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The magic 2010 from Rayas III, the heart of the Grenache at CHÂTEAU RAYASCHÂTEAUNEUF-du-PAPE. In spring 2012 the Chateau is about to issue prices and wines from 2007, so be patient for this lovely vintage  

SUMMARY

Delicious. The simple reds and whites are excellent now - the Vidal Fleury CdR white, the Selection Gonnet Ventoux red (see Domaine Font de Michelle at CdPape), and so on. Can be very good value, too. Ideal for parties and family events. Major tastings of Gigondas, CdPape were done in December, from which many notes have been posted. For the best, use the Search engine starting at 4 stars and up.

INDEX

1. VINSOBRES

2. GIGONDAS

3. CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE WHITE

4. CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE RED

5. CÔTES DU RHÔNE RED

6. CÔTES DU RHÔNE WHITE

7. TAVEL

1. 2010 VINSOBRES REDS

THE VILLAGE OF VINSOBRES

2010 is the best recent vintage at Vinsobres, the key word being balance. The robust, filled 2009s and the somewhat uneven 2011s – some high alcohol, even if density in the textures – flank it. Neither has the balance of 2010.

The key note of freshness in the context of a full vintage was highlighted by PHILIPPE CHAUME of DOMAINE CHAUME-ARNAUD. “2010 is more airborne and fresh than 2009, which was very round and unctuous. After a vintage such as 2009, you need a 2010. We harvested between 16 September and 8 October, while in 2011 we started on the whites on 23 August and finished on 10 October,” he commented.

An unconditional supporter of the vintage is the highly experienced DENIS VINSON from the STGT DOMAINE DU MOULIN. He calls 2010 “a vintage with everything – fruit, matter and so on.” His son CHARLES backs this up. “2010 is a very, very good year for me. We had the rain that we needed, and the wines have matter, are fresh, the fruit is round. 2011 is a hotter vintage than 2010.”

Vinsobres is difficult to sell. I am told this by a range of people across the retail, importing, and restaurant trade. The appellation lacks profile. It is aided by the presence of the PERRIN family of CHÂTEAU DE BEAUCASTEL, whose Vinsobres are extremely good. DOMAINE GRAMENON, part of whose vineyard was sold to the Perrins, is another high profile producer in the realm of Natural Wines. 

The vineyard area covers around 1,400 hectares, but 500 hectares only are produced as VINSOBRES; the rest is CÔTES DU RHÔNE, which is easier to sell, even if cheaper. The rest of the lands are home to lavender, olives along with scrubland and some truffle lands. DIAMANT NOIR – Black Diamond - is the local argot for black Truffles, while the word RABASSE is the Provençal word for truffle – DOMAINE DE DEURRE, whose HUBERT VALAYER is chief of the local truffle organisation has a cuvée LES RABASSES.

Expect a SYRAH imprint in the reds: the plateau at 420 metres was cleared around 20-30 years ago, and this is good terrain to allow cool ripening on the Syrah, thus avoiding the dread jamminess of this grape that occurs in hot, southern, low-lying climes at the end of hot summers. The oldest vineyards are the slopes that one sees from the road to the black olive town of NYONS. These are well exposed, and the GRENACHE does well on them.

West of the village on LES CROTTES is a lot of active limestone; east of the village is more clay. Les Crottes has great south-facing exposure, and 80% of it is worked by FRANÇOIS VALLOT of DOMAINE DU CORIANÇON, the JAUME family, CHÂTEAU DE ROUANNE and DOMAINE CHAUME-ARNAUD.

There are sandy patches on LES CÔTES, sand with stones in its clay at around 350 metres, above Les Crottes. This is a hot spot, sheltered from the Mistral north wind, bordered by a mixed set of trees including pine and oak in what is termed a protected ZONE VERTE; this area does well in a hot, dry year such as 2009.

PHILIPPE CHAUME, WHO IS NOT ONE FOR THE LENS, DOING HIS BEST TO LOOK TRULY CHEERFUL ON LES CHAUVETS, NEXT TO HIS SYRAH PLANTED IN 2002

A lot of SYRAH is grown on the plateau of LES CHAUVETS at 400-410 metres. PHILIPPE CHAUME of DOMAINE CHAUME-ARNAUD describes the SYRAH here as having a northern Rhône violet nature, and “the one thing you mustn’t do here is to crop it over-ripe, since the wines are naturally elegant.”

At 420 metres on the plateau, one is out of sight of the EYGUES VALLEY, in a world of some confidentiality. Indeed, there is greater connection here with the Pre-Alps than with Mont Ventoux and the South here. Red clay with galet stone soils are where SYRAH is grown, along with VIOGNIER, MARSANNE and ROUSSANNE for CHAUME-ARNAUD, whose vineyard here covers six hectares.

VINSOBRES REDS are usually released later than most, a bit like RASTEAU, around two years after the harvest. The CAVE CO-OPERATIVE LA VINSOBRAISE is above average, as well, with some sound wines in the form of DIAMANT NOIR and THERAPIUS.

A good period to drink Vinsobres reds is around six to seven years old. The wines live well thanks to their freshness, which is aided by the altitude and by the local morning east wind the PONTIAS, that comes from the pre-Alps to the east and departs like a phantom by 10 in the morning. I sometimes fear headiness, and alcohol in the wines, which is why 2010 stands out thanks to the eternally important word - BALANCE.  

LEADING 2010 VINSOBRES REDS

****(*) Domaine Chaume-Arnaud  2019-20 02/12 STGT; silky smooth
****(*) Domaine Jaume Altitude 420 2027-28 10/12 rich, complex, v long
****(*) Domaine Jaume Clos des Echelas 2027-29 10/12 rich nose; intense body
****(*) Famille Perrin Les Hauts de Julien 2025-27 11/11 pure, full, well-shaped 
**** Cave La Vinsobraise Therapius 2023-25 10/12 wholesome, balance, oak
**** Domaine du Moulin Charles Joseph 2024-25 10/12 style, balance, fluid gras
**** Domaine du Moulin V Vignes Jean Vinson 2018-19 10/12 generous, wide, STGT
**** Famille Perrin Les Cornuds  2023-24 11/11 clean Syrah, honest 
***(*) Cave La Vinsobraise Diamant Noir 2019-20 10/12 local colour; gd Vinso
***(*) Château de Rouanne 2019-20 10/12 fresh, tight, no-nonsense
***(*) Domaine de Deurre Les Oliviers 2021-22 10/12 tasty, fluid, firm
***(*) Domaine Jaume Référence 2026-27 10/12 full scale, dense
***(*) Lombard & Poulet Délectabilis 2019-21 03/15 balance, style, clear
***(*) Domaine du Moulin Cuvée + + 2021-22 10/12 clear fruit; smoked oak
         

2. 2010 GIGONDAS REDS

In its short life, 2010 Gigondas has already demonstrated two phases that may seem conflicting, but in reality bode extremely well for the future. The first was the chubby-cheeked flush of fruit, sweetness and near-lyrical appeal, seasoned with the clarity that is the hallmark of 2010 and its  cool nights. Early praise of the vintage may even have suggested that this would be their eternal destiny, that the wines might even slip early into dips and tapered finishes, lacking the essential structure for the long road.

But of course natural balance from the grapes at harvest time, not cellar technique, will always prevail in allowing wines to take their own free course and to develop more intricate qualities. And balance in 2010 is supreme, fostered by the steady cycle of ripening, without the jarring late surge of high August heat that put its stamp on 2009, for instance.

The second phase thus entered stage left about 18 months after the harvest, marked by wines tightening, bouquets becoming surly and tucked up, and palate flavours edging towards more grainy and less immediately agreeable features. On the surface, there was a reduced display, and a more stingy fullness in these wines - their lack of expression could be taken for a loss of quality, and people might have been left wondering why they had received such previous acclaim.

I recall the development of the best vintages from my youth - 1978 and 1981, for reference, say. 1978 was demonstrably a top vintage when tasting it from vat or cask - balance and stuffing, a gorgeous full content, were its come hithers; also, in an age when colour levels were much more variable than they are now, their robes were deep. But 1978 then took on a more sinewed, closed life, and moved into denser waters, with greater complexity building up over its first decade. There was a stately aspect about the fruit from the start - and remember that very few domaines then practised destemming, so expectations were comfortably assuaged by the integration and roundness of the matter in the young wines.

1981 was an Enfant Terrible at the outset - a good example of a slow-burn year which started with bracing acidity and a ripening season that had not been straightforward. The boldness of the tannins and the pebbly texture of these wines in their youth made them awkward to appreciate, and their high acidity, rather like a typical so-so year in Burgundy, actually underpinned their eventual performance and development. 1981 blossomed gloriously after eight years, by the early 1990s, and was a vintage of much character, a sort of ground force. Throughout its life, however, 1978 has certainly possessed better balance than 1981, and I rate 2010 in the 1978 category - one of the best three vintages since I started visiting the Rhône in 1973 (1990 is the other - the Saint Gayan 1990 tasted like a wine 10 years old in July 2012, for example).

This is high praise, and Rhône enthusiasts must by now be well aware of my desire to have lots of 2010 in my cellar, perhaps a little more from the Northern Rhône than the Southern Rhône. Gigondas is a late ripening zone so its 2010 freshness is integral to it, and will allow the wines to develop extremely well over 20 years or more. Its balance beats that of the more lusty, power-packed 2009, but do not underestimate the ability of this vintage to not only age well, but also to gain in dimension over time.  

Winter 2009-10 had been severe, the coldest for some years, with snow in January and March, but then helpful rain followed in the spring, allowing some recuperation of the water table after the dry conditions prevalent during the summer of 2009. This top-up of water in the subsoils played a strong role in allowing the vines to take a steady course during their ripening season.

2010 is not a vintage that features a lot of Grenache - a near tank full of it - due to the dodgy, very cool weather of June. Louis Barruol hosts a classical music concert in June at Château Saint Cosme, with Parisian stars present, and this year few attendees remained al fresco rather than huddling in his open-sided barn come the second act - and they were wrapped up in alpaca, Merino wool, you name it, as the frozen musicians gamely played on.

Daniel Brunier of Les Pallières stated: "the wind was an early season problem, with a very cold Mistral in mid-June. Gigondas was worse hit than Châteauneuf because it is behind in the cycle, and a lot of Grenache flowers were lost this year with coulure." Dominique Ay of Domaine Raspail-Ay commented: "the crop hasn`t been big; the mountain people are better off than those lower down this year - they had less coulure since their flowering came in the warmer weather." Louis Barruol himself found some consolation: "the old Grenache hadn`t flowered at the time of the cold in June, so it was OK, luckily enough." I consider this delayed feature to have played a very important role in aiding the quality of the vintage.

However, by late June, the vineyard was two weeks behind, according to Jean-Pierre Meffre of Domaine Saint Gayan, with very irregular quantities across any single plot. "I am still not sure if the bunches will develop," he reported at that time. His vineyards high at 400 metres, Jean-Christian Mayordome, the General Practitioner doctor owner of Domaine du Pourra, pointed to this delay in the cycle of 2010: "we were always three weeks behind this year, especially because of our altitude. The cold came before our flowering, which was obviously a relief."

Summer temperatures were sensible, not extreme, with the fresh nights contributing to the balance in the grapes; the story of the 2005, 2007 and 2009 vintages had lent more towards asking growers about the blockage in their vines, with sugars built up, but tannic ripeness lagging. Drought and extended days of high heat create this situation, but while the summer was dry, the high heat was absent. Indeed, this year the ensemble of sugars and tannins presented a duet, so there were few awkward blips to upset the steady advance of the vineyards.

On 6 September, Jean-Pierre Meffre of Domaine Saint Gayan told me he was happy with events thus far: "the crop is pretty, there is no trace of rot - it is very healthy. We were helped at Gigondas by our rainfall of 28-30mm (1.2 inches) on 15 August - the grapes would have been in trouble but for that. Acidity levels are also very good - a result of the hot days but cool to cold nights this year. In the second half of August, we were having days at 28-30°C, but mornings at 10-11°C - these levels of acidity will also help us to resist rot," he stated.

Between 6 and 8 September, there was some serious rain: Daniel Brunier of Les Pallières reported shortly afterwards on September 10: "we had 80mm (3.2 inches) of rain on 6-8 September, after 30mm (1.2 inches) at the end of August. The rain was less stormy than at Châteauneuf-du-Pape - it was a finer, slower rain, so there was less trauma for the vines. On 6 September before the rain, the Grenache at Pallières was 14.4° - now we will probably delay our harvesting for at least a week; the soil has clay there, and doesn`t drain as well as at Châteauneuf. The Mistral today is strong, around 60km an hour, and it is about 24°C." 

The first harvesting started in mid-September, led by the more precocious zones near the Ouvèze. Growers were not compelled to hurry, with ripening creeping forward. Jean-Michel Vache, of the excellent value Clos des Cazaux observed: "you had to pick late at Gigondas; because it was not a hot year - the vines took their time. There has been a lot of malic acidity, so it has been best to wait. Our yields are higher than at Vacqueyras thanks to less coulure."

Dominique Ay of Raspail-Ay reflected: "it`s taken time for the crop to be ripe this year. My average degree is 14.2°. It will be a year of under 30 hl/ha, like 2009. Colours are good on the Grenache and on the Syrah."

At the end of the first week of October, Jean-Baptiste Meunier, skilful owner of Moulin de la Gardette informed me: "we have very healthy grapes, very good colour in the wines. There was some coulure. I find it similar to 2007. We have more crop this year since we suffered from hail in 2009. The Grenache needed time to get together - its ripening was not blocked, but it went very slowly. The Syrah is appealing and fresh this year. If acidities remain good post malolactic fermentation, we could be exceptional in 2010. I finish harvesting tomorrow on 9 October, with luck."

As the wines took shape over the winter, there were happy sounds coming out of Gigondas. Yves Gras of Domaine Santa Duc said: "we did not have strong heat, and the wines are very aromatic. That was helped by the large difference between the nights and the days during the summer. We find the cool nights helped the finesse of the tannin and the aroma, as well as the purity of the wine. We also had a storm in August that did not hit my vineyards at Rasteau, so we were also helped by that, with the vines not suffering."

Eric Ughetto of Domaine La Roubine was content in March 2011, when he told me: "2010 has a jolie base - good tannins, attractive concentration, the wine can keep, and is easy to taste today. It was very easy to vinify, all in order." Annie Saurel of Domaine Saint Damien pointed to its exuberance: "2010 has explosive fruit - it is less marked in alcohol than 2009," while Matthieu Boutière of Domaine du Pesquier remarked: "2010 is superior to 2009 - there is more concentration, and it is also better than 2007, which lacked a bit of typicity. The tannins are round, and there is a combination of finesse and solid power together."

Comparisons with other vintages often throw up diverse views, but accord about 2010`s genuinely high quality was clear. Jean-Pierre Meffre of Domaine Saint Gayan: "I have never seen such a combination of ripeness and freshness - the freshness of the nights was great, with the maximum only up to 18-20°C through most of the summer. The climate helped us to have 15° wines with good freshness in them. I find 2007 very tiring - 2010 is the reverse of that year."

Dominique Ay reached for a grandiose year in his comparison: "I regard 2010 as similar to 1990 - in terms of matter, colour and good ripeness. I have never seen such a low yield in 30 years, because I have a lot of old vines, and there were bunches with only 10 grapes on them. The quality of the grapes in 2010 was very good." Louis Barruol of Château Saint Cosme concurred when saying: "I thought of our parents` vintages this year - it is a top vintage of balance, and resembles 1990."

Pierre Amadieu, a fervent supporter of 2007, still praised 2010: "I find 2010 similar to 2007, which I idealise, and it has a bit less matter than 2007. I regard 2010 as a touch inferior because of that - 2007 has been my best success." Thiérry Faravel of Domaine La Bouïssière was referring to the style of 2010 when placing it in this context: "I compare 2010 to 2001," he said, with the fresh snap of both years in his mind.

After many tastings of 2010s, I have a few observations on the year at Gigondas, one of the first being that of simply enjoying the wines, a straightforward but highly important feature. They do not overpower, nor do they pose the sort of drinking challenge that years such as 2007 placed before drinkers. They have a free spirit, and can over time enhance dinners and conversation, with their drinkability a prominent card. Their colour is sustained throughout the appellation - a healthy depth across the different terroirs.

An aspect of the freshness is that of finding menthol in the wines -  a classic association this year; tannins are often crunchy, and energetic from half way along the palate. A few showed very well melded, near soft tannins when young, with some "teeth" on the finish - greater assertion there. A lot of pine could be found initially.

The Tradition, classic wines I find better value than many Châteauneuf-du-Pape reds, which can have been robbed of their jewels by the ubiquitous Prestige wines. It is a high quality Grenache year; if the Syrah was too ripe, it baked the wines, but when it is balanced in 2010, it is an excellent, loose-limbed contributor to the dash and flair of the wines.

The first signs of evolution came in March 2012, after the intensely cold 10 day snap of February, 2012. Textures started to change noticeably, with a closing down of the gourmandise and plump matter of the early days. Tannins had become more prominent, more intrusive, while bouquets had stiffened and were not revealing anything like the same gusto of fruit as they had in the first 18 months.

This is a vintage that will emerge into a bonny zone which combines tension, solid fruit, good tannic structure, and the all-embracing "clack" of the finish. I would not be in any hurry to drink them this year, and feel that they will start to strut their stuff with a certain pomp from 2014, the biggest wines such as La Font de Tonin from Bouissïere, the Santa Duc Prestige des Hautes Garrigues or the Roubine all being well left until 2015-16. Gigondas 2010: highly recommended.

By way of comparison with the most successful recent vintages, here is how 2010 stacks up against 2009 and 2007.

  2010  2009 2007 
6 stars  02     
5 stars  21 12  02 
4.5 stars  34  17  05 
4 stars  31 17  28 
3.5 stars  17  16  17 
3 stars  05  12  19 
       

On a final cross comparison between vintages, here are the STGT wines from the last 5 vintages of GIGONDAS: 2010 = 5, 2009 = 7, 2008 = 5, 2007 = 6, 2006 = 8. 2008 shows well, with an agreeable approachability in the wines of this underestimated vintage, which is gaining depth as it ages. 

LEADING 2010 GIGONDAS REDS

****** Chât de Saint Cosme Hominis Fides 2035-38 12/11 lovely clarity, stylish
******  Famille Perrin Vieilles Vignes  2030-32  11/11  Grand Vin, ace 
******  Dom Saint Damien Les Souteyrades  2028-30  12/11  class; more local 17 on 
*****  Pierre Amadieu Grande Romane  2030-32  12/11  rich; polished fruit 
*****  Pierre Amadieu Le Pas de l`Aigle  2033-35  12/11  fine, long; clear fruit 
*****  Pierre Amadieu Romane Machotte  2033-35  12/11  big flavour, VALUE 
*****  Arnoux & Fils THE GIG 2028-30  12/11  class fruit; GT VALUE 
*****  Louis Bernard   2030-32  12/11  slinky appeal; elegant 
*****  Brotte Vieilles Vignes  2030-32  12/11  long richness 
*****  Château Redortier  2031-33  12/11  big, rich; STGT 
***** Château de Saint Cosme Le Poste 2034-37 12/11 direct, flinty, Burgundian
*****  Château de Saint Cosme Valbelle 2031-33  01/12  deep nose; swift fruit 
***** Clos du Joncuas 2030-32 10/17 style, balance, abundance
*****  Domaine La Bouïssière Tradition 2032-34  12/11  bounty; cool, typical 
*****  Cave de Gigondas Référence 2030-32  12/11  lissom style; STGT 
*****  Dauvergne Ranvier Vin Rare  2030-32  12/11  King of Jungle, thorough 
*****  Dom du Grapillon d`Or Excellence  2029-31  12/11  classy fruit; round 
*****  Mas des Restanques  2030-32  12/11  discreet concentration 
*****  Gabriel Meffre Laurus  2031-33  12/11  precise, Burgundian 
*****  Montirius Confidentiel  2031-33  12/11  grounded; v gd Grenche 
***** Domaine Saint Gayan Tradition 2035-37 12/12 fruit flair; ace balance
*****  Domaine Saint Gayan Fontmaria  2032-34  12/12  long, stylish, big flavour 
***** Domaine Santa Duc Tradition 2030-33 11/13 up frm ***(*); mighty
*****  Domaine Bertrand Stehelin  2031-33  12/11  big potential; v long 
*****  Bertrand Stehelin Syrah Pénelope   2032-34  12/11  dark; full-on, not OTT
*****  Skalli Caves Saint-Pierre Preference  2026-28  12/11  harmony, elegance 
***** Dom Les Teyssonnières Alexandre 2042-44 10/18 silk, strength, shape, pedigree
****(*)  Ch de Montmirail Cuvée Beauchamp 2030-32  12/11  tasty, genuine, long 
****(*)  Château Raspail  2027-29  12/11  plum fat; pleasing 
****(*) Château de Saint Cosme Le Claux 2033-35 12/11 fresh, can be elegant 
****(*)  Château de Saint Cosme Tradition  2028-30  01/12  STGT wine, bang on 
****(*)  Dom Brusset Le Grand Montmirail  2028-30  12/11  drive, lift; smoky fruit 
****(*)  Dom Brusset Hauts de Montmirail  2027-29  12/11  packed, grounded 
****(*)  Domaine de Cabasse   2027-29  12/11  ripe fruit; pine-menthol 
****(*)  Domaine Les Chênes Blancs 2031-34  12/11  essential power 
****(*)  Romain Duvernay  2028-30  12/11  uplifting drinking 
****(*)  Domaine des Espiers Tradition  2026-27  12/11  balance, ripe Grenache 
****(*)  Domaine Font Sarade Les Pigières 2024-26  12/11  fluid fruit, energy; w.o.w. 
****(*)  Domaine La Fourmone Fauquet  2030-32  12/11  quiet, full, long 
****(*) Domaine La Garrigue 2031-33 10/12 full scale, well drawn
****(*) E.Guigal 2032-34 05/13 6 pack torso; fresh
****(*)  Domaine Les Goubert  2028-31  12/11  authentic, good variety 
****(*)  Dom du Grand Bourjassot Cecile  2029-31  12/11  gd heart; lot of flavour 
****(*)  Dom du Grapillon d`Or 1806  2030-33  12/11  texture, plenty 
****(*)  Lavau  2028-29  12/11  wavy fruit, firm tannin 
****(*)  Domaine La Ligière  2023-25  05/12  STGT; complete 
****(*)  Domaine de Longue Toque  2030-32  12/11  big fruit; good fire 
****(*)  Mas des Flauzières Grande Réserve  2031-33  12/11  trad body; genuine 
****(*)  Gabriel Meffre Sainte Catherine  2028-30  12/11  polished, rich, juiced 
****(*)  Notre Dame des Pallières Mourres  2030-31  12/11  true density; big, oak 
****(*)  Ogier Oratorio  2030-32  12/11  serious structure; long 
****(*)  Dom Paillère et Pied Gu Tradition  2032-34  12/11  oakd Syrah; fine matter 
****(*)  Domaine Les Pallières Les Racines 2033-35  12/12  stylish depth; fine fruit 
****(*) Les Pallières Terrasse du Diable 2030-33 12/12 frm ***(*); slow gainer 
****(*)  Domaine des Pasquiers  2025-27  12/11  tasty, dark, authentic 
****(*)  Famille Perrin Clos des Tourelles  2031-33  11/11  fine Gigondas, complex 
****(*)  Domaine du Pesquier  2026-29  03/11  gt balance, cf 1985 
****(*)  Domaine Raspail-Ay  2028-30  12/11  harmonious, drinkable 
****(*)  Domaine La Roubine  2032-34  12/11  charged, plenty wine 
****(*)  Dom Saint Damien La Louisiane  2031-32  12/11  ample; imposing style 
****(*)  Dom Saint Damien Vieilles Vignes  2029-31  12/11  elegance, harmony 
****(*)  Dom St François Xavier Tour l`Isle  2027-28  12/11  dark, silken, fresh 
****(*) Santa Duc Prestige Htes Garrigues 2033-35 12/12 solid, chiselled, big
****  Arnoux Chapelle Saint-Arnoux  2026-28  12/11  inky depth; potential 
****  Arnoux Seigneur de Lauris  2027-29  12/11  modern; gras, oak 
****  Louis Bernard Dom Carbonnières 2030-31  12/11  plenty wine 
****  Cave de Gigondas Brut du Foudre  2029-30  12/11  tasty fruit, promise 
****  Ch Redortier Cuvée Deux Cousins   2029-31  12/11  compact, stuffed; Syrah 
****  Dauvergne Ranvier Grand Vin  2028-29  12/11  charge, content; time 
**** Domaine des Bosquets 2032-34 12/12 dark, modern, cellar
****  Dom La Bouïssière Font de Tonin 2030-32  12/11  fat, sleek; time 
****  Dom du Bois Mèges Pierre Céleste  2026-27  12/11  supple fruit; pine notes 
****  Dom des Bosquets Le Lieu Dit  2028-30  12/11  fresh, gras; no hurry 
****  Domaine du Cayron  2026-28  12/11  pine flavour; supple 
****  Domaine de la Daysse  2026-28  12/11  will sing from 2015 
****  Dom des Espiers Cuvée Blâches  2026-29  12/11  modern, solid 
****  Grand Veneur Terrasses Montmirail  2027-29  12/11  big; tasty bundle 
****  Montirius Terre des Aînés 2027-29  12/11  lots of flavour; STGT 
****  Pierre-Henri Morel  2027-29  12/11  good, running fruit 
****  Moulin de la Gardette Tradition  2032-34  12/11  spiced; quiet pedigree 
****  Dom Notre Dame des Pallières 2026-28  12/11  soft, generous 
****  Ogier Duc de Mayreuil  2026-27  12/11  suave, textured 
****  Domaine de Montvac Adage  2027-28  12/11  supple gras, tasty 
****  Domaine d`Ouréa 2029-30  12/11  character, intensity 
****  Domaine Paillère et Pied-Gû  2030-31  12/11  chunky, raw goods 
****  Domaine Palon  2027-28  12/11  juiced fruit, oak 
****  Famille Perrin La Gille  2027-30  11/11  sleek, intricate 
****  Domaine de Piaugier  2029-32  12/11  aromatic; fine fruit 
****  St François Xavier Prestige Dentelles 2027-29  12/11  aromatic; snappy 
**** Dom Saint Gayan In Nomine Patris 2035-37 12/12 muscular, intense
****  Skalli Duc de Montfort  2026-28  12/11  fine, fleshy, appealing 
****  Domaine du Terme white label  2027-29  12/11  safe, fine, elegant 
**** Domaine Les Teyssonnières 2038-40 10/18 full heart, big, silken
****  Domaine de la Tourade  2029-31  12/11  spiced; kick, character 
***(*)  Arnoux Le Vieux Clocher  2022-24  12/11  careful blackberry; value 
***(*)  La Bastide Saint Vincent  2027-29  12/11  fluid raspberry 
***(*)  M.Chapoutier  2026-28  12/11  clear fruit, breezy 
***(*)  Ch Croix des Pins dessous Dentlles 2020-21  02/12  pure, clear 
***(*)  Château du Trignon   2025-26  12/11  herbs, pine, texture 
***(*)  Domaine de Durban  2023-24  12/11  sound, can interest 
***(*)  Domaine des Florets Suprème 2027-28  12/11  overtly modern; oak 
***(*)  Gonnet Selection  2019-20  11/11  fun wine; has cut 
***(*)  Domaine Les Goubert Florence  2033-34  12/11  soaked; weighty 
***(*)  Domaine du Grand Bourjassot  2026-28  12/11  raw, wild, punchy 
***(*)  Mas des Flauzières Four Danuga 2023-25  12/11  plump Grenache; correct 
***(*)  Mas des Flauzières Terra Rosso  2028-29  12/11  cellar asserted; oak 
***(*)  Moulin de la Gardette Ventabren  2024-26  12/11  baked; review in bottle
***(*)  Longue Toque Hommage G Meffre  2026-28  12/11  plump; ripe emphasis 
***(*)  Domaine du Pourra  2023-25  03/11  pine; gras, promise 
***(*)  Dom du Pourra La Réserve 2030-31  12/11  unbridled, kick; coated 
***(*)  Domaine Saint Gayan Tradition  2031-33  12/11  metropolitan now; time 
***  Domaine de l`Espigouette  2018-19  07/11  precise, balanced 
***  Dom du Gour de Chaulé red 2024-25  12/11  aromatic; simple fruit 
***  Dom du Gour de Chaulé rosé    03/11  clear, w.o.w. 
***  Vignerons Caractère Dom l Maurelle 2023-24  12/11  compact, correct 
***  Vins de Vienne Les Pimpignoles  2026-27  12/11  direct, cutting 

3. 2010 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE WHITES

2010`s freshness helped make the white wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape very approachabile and drinkable at an early stage in 2010. While working on them over the winter of 2011-12, I also had a look at quite a few 2009 whites for back reference. The latter had grown up big time, and had blossomed into extremely well filled food wines in many instances - a good choice on a restaurant list, for example, able to pair many thorough flavours. The early power statement of the 2009s had eased off as the wines integrated their initially pushy content.

For now, 2010 whites deliver a breezy clarity, with the definite promise of more to come from their regularly ripe content. It is no surprise to hear growers such as Sophie Armenier of Domaine de Marcoux state that ""2010 has more minerality than 2009. 2009 was more rich, explosive, more on the gras." She added that her white yields in 2010 were double those of the red - 25 hl/ha.

Bruno Le Roy of Château Fortia commented in similar vein: "the freshness and acidity are good, too, for both reds and whites in 2010. The whites are well fresh."

The matter was rich, so these are not just One Trick wines that will fade - they are southern, and their early lack of guile will give way to a more serious, stamina-filled nature as they age. To illustrate this, Stéphane Usseglio of Domaine Raymond Usseglio, told me: "it took one month to ferment my white this year - the 2009 only took two weeks."

The 2010 balance is superior to that of 2009, and I find the word "classy" used in several of my tasting notes. As with the reds, it is a vintage to buy, although prices are always a little ahead of the reds, and white Châteauneuf cannot be considered a bargain these days. Maybe at auction, for bottles that exceed 8 or 10 years, prices can be fair. But expect to pay at least $35 or £20+ for these wines as a start point. My observation is that they reward patient cellaring, and also are eminently capable of raising the tenor of a good dinner through their intricate qualities that develop over time. They have that surprise factor that inspires guests only partly interested in wine, for instance, and turn on those that habitually shun white Rhône.

Château Rayas 2010 blanc is exemplary, a real knock-out, while the Beaucastel Vieilles Vignes, even if just one special occasion bottle is bought, would make a treat for anyone. Drink it, after 10 years or more, though.

I notice a high degree - 14.5° on the label, which can mean proximity to 15° on some wines, and I also noticed this spring that some of the Prestige wines that involved oak had become pesky and reticent; pesky meaning a lack of integration, the fruit in the back of the wine rather the front. Some of these wines hold a red wine shape, and will be needing cellaring until anytime around 2016-17. Decanting will always help to liberate them, but expect concentration in the glass.

I would back the best bottles of 2010 Châteauneuf-du-Pape white to still be wowing people with their richness and elegance in 20 years time, so any forgetful owners need not be dismayed if one or two bottles find their way to the back of your cellar.  

LEADING 2010 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE WHITES

******  Château de Beaucastel Vlles Vignes  2036-38  11/11  serene, velvet 
*****  Bosquet des Papes  2023-25  02/12  STGT; gras, style 
*****  Château de Beaucastel  2028-30  11/11  elegant, unhurried 
*****  Château Rayas 2035-37  12/11  character, gt length 
***** Clos des Papes 2028-30 12/12 improver; plenty here
*****  Domaine de Marcoux  2021-22  03/11  a beauty 
***** Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe 2028-31 09/12 good for palate + mind
****(*)  M.Chapoutier La Bernadine  2020-22  06/11  STGT; southern foods 
****(*)  Château de la Font du Loup  2023-24  12/11  gd appeal; local dishes 
****(*)  Dom de Beaurenard Boisrenard  2022-25  02/12  classy, balance, oak 
****(*)  Domaine Chante Cigale  2019-21  04/11  class, balance 
****(*)  Domaine Comte de Lauze  2019-21  12/11  class nose, fine palate 
****(*)  Dom de Cristia Vieilles Vignes  2022-24  02/12  high grade; stylish 
****(*)  Domaine de Fontavin  2023-24  12/11  rich, power; also fine 
****(*)  Domaine de la Janasse  2021-22  02/12  serene, classy 
****(*)  Pères de l'Eglise Calice St Pierre  2023-24  12/11  gd mix of gras and cut 
****(*)  Domaine Pierre Usseglio  2018-19  12/11  fine, very likeable 
****(*)  Raymond Usseglio et Fils Roussanne  2022-24  02/12  interesting; joli heart 
****  Château des Fines Roches   2021-22  12/11  subtle darkness; foods
****  Château de la Gardine   2018-19  02/12  ace aperitif 
****  Château Maucoil Trésor des Papes   2022-23  02/12  depth, light touch 
****  Château La Nerthe  2019-21  07/11  unctuous; supple gras 
****  Le Cellier des Princes  2018-20  12/11  good gras; grip 
****  Domaine Pierre André  2020-22  03/11  expressive, pretty 
****  Domaine de Beaurenard  2026-28  12/11  solid; built to last 
**** Domaine Bois de Boursan 2026-29 12/11 deep gras; traditional
****  Domaine des Chanssaud  2020-22  12/11  stylish gras; local 
****  Dom de la Charbonnière 2020-21  02/12  sophisticated, modern 
****  Domaine de Cristia  2022-23  12/11  fresh, firm 
****  Domaine de la Croze Granier Elise 2020-22  12/11  muscled; rich foods 
****  Domaine Font de Michelle  2019-20  12/11  stylish gras; long 
****  Domaine du Grand Tinel  2023-25  12/11  fine, interestng; value 
****  Dom Mathieu Marquis A Mathieu  2022-24  12/11  genuine; good gras 
****  Domaine de Saint Paul  2023-24  12/11  STGT; chunky, long 
****  Domaine des Saumades  2020-22  12/11  gd palate run; plenty 
****  Domaine de la Solitude  2021-22  12/11  gd balance, simplicity 
***(*)  Chât Beauchêne Vigne de la Serrière  2019-20  12/11  elegant; round gras 
***(*)  Château Fortia   2021-23  12/11  compact richness 
***(*)  Château Jas de Bressy 2022-24  12/11  fleshy, textured 
***(*)  Château de Vaudieu 2021-22  02/12  deep; sauced foods 
***(*)  Clos La Roquète  2020-21 11/11  broad, long; charm 
***(*)  Dom de la Côte de l`Ange  2023-24  12/11  dense heart; chunky 
***(*)  Dom Patrice Magni   2022-23  12/11  fine and clear 
***(*)  Dom Patrice Magni Roussanne  2021-23  12/11  fat; mature richness 
***(*)  Domaine Mathieu  2022-23  12/11  high fruit; closed 
***(*)  Domaine Monpertuis  2022-23  12/11  mineral, clear, value 
***(*)  Domaine de Nalys  2021-22  12/11  bracing; apero, value 
***(*)  Domaine de Nalys Eicelènci 2020-22  02/12  reserved, graceful 
***(*)  Dom Raymond Usseglio et Fils  2018  03/11  stylish; aperitif OK 
***(*)  Le Vieux Donjon  2018-20  03/11  soft, fresh 
*** Pierre Amadieu La Paillousse 2019 10/12 solid; oak touches
*** Ch La Nerthe Clos Beauvenir 2020-22  02/12  exotic, qte long, dumb 
***  Clos du Mont Olivet  2021-23  12/11  reserved; slow gras 
***  Clos de l`Oratoire des Papes  2017-18  09/11  low acidity; safe CdP 
***  Clos Saint Jean  2019-21  12/11  scaled; curry avec this 
***  Clos Saint-Michel  2018-19  04/11  traditional, sturdy 
***  Albin Jacumin Bégude des Pepes 2018  12/11  mild, friendly 
***  Dom Grand Veneur La Fontaine  2024-26  12/11  less oak from 2016 
***  Domaine Lou Fréjau 2019-21  12/11  concentratd fruit; food 
***  Dom Julien Masquin Montplaisir  2020-21  02/12  suave, sure, potential 
***  Domaine La Mereuille  2016-17  12/11  mild gras, sweet infill 
*** Antoine Ogier Bois de Pied Redal   2015-16  04/11  smooth heart, candy 
***  Domaine du Pegau  2016  03/11  fresh, free, light gras
***  Domaine de la Roncière 2022-24  12/11  grounded, firm 
***  Dom des 3 Cellier L`Insolente  2019-20  12/11  dense, bit tannic 
***  Domaine du Vieux Lazaret  2018-20  12/11  subdued but full 

  

4. 2010 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE REDS

LEADING 2010 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE REDS

******  Château de Beaucastel 2038-40  11/11  great; mix of 89 & 90 
******  Château Rayas 2042-45  12/11  reserved; notable 
******  Clos des Papes 2044-48  11/13  magic fruit; v long, beats 1990
******  Cuvée du Vatican Château Sixtine 2032-34  12/11  elegant, accomplished 
******  Dom de la Charbonnière L`Envol 2032-34  12/11  enthusiastic, open 
****** Domaine Charvin 2033-35 12/12 STGT; classy, full, complex
******  Domaine du Pegaü Da Capo 2034-36  02/12  class, concentration, life 
******  Domaine Roger Sabon Prestige  2033-35  12/11  excitement, drive 
****** Dom du Vieux Télégraphe La Crau 2041-44 12/12 strong, purposeful; like 1978
*****  Bastide Saint Dominique Hespèrides 2030-32  12/11  beauty, harmony 
***** Les Cailloux  2032-35 11/13 balance, will rock, STGT
*****  M.Chapoutier Barbe Rac  2032-34  12/11  up frm ***(*); v solid 
*****  Bosquet des Papes Chante le Merle  2031-34  12/11  wide, tasty, fluid 
***** Domaine Barville Optimum  2031-33 10/13 up frm ***; rich clarity
*****  Chât Beauchêne Grande Réserve  2029-31  12/11  coating content; €18    
*****  Château Font du Loup Le Château  2028-30  12/11  generous; modern 
***** 

Chât La Nerthe Cuvée des Cadettes

2031-33  12/11  finesse; sleek gras 
*****  Château de Vaudieu Val de Dieu 2028-30  12/11  plump, gourmand 
*****  Clos du Caillou Les Quartz 2029-32  12/11  fine richness; fresh end 
*****  Clos du Mont Olivet Cuvée Papet 2032-35  12/11  pure, fine 
*****  Clos Saint Jean Combe des Fous  2032-34  12/11  weighty; offers a lot 
*****  Clos Saint Jean Sanctus Sanctorum   2033-36  12/11  serious structure, deep 
*****  Cuvée du Vatican  2027-28  12/11  STGT; lots of appeal 
***** Domaine Pierre André  2037-39 02/18 thick content, very fine juice
***** Domaine Lucien Barrot et Fils 2030-32 10/13 STGT; v long, expressive 
*****  Dom Boutinière Grande Réserve 2029-30  12/11  pedigree, subtle 
***** Les Cailloux Cuvée Centenaire  2034-36 12/12 noble, traditional, vigorous
*****  Dom La Celestière Deux Domaines 2033-35  12/11  natural abundance; v gd 
***** Domaine Chante Cigale 2030-32 04/13 ace STGT, MUST BUY for that
*****  Dom Chante Cigale Vieilles Vignes 2028-31  12/11  harmony; juice, appeal 
*****  Dom Charbonnière Htes Brusquières 2033-36  12/11  genuine; complete 
***** Dom Charbonnière Mourre Perdrix 2034-37 10/15 savoury, long, broad, STGT
*****  Dom Côte de l`Ange Vieilles Vignes  2030-32  12/11  wide, continuous 
*****  Dm Font de Michelle Etienne Gonnet 2029-31  11/11  balance, v long 
*****  Dm Font d Michelle Elegance Jeanne 2030-32  11/11  classic, silken 
*****  Domaine de la Graveirette  2030-32  05/12  classy, fresh, surfing 
*****  Olivier Hilaire Petits Pieds d`Armand 2028-29  12/11  generous appeal 
*****  Domaine de la Janasse Chaupin 2032-33  12/11  cool, closed, persistent 
***** Domaine de Marcoux 2030-32 09/12 up frm 4 strs; Rodin quality
*****  Dom de la Mordorée Reine des Bois  2027-29  02/12  big coating; balance 
*****  Dom du Pegaü Cuvée Réservée 2029-31  02/12  floral, classy 
*****  Dom de la Roncière Louis Geoffrey 2029-31  12/11  slinky; whole bunches 
*****  Dom Saint Préfert Auguste Favier 2028-31  12/11  character, authentic 
*****  Pierre Usseglio Deux Frères 2030-32  12/11  solid, generous 
***** Dom Vieille Julienne Les Hauts-lieux 2034-36 12/12 knit, mysterious; big end fruit
***** Dom Vieille Julienne Les Trois Sources 2034-36 12/12 stylish, classy, pure
****(*)  Dom de Beaurenard Boisrenard  2030-33  12/11  chunky, savoury 
****(*)  Dom Bois de Boursan Cuvée Félix  2031-33  12/11  from 15 for ensemble 
****(*) Le Bois Pointu 2031-33 11/15 grounded, expressive, long
****(*)  Brotte Cuvée Prestige  2027-28  12/11  traditional, STGT, fat 
****(*)  Chât Beauchêne Vigns de Serrière  2028-30  12/11  spiced gras; gd VALUE at €15 
****(*)  Château Cabrières Prestige 2029-32  12/11  gd class fruit; soaked 
****(*)  Château Fortia Réserve    2028-30  12/11  chubby, Pinot-like Syrah 
****(*)  Château de la Gardine 2026-28  12/11  pleasure; gt resto wine 
****(*)  Château de la Gardine Générations 2029-32  12/11  oaked; shiny fruit 
****(*)  Château Gigognan Cardinalice 2029-31  12/11  big nose, fine palate 
****(*)  Château Maucoil Privilège 2030-32  12/11  character; good gras 
****(*)  Clos du Caillou La Réserve 2029-31  12/11  clean living; precise 
****(*)  Clos Saint Michel Grand Vin  2034-36 09/16 handsome, full, balanced
****(*)  Domaine La Barroche Signature  2027-29  12/11  genuine, accomplished 
****(*)  Domaine Barville  2027-29  12/11  good Syrah lift 
****(*)  Dom Côte de l`Ange Secret l'Ange 2032-34  12/11  dark wine; time 
****(*)  Domaine de Cristia  2024-26  12/11  v pleasing, silken 
****(*)  Domaine Duclaux  2027-29  12/11  well-filled, joli 
****(*) Eddie Féraud 2029-31 10/13 STGT; striking; up frm 3.5 stars
****(*)  Dom Galet des Papes Vieilles Vignes 2028-30  12/11  sweet, oily, shapely 
****(*)  Dom Giraud Grenaches de Pierre  2033-34  12/11  generous; exerted 
****(*)  Dom du Grand Tinel Alexis Establet  2027-30  12/11  plump Grenache 
****(*)  Domaine Grand Veneur  2026-28  12/11  very nice drinking 
****(*) E.Guigal 2034-36 10/15 deep, fresh, structured
****(*)  Domaine de la Janasse  2024-26  12/11  truth, harmony 
****(*)  Dom de la Janasse Vieilles Vignes  2032-35  12/11  Regular Guy, improver 
****(*) Domaine de Marcoux Vieilles Vignes  2032-35 09/12 dn frm 5 strs; power
****(*)  Dom Julien Masquin Montplaisir  2023-25  02/12  local, power + elegance 
****(*)  Domaine Mathieu Clos Janette  2030-32  12/11  stylish Syrah; oak 
****(*)  Domaine Mathieu Vin di Felibre  2026-28  12/11  balance, clear, 75% M 
****(*)  Dom de la Mereuille Les Baptaurels  2027-29  12/11  rich, tangy 
****(*)  Domaine de Nalys Le Chataignier  2029-31  12/11  compact, has cut 
****(*)  Pères de l`Eglise Calice St Pierre  2028-29  02/12  interesting; velvet kick 
****(*)  Pères l`Eglise Calice St P Héritage 2028-30  02/12  savoury, thorough 
****(*)  Dom de la Roncière Flor de Ronce 2031-33  12/11  punchy, floral, character 
****(*)  Domaine Roger Sabon Réserve  2031-33  12/11  big scale; plenty 
****(*)  Domaine de Saint-Paul  2024-26  12/11  STGT; free style 
****(*)  Domaine de Saint-Paul Jumille  2025-28  12/11  texture, fruit ripples 
****(*)  Domaine des Sénéchaux 2024-26  02/12  modern, smooth, juicy 
****(*)  Domaine Serguier Révélation 2027-30  12/11  long, v textured 
****(*) Dom de la Solitude Barberini 2036-38 10/15 wide, deep, packed and free 
****(*) Dom de la Solitude Réserve Secrète 2037-40 10/15 thick, intense, sipping wine
****(*)  Dom Pierre Usseglio mon Aiëul 2029-31  12/11  curvy ripeness; enjoy 
****(*)  Raymond Usseglio Cuvée Impériale  2029-31  02/12  wholesome, clear 
****(*) Dom de la Vieille Julienne Réservé 2033-35 12/12 dense coat; smooth, refined
****(*)  Domaine du Vieux Lazaret  2025-27  12/11  highly enjoyable 
****(*)  Mas de Boislauzon Cuvée du Quet  2030-31  12/11  character, satisfying 
****  Dom Albin Jacumin Begude d Papes  2022-23  02/12  clear, bonny 
**** Dom de l'Arnesque Cuvée Capelane 2026-27 12/12 frm **; local, gd traditional
****  La Bastide Saint Dominique  2024-26  01/12  classic, drinkable 
****  Bastide St Dominique Secrets Pignan 2024-26  12/11  regular; up front 
**** Dom de la Biscarelle Les Anglaises 2023-25 12/12 bright fruit, live tannin, frm ***
****  Bosquet d Papes Gloire Grand Père 2028-30  12/11  pretty fruit 
****  Cellier d Princes Hauts des Coteaux  2027-29  12/11  measured power 
****  M.Chapoutier La Bernardine  2027-29  07/11  depth, grounded 
****  Château des Fines Roches 2025-26  12/11  good value 
****  Château Jas de Bressy 2024-25  12/11  notably tasty; buxom 
****  Château Mont-Redon 2035-37 11/16 firm, fresh, flair, time
****  Clos des Brusquières 2028-30  12/11  abundant fruit; roasted 
****  Clos Saint Jean Deus ex Machina  2033-35  12/11  hefty, imposing 
****  Clos Saint Michel Cuvée Réservée 2028-29  12/11  solid by design 
****  Domaine du Banneret  2027-29  12/11  natural, traditional 
****  Domaine de Beaurenard 2025-27  12/11  active fruit; promise 
****  Domaine La Celestière Tradition 2027-28  12/11  full but mobile 
****  Domaine La Celestière La Croze 2030-31  12/11  pushy, plump 
****  Dom de la Charbonnière V Vignes 2033-35  12/11  intense, charged 
****  Domaine de la Côte de l`Ange  2026-28  12/11  power, carry 
****  Domaine de Cristia Renaissance  2032-34  12/11  bigness; nearly sipping 
****  Domaine La Fagotière 2025-26  12/11  direct; 2010 tang 
****  Domaine Font de Michelle  2027-30  11/11  supple, textured 
****  Dom du Galet des Papes Tradition 2026-28  12/11  smooth, baked 
****  Domaine Galévan 2025-27  12/11  plenty going on 
****  Domaine Giraud  2026-28  12/11  character, loose-limbed 
****  Dom Giraud Les Gallimardes  2031-33  12/11  chunky, powerful 
**** Domaine Mathieu 2028-30 12/13 gd Grenache heart, also cool
****  Dom Mathieu Ansèlme Mathieu 2028-30  12/11  drive; scaled up 
****  Dom de Monpertuis Classique  2024-26  12/11  satisfying; fine fruit 
****  Dom Panisse Confdence Vignernne  2030-32  12/11  solid, deep, bit taut 
****  Domaine Porte Rouge  2026-28  12/11  natural; good price 
**** Domaine la Roquète 2027-29 12/12 sound, lacks flair; may return
****  Domaine Jean Royer Tradition  2020-22  02/12  true, supple, floral 
****  Dom St Préfert Charles Giraud 2027-29  12/11  succulent, cellarish 
****  Domaine de Saint Siffrein  2026-28  12/11  genuine; solid character 
****  Domaine Serguier  2024-26  12/11  STGT; round, compact 
****  Fred Stéhélin Cuvée Bertnd Stéhélin  2027-30  12/11  big, dark, genuine 
****  Dom Tour St-Michel Cuvée du Lion 2024-26  12/11  sleek, aromatic 
****  Dom des 3 Cellier Privilège 2029-30  12/11  flashy, soaked 
****  Mas de Boislauzon  2026-28  12/11  v gd Gren core; raw now 
****  Mas de Boislauzon Le Tintot  2030-32  12/11  succulent, oaked 
****  Mas d la Grange Blanche Font Bess  2026-28  12/11  genuine; suave fruit 
****  Le Vieux Donjon  2028-30  12/11  genuine; power simmer 
***(*) Pierre Amadieu La Paillousse 2024-26 10/12 spiced fruit; plain finale, time
***(*) Domaine de la Biscarelle 2023-24 12/12 purposeful, juicy, not scaled
***(*)  Le Bois Pointu  2027-28  12/11  fibre, grain; time 
***(*)  Brotte Vieilles Vignes   2026-27  12/11  cellar forward, upright 
***(*)  M.Chapoutier Croix de Bois  2026-28  12/11  dn frm ****(*); plump 
***(*)  Château Fortia Cuvée du Baron   2027-29  12/11  quite thorough; Syrah 
***(*)  Château Gigognan Clos du Roi 2025-27  12/11  direct, wiry 
***(*)  Château Mont Thabor  2026-28  12/11  the deep south, robust 
***(*)  Château La Nerthe 2026-28  11/11  bourgeois qualities 
***(*)  Château de Vaudieu 2022-25  12/11  steady operator 
***(*)  Château de Vaudieu Amiral G 2027-29  12/11  coated, sweet tooth 
***(*)  Clos du Caillou Tradition  2025-27  12/11  genuine, unfussy, local 
***(*)  Clos du Mont Olivet  2020-22  12/11  pretty; authentic 
***(*)  Clos Saint Jean  2022-24  12/11  pleasing, scented 
***(*)  Clos Saint-Michel Tradition 2023-25  12/11  direct fruiting, spice 
***(*)  Clos Saint Pierre Urbi  2024-26  12/11  high octane; will be OK 
***(*)  Dom Berthet-Rayne Cuvée Cadiac 2031-32  12/11  big oak, Mourvèdre
***(*)  Dom Berthet-Rayne Fût de Chêne 2027-29  12/11  modern, clean 
***(*)  Dom Bois de Boursan Tradition  2027-29  12/11  peppery; slow-burn 
***(*)  Domaine de Ferrand  2024-26  12/11  muscle, mystery 
***(*)  Dom de Fontavin David et Goliath  2024-26  12/11  squeaky clean 
***(*)  Domaine Olivier Hillaire  2020-22  12/11  charm, purity 
***(*)  Domaine Julien Masquin Mémora 2021-22  02/12  drive, punch, cut 
***(*)  Domaine de la Mereuille Tradition 2025-27  12/11  scale, power 
***(*)  Domaine Moulin-Tacussel  2025-28  12/11  STGT; harmony 
***(*)  Domaine de Nalys  2024-25  12/11  grainy; local feel 
***(*)  Famille Perrin Les Sinards  2027-30  12/11  easy going, mainstream 
***(*)  Domaine Le Plan GT-1  2027-29  12/11  big oak, but balance 
***(*) Dom La Roquète Accent de la Rog 2031-33 12/12 from *****; moody phase
***(*)  Domaine des Saumades  2027-28  12/11  sweet, ripe, enclosed 
***(*)  Domaine Pierre Usseglio  2021-23  12/11  round, easy access 
***(*)  Dom Raymond Usseglio et Fils  2021-23  02/12  middle of road, safe 
***(*)  D Tour St Michel Cuvée Deux Soeurs 2024-25  12/11  interesting, authentic 
***(*)  Dom Tour St Michel Féminessence 2028-30  12/11  muscled, assertive 
***(*) Dom Vlle Julienne Jean-Paul Daumen 2023-25 12/12 upright, stiff, dark
***(*)  Dom Vx Télégraphe Télégramme 2021-23  11/11  likeable; early style 
***  Le Cellier des Princes  2025-27  12/11  steel, grip 
***  Cellier d Princes Domaine La Pierre  2024-26  12/11  scaled, modern 
***  Château Cabrières Tradition  2024-26  12/11  masculine, rather local 
***  Château Capucine 2024-26  12/11  modern; oaked Gren 
***  Château Maucoil Tradition 2020-22  12/11  round fruit, tannic snap 
***  Bosquet des Papes Tradition 2020-22  12/11  free rocking 
***  Dom de Cristia Vieilles Vignes  2029-31  12/11  too much effort 
***  Croze Granier Cuvée du Château 2027-29  12/11  scaled, "impressive" 
***  Isabel Ferrando Colombis  2025-26  12/11  oak, bit low-key 
***  Domaine du Grand Tinel  2022-24  12/11  slipalong, comfortable 
***  Domaine La Millière Vieilles Vignes  2019-22  12/11  free fruit, low body now 
***  Domaine Lou Fréjau  2023-25  12/11  Gren plum fruit; grainy 
***  Domaine des 4 Vents  2024-25  12/11  crisp, direct; needs time 
***  Dom de Panisse Noble Révélation 2026-28  12/11  cellar-forward wine 
***  Domaine Roger Sabon Les Olivets  2022-23  12/11  effortless drinking 
***  Mouriesse Vinum Pierre d`Ambre  2026-27  12/11  foot down, scale 
         

5. 2010 CÔTES DU RHÔNE REDS  

It is a great year for these wines. They are often delectably drinkable, and providing you know a grower who is competent, fun and satisfaction are in store. The vignerons and vigneronnes are enthusiastic . . . as am I

ERIC MICHEL of CROS DE LA MÛRE at the MASSIF D'UCHAUX: "2010 is better than 2009 - the wines are more balanced, more silken."

PASCAL CHALON of DOMAINE PASCAL CHALON, maker of CÔTES DU RHÔNE, has his vineyards a little to the east and north of Eric Michel, at Tulette and Visan: "from budding onwards, we were always behind, and never caught up - 7 to 8 days behind the usual date. We had started 2009 on 3 September. We had a lot of coulure - some Grenache plots lost 50%. 2010 is a year of attractive balance, while 2009 is more solar, like 2006. My Grenache 2009 is 16°, my 2010 is 14°."

The wines are extremely concentrated this year, both in the CÔTES DU RHÔNE and CÔTES DU RHONE VILLAGES category. An important reason was pointed out by ANDRÉ BRUNEL of DOMAINE ANDRÉ BRUNEL at CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE, where, like many, he also makes two CÔTES DU RHÔNE reds from the Vaucluse and the Gard Départements, both sides of the River. "The grapes were very small this year – normally bunches are 300-400gm, whereas they were just 200gm this year. Yield was 30 hl/ha, down from the usual 40 hl/ha."

RÉMY KLEIN of the west bank, Gard département DOMAINE LA RÉMÉJEANNE: "2010 is very good, very good - I am confident about that. I am more satisfied with it than 2009 - it has freshness and better acidity than 2009. The tannins are less punchy than 2009, also. It  forms part of the Great Years, which means it could resemble 2001 - it is not far off that."

A little further north, in the southern Ardèche, HÉLÈNE THIBON of MAS DE LIBIAN: "we lost 30% due to coulure (flowers not converting into fruit) on the Grenache. The year was already a fresh one before the rain in early September; luckily, we didn't have the extreme late August heat of 2009. There is an attractive tension in the 2010 reds. There was a particularly slow ripening - so there is a lot of acidity, and the wines were difficult to taste early on because of that acidity."  

Her neighbour CHRISTELLE COULANGE of DOMAINE COULANGE told me: "2010 has better balance than the hot 2009s; fermentations went very quickly - five to six days for the reds and the whites."

Back in the Vaucluse, EMMANUEL REYNAUD of CHÂTEAUX RAYAS and FONSALETTE, the latter his CÔTES DU RHÔNE estate, said: "the first week of October was when we lost the bitterness in our grapes - the Cinsault is now rich, is a marvel. I started to pick on 6 October at Rayas, and the 4 October at Château de Fonsalette."

From the north, JACQUES GRANGE of DELAS tastes and buys a lot of wine for the DELAS SAINT-ESPRIT CÔTES DU RHÔNE red. He informed me: "2010 is un grand vintage, without doubt superior to 2009. Prices are firm - up 10-20% on 2009 for the Côtes du Rhône, Ventoux, Grignan. This is due to a mixture of reasons - the quality, the low quantity, and a campaign by the Côtes du Rhône growers to get a good price, with them declaring that they cannot live on the current prices."

Below is a selection of 2010s that have been encountered en route so far:  

LEADING 2010 CÔTES DU RHÔNE REDS, ROSÉS

*****  Château de Fonsalette  2030-32  12/11  seductive, structured 
*****  Château de Fonsalette Syrah  2034-36  12/11  verve, persistence 
****(*)  Domaine Gourt de Mautens rosé 2020-21  05/12  Real Wine, mighty 
**** La Bastide St Dominique Jules Rochebonne 2018 06/13 up frm 2.5 st; tasty, joli
**** Château de Montfaucon 2018-19 05/13 strong structure, time
**** Chât Saint-Estève d’Uchaux Tradition 2017-18 06/13 Massif Uchaux quality
****  Clos des Grillons Les Terres Blanches  2019-20  03/11  quality, structure 
****  Domaine Nicolas Boiron  2017-18  02/12  thorough; value 
**** Domaine André Brunel Est-Ouest 2023-24 12/12 STGT; v good content
**** Brunel de la Gardine 2018 06/13 full, modern, character, V  
****  Dom Pascal Chalon La Petite Ourse  2019-20  03/11  textured, long 
****  Dom Pascal Chalon Ursa Major VVignes  2021-22  03/11  classy, fine, fresh 
**** Dom de Champ-Long La Lauzerette 2018 06/13 rich, fresh, life, fire
**** Domaine Charvin  2023-25  12/12  proper body; STGT 
****  Matthieu Dumarcher Vieilles Vignes  2021-22  03/11  long, élan, precise
**** E.Guigal 2020-22 05/13 sustained richness; deep
**** Domaine Les Hautes Cances Tradition 2017-18 04/12 character, gd VALUE
**** Domaine de Mourchon 2018-19 09/12 vigour, gusto, hearty
****  Dom de la Vieille Julienne Clavin  2021-23  02/12  STGT, old vines 
****  Vins de Vienne Les Cranilles  2017-18  02/12 

free fruit; w.o.w.  

***(*)  M.Chapoutier Belleruche  2017  07/11  lively; big appeal 
***(*) L Bernard Chartreuse de Bonpas Réserve 2016 04/12 serious depth, fresh
***(*) Ch de Saint Cosme Les Deux Albion 2018-20 06/13 assertive; tannin, crunchy
***(*)  Château Saint Roch 2018  06/13  soft, good 2010 filling  
***(*)  Clos du Caillou Les Quartz  2018-19  02/12  modern; sleek fruit 
***(*)  Clos des Grillons La Pointue  2016  03/11  deep, fine, w.o.w. 
***(*) Doms André Aubert La Sérine V Vignes 2015 02/12 genuine old Grenache 
***(*) Dom André Brunel Cuvée Sommelongue 2024-25 12/12 spiced, firm richness
***(*) Domaine Les Aphillantes Classique 2018-19 06/13 up frm 3 st; ample, tangy
***(*)  Dom Pascal Chalon La Grande Ourse  2020-22  03/11  generous, impressive 
***(*)  Domaine Comte de Lauze  2017  02/12  solid, plenty to give 
***(*) Domaine de Crève Coeur 2016 06/13 authentic, tasty 
***(*) Domaine Duseigneur Mas Louise 2019-20 06/13 weight, interest, complex
***(*)  Estézargues Rive droite, rive gauche  2016  12/11  active, zap-zing
***(*) Ferraton Samorëns 2018-19 06/13 modern, pliant, has grip
***(*) Dom Genestière St Anthèlme Les Garrigues 2017-18 06/13 wholesome, grounded
***(*) Domaine Gramenon La Sagesse 2018-19 06/13 Wild Child; broad, punchy
***(*) Domaine Grand Nicolet 2019 06/13 genuine, table wine 
***(*)  Domaine de la Graveirette  2016-17  05/12  solidly rich; precise 
***(*)  Dom Albin Jacumin Les Bédines   2016-17  02/12  smooth, generous 
***(*)  Laudun Chusclan La Femme de Gicon 2014  04/11  breezy, herbal 
***(*)  Domaine Patrice Magni La Cueillette  2015-16  02/12  pleasure; w.o.w. 
***(*)  Mas de Libian Khayyâm  2019-20  03/11  balance, big core 
***(*)  Domaine Julien Masquin Humeur  2019-20  02/12  mini CdPape texture 
***(*) Montirius Le Jardin Secret 2018-19 05/13 frm 2.5 st; deep, chunky
***(*) Dom de la Mordorée La Dame Rousse 2019-20 06/13 frm 3 st; full, gutsy
***(*)  Cyril & Jacques Mousset Mas Grange Bl  2017-18  02/12  complete, genuine 
***(*) Dom de Panisse Murmure des Vignes 2019-20 06/13 upright; lots of flavour
***(*) Domaine Roche-Audran César 2018 06/13 character, long, punchy
***(*)  Domaine de la Roncière 2017-18  02/12  full depth; drive 
***(*) Domaine Rouge-Bleu Mistral 2017-18 06/13 character, local. fresh
***(*) Domaine Saint Gayan 2021-22 12/12 fresh, long; structured
***(*) Domaine Saint-Pierre 2018-19 05/13 solid; local feel, fire
***(*) Domaine Santa Duc Les Quatres Terres 2018-19 12/12 interesting, orderly, pure
***(*)  Les Vignerons de Tavel Sol`Acantalys  2015  07/11  cracking wine; w.o.w. 
***  L'Ameillaud  2016  02/12  early fruit surge 
*** Pierre Amadieu Grande Réserve 2017 06/13 well upholstered, round
*** Caveau Cécile des Vignes Exaltation 2015 06/13 tasty, authentic
*** Cav Cécile des Vignes Quintessence Syrah 2016 06/13 lot of oak; fluid gras 
***  Caves Saint Pierre Préférence V Vignes 2014  04/11  good example 
*** Cellier des Princes Couronne du Prince 2017 06/13 grounded, light oak
*** Château Les Amoureuses Tradition 2015 06/13 trad, gutsy, gourmand
*** Château Beauchêne Premier Terroir 2016-17 06/13 plump, spicy, sound
***  Château du Bois de la Garde red  2017  02/12  serious, sit-down 
***  Château du Bois de la Garde rosé 2014  02/12  character 
*** Château d’Hugues Sylviane 2016-17 06/13 trad, quite full, spicy
***  Château Husson Les Saumades 2016  02/12  easy flow, drinks now 
***

Château Simian Combe des Avaux

2016 06/13 authentic, wholesome
***  Clos du Caillou La Reserve  2017-18  02/12  coated dark fruit 
***  Domaine de l`Arnesque   2015  02/12  modern, clean 
***  Domaine Elodie Balme   2016  03/11  dark fruit; balance 
*** Domaine de la Barotte 2016 05/13 iron style; character
***  Domaine La Celestière   2016  02/12  smoky fruit; fun 
*** Dom de Champ-Long Terre de Safres 2017 06/13 tight, upright, firm
***  Domaine Chaume-Arnaud  2017  02/12  fresh; crunchy fruit 
*** Jean-Luc Colombo Les Forots red 2015 06/11 get on + go; w.o.w.
***  Dom Coulange Cuvée Rochelette  2016  03/11  compact, balance 
*** Domaine Le Couroulu 2016-17 05/13 full, traditional
***  Dom de Coste Chaude Florilège  2016-17  02/12  subtle depth; v clear 
***  Domaine Cros de la Mûre  2015  03/11  get on + go; w.o.w. 
*** Dom des Escaravailles Les Antimagnes 2017-18 06/13 upfront, spiced, full
***  La Font du Vent Les Promesses  2016  11/11  fruit glistens 
*** Domaine La Garrigue 2019-20 10/12 STGT; structured
*** Domaine de la Gayère 2016 06/13 honest, raw, character  
***  E.Guigal rosé  2014  08/11  enough body for food 
***  Domaine de la Janasse  2018-19  02/12  high tempo; chunky 
*** Lavau 2015 05/13 fat, trad; lamb stew
*** Domaine La Ligière Sud Absolu 2016-17 06/13 mild fruit; table wine
*** Domaine Maby Variations 2016 06/13 mid road; sound length 
***  Domaine Mathieu Cuvée Châteaumar 2016  02/12  modern; plenty 
*** Montirius Sérine 2019-20 10/12 rich, fleshy
*** Domaine Moulin du Pourpré Carmen 2017 06/13 soaked fruits; oaked
***  M&S Ogier Le Temps est Venu  2016  12/11  tasty, structured 
***  Ogier Héritages    2017  02/12  textured, smooth 
***  Famille Perrin Réserve   2018-19  11/11  serious, table vin 
***  Domaine de Pierredon    2016  03/11  depth, balance 
***  Dom La Réméjeanne Arbousiers red  2018  03/11  solid heart 
***  Dom La Réméjeanne Côte Levant rosé  2013  03/11  aromatic, v good 
*** Domaine Roche-Audran 2018 06/13 vigorous, exerted, oaked  
*** Domaine Roche Buissière Gaïa  2018-19 02/12 STGT; fine tannins
*** Domaine des Romarins C 2016-17 02/12 soaked, Carignan   
***  Domaine de la Rouette Héritage 2017-18  03/11  solid; joli 
*** Domaine Saint-Anthèlme 2015 06/13 easy drinking
*** Domaine La Soumade 2017 09/12 some local, also modern
*** Domaine La Soumade Les Violettes 2024-25 09/12 insistent, full-on 
***   Domaine du Trapadis  2019  05/12  big, character 
***  Domaine Pierre Usseglio  2016  02/12  profound fruit; food 
***  Mas de Libian Bout d`Zan    2017  03/11  free run fruit 
***  Tardieu-Laurent Guy Louis  2018-19 06/13  volume, retro, sweet

6. SOME LEADING 2010 CÔTES DU RHÔNE WHITES

****  Château de Fonsalette  2028-29  12/11  finesse; intricate 
***(*)  Château Saint-Roch 2015  02/12  stylish; solid heart 
***(*)  Dom des Escaravailles Galopine    2014-15  03/11  fragrant, broad 
***(*)  Mas de Libian Cave Vinum    2017  03/11  fine, pure 
***(*)  Domaine Roche-Audran Cesar  2017-18  02/12  oak, spice, gras 
***(*) Domaine de la Solitude 2015 12/11 fine, aromatic, VALUE
***  Château Clematis Elegance 2017-18  04/12  varied, food; intrsting 
***  Ch Gigognan Vigne du Prieuré   2014  02/12  cosy, harmonious 
*** Château du Trignon Roussanne 2015 06/12 stylish, food versatile
***  Clos du Caillou Bqt des Garrigues  2014  02/12  elegant, smooth 
***  Clos des Grillons Les Crillons  2015  03/11  pretty depth 
***  Dom Beau Mistral Elegance  2014-15  05/12  weight; beau 
***  Domaine de la Brunély    2015  03/11  supple, spiced 
***  Domaine Brusset Les Clavelles  2015  12/11  clean Viognier 
***  Domaine Chaume-Arnaud La Cadène 2015  02/12  apero; smooth, firm 
***  Domaine Coulange   2015-16  03/11  vigour, length 
***  Romain Duvernay  2014  05/12  supple, elegant 
***  Dom Ferme Saint-Martin Fleur Terroir  2018  05/12  rich; foods best 
***  E.Guigal  2015  12/11  tasty, persists; food 
*** Haut-Musiel 2016 10/13 varied flavous, long
***  Domaine Julien Masquin Humeur  2018-19  02/12  intricate, grounded 
***  Dom Notre Dame de Cousignac  2015  04/11  fine fruit; grip 
***  Dom La Réméjeanne Les Arbousiers  2018-20  03/11  fat, spiced 
*** Dom La Réméjeanne Les Eglantiers 2016-17 06/13 mild richness; toasting
***  Domaine Roche-Audran  2018-20  02/12  fresh, structure, grip 
***  Domaine Sainte-Anne Viognier  2017-18  02/12  nice body; gras 
***  Saint Cosme    2015  07/11  suave, pleasing 
***  Domaine du Trapadis  2018-19  05/12  oxidative; plenty 
***  J.Vidal-Fleury Viognier    2014  11/11  perfect aperitif 
**(*)  Delas Saint Esprit    2014  06/11  rich, immediate 
**(*)  Dom des Escaravailles La Ponce  2015  03/11  bite; freshness 
**(*)  Dom Nicolas Croze Vieilles Vignes 2014  03/11  well set gras 
**(*)  Domaine des Gravennes  late 2014  02/12  nicely styled 
**(*)  Domaine Jaume Génération  2014  03/11  fat, generous 
**(*)  Domaine La Manarine    2015  03/11  fresh, stylish 
**(*)  Domaine La Mereuille  2014  02/12  easy drinking 
**(*)  Domaine Sainte-Anne  2016  02/12  gras; food best 
**(*)  Domaine de la Valériane 2013-14  03/11  instant pleasure 
**(*)  Vignerons Créateurs Temple  2015  04/12  new wave wh Rhône 

  

7. 2010 TAVEL ROSÉS

2010 is an unqualified success at Tavel, to the extent that by mid-summer 2011, some domaines have sold out. I know of bistrots in Paris who have failed to receive their usual wine, having ordered in February, which was too late. Quantity was also down this year, around 35 hl/ha, against a more habitual 40+ hl/ha.

55% of Tavel is sold by private domaines and the Co-operatives of the region, notably those of Tavel and Roquemaure. The remaining 45% is sold through the négociant network, the merchants houses such as Guigal, Delas, Chapoutier, Gabriel Meffre and Vidal-Fleury. Supplies to the French supermarket trade - low cost wine - also feature.

"The wines are fresh and typical this year," stated Guillaum Demoulin of Château de Trinquevedel, where the style has always been of refinement. Limestone, silt and sand make up most of this estate`s soils, which lead to elegance in the wines. From the more galet stone and sand undersoil areas such as Vallongue west of the village, the wines are more robust, more fired-up. There is also the Vestides area, where the limestone and lauze, brittle white stone, deposits feature in thin soils. Hence it is not strictly true to say that there is such a thing as a 100% typical Tavel, since growers, often through marriage and relationship, have plots spread around the appellation.

However, a basic requirement for Tavel is that it should be a wine for la table, suited to the garlic, herbal dishes of its region. Crickets buzz across the vineyards, and the outcrops are indeed dusty here. A hot day in July, as when I tasted many wines, can be 35°C in Nîmes, the local département capital to the west, rather than perhaps 30-31°C in Avignon to the east beside the Rhône river. The baked heat of Spain, like the autoroute beside Tavel, beckons.

"Growers are seeking more aromatic wines than in the past," observed Richard Maby, President of the Growers Union, Le Syndicat des Vignerons. The fashion for Provençal rosé has certainly convinced growers to undertake softer vinifications, and to produce more what I term candified wines, replete with bonbon and sodapop associations.

Balance remains the central word in making a successful rosé, but body must come with it. The trick is to avoid the 15° alcohol levels that so hamper the tiny amount of rosé produced from hearty red wine areas such as Vacqueyras and Gigondas. Harvesting at Tavel can often occur in late August, and as the wines do not spend long in skin contact, undercooked stem or stalk tannins do not become a problem. The moderate temperatures of 2010 allowed a longer growing cycle than in recent years such as 2009 and 2007, with Richard Maby harvesting between 6 September and 22 September, the latter date for his late ripening varieties such as Mourvèdre.

The low yields this year occurred mainly because of the cold June weather during flowering. However, acidity levels were encouraged by often cool to even cold nights. Hence we have a rare bird this year - DRINKABLE WINES. You are not being asked to undertake an assault course or prove your undoubted stamina when uncorking a bottle, and it might just be fun to drink at the same time.

The wines from Domaine Lafond Roc-Epine, the Roc-Epine part of the name referring to France`s legendary trotting horse champion, and from Domaine Maby with their La Forcadière are two good examples of w.o.w. wines - the ideal rosé category - what one wants. The best wines this year are clearly-fruited, reflect the presence of garrigue and herbs, and possess a becoming freshness. Several bottles of the latter already nest in my cellar, bought from Yapp Brothers in England, whose delivery was landed by late May, 2011. Ten years ago, that delivery would have arrived nearer the autumn, so the logistical side of working with Tavel has also improved in the wine`s favour.

The great majority of wines can be drunk right away. Several have enough body to run towards 2013 or 2014. One novelty this vintage was the raising in 30% new oak for six weeks by Pascal Lafond at Lafond Roc-Epine, for a new cuvée called l`esprit de Roc-Epine. This was issued in 2,000 bottles, but also in 250 magnums, with the oak lending a creamy aspect to the wine.

LEADING 2010 TAVEL ROSÉS

****(*)  Domaine Pelaquié  03/11  fresh, elegant, thorough 
****  Château de Trinquevedel  07/11  refined fruit 
****  Domaine de Corne-Loup  03/11  authentic, solid 
****  Dom La Genestière Cuvée Raphaël  07/11  structured, spot-on 
****  E.Guigal  08/11  local, full, genuine 
****  Domaine Lafond Roc-Epine  07/11  w.o.w. elegant 
****  Dom de la Mordorée La Reine des Bois  07/11  firm fruit, serious vin 
****  Domaine Le Vieux Moulin  07/11  STGT, character, note 
***(*)  Château d`Aquéria  07/11  intense; fish ideal 
***(*)  M.Chapoutier Beaurevoir  07/11  muscle, good body 
***(*)  Delas La Comballe  06/11  slow-burn; muscle 
***(*)  Dom Beaumont St Pierre aux Liens  03/11  tasty, with grip 
***(*)  Dom Lafond Roc-Epine esprit Roc-Epine  07/11  creamy, tiny oak 
***(*)  Domaine Maby La Forcadière  06/11  w.o.w. GOOD VALUE
***(*)  Domaine de Tourtouil  07/11  classic Tavel; complete 
***  Château Correnson  03/11  very pale, poised fruit 
***  Château de Manissy  07/11  rather rich 
***  Domaine des Carabiniers  07/11  STGT; soft red fruit 
***  Dom de la Mordorée La Dame Rousse   07/11  orderly, new wave Tavel 
***  Domaine La Rocalière  07/11  big, modern 
***  Dom La Rocalière Perle de Culture  07/11  speedy, tasty, flinty 
***  Prieuré de Montézargues  07/11  direct, fresh 
***  J.Vidal-Fleury  01/12  orderly, agreeable 
***  Les Vignerons de Tavel Cuvée Royale 07/11  red wine instincts 
**(*)  Domaine Amido Les Amandines  07/11  easy fruited, safe 
**(*)  Domaine Maby Prima Donna  03/11  tight, aperitif style 
**(*)  Domaine Moulin-la-Viguerie  07/11  sweet, solid 
**(*)  Vignerons de Tavel Les Lauzeraies  03/11  robust, full