the event, a full-bodied rosé from the unique Tavel AC, the only appellation in France that makes only rosé wines. This is however a far cry from the Provence style so popular as a quaffable chilled summer drink. An eclectic mix of grape varieties including Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah are used to produce this highly individual wine.
5. Tavel ‘La Forcadière’ Domaine Maby 2019 £14.25
“Tavel is the only appellation in France that specialises in rosé. And what rosé! It’s deeply-coloured, spicy and nutty with some tannins but at the same time juicy and refreshing. Apparently, producers in Tavel are struggling to sell their traditional wines due to the yacht rosé fashion. Buck the trend, and get a case of this in.” Henry Jeffreys - Spectator Life, 24th June 2020
Then onto something much more familiar, an example of one of the many superb Cru level red wines. This one is from Lirac AC. As is usual for this part of the Rhône the blend is “GSM”, specifically 55% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 20% Mourvèdre, a powerful wine capable of ageing for up to 10 years.
6. Lirac ‘La Fermade’ Rouge 2018 Domaine Maby £14.95
Friday 12th March
That just leaves the battle of the two superstar appellations in the southern Rhône, the oldest and one of the most well-known appellations in France; Châteauneuf-du Pape AC versus its much more recently created near neighbour Gigondas AC. Which will you prefer?
Gigondas is one of these well-kept secrets in the wine world. It delivers some stunning wines at a fraction of the price of its far more famous neighbour. Please don’t tell your friends as they will put the price up! It’s GSM with heavy emphasis on the “G”, 80% Grenache, 15% Syrah and 5% Mourvèdre. It is a powerful, brooding, uncompromising Rhône wine with great intensity and depth of flavour. A wine that will develop for up to 10 years from vintage.
7. Gigondas ‘Origine’ 2015 Domaine St Gayan Bottle £19.25
Finally, onto the most famous but somewhat infamous appellation; Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It’s the oldest and by far the largest of the Cru wines which means that style and quality vary somewhat. It is therefore important to pick wines from reputable producers and we have done just that. Made from vines that are 80–100-year-old, this blend of 95% Grenache with 5% Mourvèdre is full-bodied expression of the unique terroir of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The 2016 vintage was described as “superb”, “perfect” and is talked of and as one of the best on record. If you’ve ever had one of these famous wines and been disappointed, this will change your mind!
8. Châteauneuf-du-Pape ‘Elisabeth Chambellan’ Vieilles Vignes Rouge Le Père Caboche 2016 £33
"The old vine cuvée, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes Elisabeth Chambellan appears to have more concentration and mid-palate depth, with lots of black cherry and currant fruits, exotic flower, orange blossom and mint aromas and flavours. It's ripe, yet not overripe, has excellent purity of fruit and sweet tannin. It's certainly going to be an outstanding wine. This wine comes all from the la Crau lieu-dit and is 95% Grenache and 5% Mourvèdre, raised mostly in concrete tanks." 91-93/100. Jeb Dunnuck - jebdunnuck.com.
The wines are premium-priced and that is reflected in the price of the event which is £95 for all four sessions. The cost is per subscription, so this could be for 2 people (or more) as long as you are sharing a screen in the same household. Note: this does not include the cost of the wines (see below).
The wines are available to purchase from French regional wine specialists Yapp Brothers at the discounted price of £207.91 including delivery (please allow 7 days for delivery).
Once we have received your order for the event, we will pass your contact details to Yapp Brothers who will arrange payment and delivery for the wine directly with you. We do not sell wine.
Places remaining: 1
Course Date/Time: Fri 19th Feb 2021 at 7.30pm
Duration: 4 x 1 hr
Venue: Online - Zoom (Link sent by email)