Cha%cc%82teauneuf du pape%e2%80%99s landmark castle has a history stretching back to 913. it was enlarged over the centuries but was almost completely demolished by the occupying german army  who blew it up before fleeing the area on august 20  1944 copy

Châteauneuf-du-Pape Weathers the Challenges and Changes

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Oct 2021

Châteauneuf-du-Pape has plenty to offer in 2019, 2018 and 2017, although not in the quantities of the preceding two years. All three vintages produced several wines that are extremely user-friendly, offering abundant, expressive fruit and adequate but not forbidding structure, which is what the market is demanding more and more of these days.

Cf 2006 cha%cc%82teau de beaucastel cdp

Cellar Favorite: 2006 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Josh Raynolds, Sep 2021

It isn’t too often that a Cellar Favorite is also a currently available library release. That’s the case with the gorgeous 2006 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a wine that I marginally underrated when I tasted it from barrel in November 2008 and then in bottle a year after that.

Beaujolais landscape copy

Back For More Beaujolais

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Neal Martin, Aug 2021

My first foray into Beaujolais was not writing about it, but shipping it from one side of the world to the other. Mea culpa: I played my part in the not-so-carbon-neutral tradition of freighting jumbo jets full of Beaujolais Nouveau to Japan every third Thursday in November. Fortunately, I was never asked to dive into a swimming pool foaming with Gamay. I just had to get it there on the dot.

Mont brouilly  which rose up over 35 million years ago  dominates the beaujolais landscape and is home to some of the region's most prized vineyards.jpg copy

Changing Perspectives in Beaujolais

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

Josh Raynolds, Aug 2021

Two-thousand nineteen provides a somewhat welcome return to a mostly classic style of Beaujolais following the often weighty, ripe, and dark-fruited wines of 2018 and 2017. Compared to 2016, 2014 and 2011, most of the 2019s are definitely on the richer side, but I ran across few examples that approached the weight, much less the warmth, of their 2018 and 2017 siblings.

Morgon 1992 burgaud

Cellar Favorite: 1992 Domaine Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Côte du Py

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Jul 2021

Beaujolais Nouveau fomented an assumption that the region’s wine cannot age. Humbug! It’s more a case that too few wine connoisseurs have the nous to tuck away a few Beaujolais bottles from its finest appellations such as Morgon or Moulin-à-Vent from its finest growers.

Pierre marie clape in his element  presenting a rare%e2%80%a6family's cellar.jpg copy

Domaine A. Clape Cornas: 2012–1987

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured, Verticals & Retrospectives

Josh Raynolds, Dec 2020

One of the world’s iconic estates, Domaine Auguste Clape has long set the standard for the Cornas appellation and has featured on any Rhône aficionado’s short list of the region’s very best properties. With a mere eight hectares of vines spread across Cornas, Saint-Péray and Côtes-du-Rhône, the Clapes produce two different examples of Cornas, a Saint-Péray, a red Côtes-du-Rhône and a red Vin de France. All of the reds are made with whole clusters and fermented in concrete vats before being moved into ancient, traditional oval foudres for aging. Because of small production (roughly 2,500 cases per vintage, total) and longtime worldwide demand, especially for the flagship Cornas, the wines are not always easy to find. Unfortunately, the world has caught on, and prices have risen sharply as well. These are structured, long-lived wines that are definitely built for the patient consumer. As this retrospective shows, patience is consistently rewarded, even in tough vintages.

Cf october192020 %281%29

Cellar Favorite: 2001 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Hommage à Jacques Perrin Grande Cuvée

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Josh Raynolds, Oct 2020

Two thousand and one is, without a doubt, one of this generation’s greatest vintages for France’s southern Rhône valley, producing an abundance of rich but balanced and ageworthy wines that are now either in their prime or entering it.

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

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

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

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

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

France: Rhône & Beaujolais, featured

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.