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Vacqueyras 2016 and 2015: Value and Consistency

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Nov 2018

Vacqueyras enjoyed virtually flawless growing seasons in 2016 and 2015 and its producers responded by making wines of consistently high quality. While prices have been steadily rising for current releases from neighboring Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas, pricing for Vacqueyras wines has mostly been holding steady, which is terrific news for wine lovers.

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Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc: 2016 & 2017

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Oct 2018

White wines are just a drop in the bucket of Châteauneuf-du-Pape production, but that doesn’t mean vignerons don’t give them a lot of love. On the contrary, these are among the most exciting wines being produced in the Rhône Valley today. Three outstanding vintages are now in the market or on deck.

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Cellar Favorite: 1955 Domaine Henri Bonneau Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réserve des Célestins

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Sep 2018

Amongst the constellation of rare bottles that I have tasted over the years, few approach the 1955 Réserve des Célestins from the late Henri Bonneau in terms of an unrepeatable experience at the hands of fermented grape juice. It is a wine that lies on the edge of existence: I have never seen another bottle at auction and have never seen a tasting note. But this bottle appeared without warning at an extraordinary Sunday lunch in West Hampstead, London.

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Cellar Favorite: 1985 Domaine Alain Voge Cornas Les Vieilles Vignes

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Sep 2018

Alain Voge’s star is rising, as is demand. Prices have not quite attained the eye-watering amounts demanded for Verset or Clos Rougeard, but it is just a matter of time. So perhaps it is an opportune moment to look at a mature vintage of the Les Vieilles Vignes, which comes from the oldest Syrah vines, between 25 and 80 years, spread across five lieux-dits, usually with partial whole bunch in the vat and seeing a modest 20% new oak. Alain Voge took over the domaine after the sudden passing of his father, Louis, in 1965 and introduced this cuvée in the 1970s, while current co-owner and winemaker Albéric Mazoyer has been in charge since 2004.

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2016 Gigondas – A Slam Dunk

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Aug 2018

Two thousand sixteen in Gigondas, as in the rest of the southern Rhône, experienced a growing season for the record books, yet again – producing expressive, intense, fruit-driven wines of often profound depth as well as energy.

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2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape: The Beat Goes On

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Jul 2018

Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s monumental 2015 vintage was a tough act to follow, but 2016 was up to the challenge. In fact, in many cases the wines from this uniformly outstanding warm year actually outclass – or at least outmuscle – their older siblings.

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Cellar Favorite: 1988 Domaine Gentaz-Dervieux Côte-Rôtie Côte Brune

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Jul 2018

The Rhône is not my specialty, but that does not preclude me from enjoying its wines. Indeed, some of the greatest bottles I have ever drunk have hailed not from Bordeaux or Burgundy, but the Rhône. This Cellar Favorite focuses on a bygone producer shrouded in mystique, a producer whose wines are now some of the most sought after in the world and with prices to match: Domaine Gentaz-Dervieux.

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Elegance Returns to the Northern Rhône in 2016

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Jun 2018

Following the huge success of the 2015 vintage, which produced deeply concentrated, structured and age-worthy wines, 2016 pivoted almost 180 degrees by issuing an abundance of graceful, elegant reds that showcase balance and freshness over mass and power.

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2016 Northern Rhône Whites: Excellent but Often Scarce

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, May 2018

Hot on the heels of the outstanding 2015 vintage, 2016 produced one of the strongest sets of white wines from the northern Rhône region in recent memory. The only issue will be actually finding them, as production in many cases was pitifully small.

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'16 vs. '15 Northern Rhône: Heads You Win, Tails You Win

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Apr 2018

At first glance, 2016 and 2015 in the Northern Rhône Valley would appear to have yielded wines with utterly disparate personalities. On paper and by reputation the 2016s and 2015s couldn’t be more different. So the received wisdom goes. In reality, though, the closer one looks at these two outstanding vintages, the more similarities start to reveal themselves. My recent extensive tastings of bottled wines from both years, sampled side-by-side at many estates, have only confirmed my impressions of these two superb vintages.