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Time to look beyond Chateauneuf…?

At the southern end of the RhoneValley, just to the south of the village of Vaison-la-Romaine, the Dentelles de Montmirail dominate the skyline.  The Dentelles are a small chain of mountains which are effectively the foothills of the highest peak in Provence, Mont Ventoux, situated just to the east.  They have something of an impressive and imposing nature being the result of layers of Jurassic limestone, folded on end to sit vertically and subsequently eroded into jagged and menacing forms as if standing sentry over the precious patchwork of vineyards beneath.


The Dentelles de Montmirail

The Dentelles guard some illustrious names, most notably Chateauneuf du Pape though over the course of the last few decades or so many of the surrounding vineyards have raised their winemaking to such levels that villages such as Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Lirac, Rasteau and others now enjoy the prestige of their own village appellations and in many cases rival the wines of all but the very best Chateauneuf producers.  In many cases the lesser-known names represent much better value for money.


Chateauneuf du Pape
We have always offered a range of wines from the southern Rhone from a few well-chosen individual producers but the recent sale of Domaine de Cassan and the decision of the new owner to sell off their Gigondas vineyards mean that we will be keeping our eyes (and mouths) open for a new addition or two in due course.

If you’ve enjoyed the wines of Domaine de Cassan in the past and wish to grab a few bottles while we still have stock left of their 2009 Gigondas or 2010 Ventoux ‘Les Esclausels’ then now is your time!  Possibly more intriguing is their 2010 Beaumes de Venise Rouge – another of the villages with its own appellation, widely known for its sweet Muscat desert wine, though here is a fine example of red Beaumes de Venise (80% Grenache, 18% Syrah, 2% Mourvedre aged in cuve).  Again stocks are limited.

Domaine de Cassan
We have also bought the last of the stock from the UKagent of the 2009 Vacqueyras from Domaine Saint Pierre.  This wine is no longer available in the UK and we have a couple of cases left.  It’s 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, with production at only 35hectolitres per hectare it’s a wine of rich concentration, power and depth.  The grapes are destemmed and cold-macerated, then blended and macerated for about 3 weeks under temperature control, with daily punching down of the fermentation cap, and aged for 6 - 12 months in large oak foudres, before assemblage and bottling.  It can be drunk now, but if you lost a few bottles under the stairs of a few years it wouldn’t matter!

The vineyards of Vacqueyras
Fascinating and powerful reds are very much the order of the day in the southern Rhone.  They’re usually Grenache or Syrah-dominated blends and frequently contain smaller proportions of other local grapes  to add to the blend.  With a sprinkling of deliciously fragrant whites and mouthwatering roses as well, the southern Rhone is well worth exploring and if the only name you are familiar with from this part of the world is “Chateauneuf” do have a look at our website or pop into the shop and we’d be pleased to suggest some clever alternatives to the most famous of names.  Equally, if only Chateauneuf will do, we have plenty to choose from.

Our Other Southern RhoneWines:

Domaine desEscaravailles, Rasteau
2010 Cairanne ‘Le Ventraben’
2011 Rasteau 'La Ponce'

Chateau Fargueirol,Chateauneuf du Pape
2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge
2012 Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc

Mas de Boislauzon,Chateauneuf du Pape
2012 La Chaussynette, Vin de France
2009 Chateauneuf du Pape Tradition

Domaine de laMordoree, Chateauneuf du Pape
2010 Cotes du Rhone Rouge
2009 Lirac Rouge ‘La Dame Rousse’ (last few bottles, 2010 to follow)
2006 Lirac Rouge ‘Cuvee de la Reine des Bois’ (last few bottles, 2007 to follow)
2012 Tavel Rose ‘La Dame Rousse’ (2013 currently being shipped)
2012 Lirac Blanc ‘Cuvee de la Reine des Bois’ (2013 currently being shipped)
2013 Cotes du Rhone Rose currently being shipped

Other follow-on vintages of Domaine de la Mordoree wines available on request.

We also have several vintages of Chateauneuf du Pape ‘Cuveede la Reine des Bois’ available from Domaine de la Mordoree.  Please visit our website for full details.



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