Red Rhone 2005: Keep
Classic vintage, with even lesser sites producing stylish, harmonious wines. Best wines have superb fruit and great structure. Huge ageing potential.
A dream vintage with near-perfect conditions right through until September, though anxieties were raised early on in Northern Rhône when a heavy snowstorm in April hit Hermitage, Cornas and Saint-Joseph. In the end, it posed no threat to the vines and dreaded frosts did not materialise. Rainfall was minimal throughout the season – drought conditions even – but daytime
temperatures were lower than the scorching 2003/04 vintages and nights cooler. The vines remained relatively unstressed and grapes maintained good acidity. Yields, though, were below average.
Storms in early September replenished parched soils, especially in the Southern Rhône. The Mistral followed, its dehydrating influence helping to concentrate flavours and keep the grapes healthy during harvesting.
A benchmark vintage for Syrah in the Northern Rhône. The best wines have a firm clear fruit core overlaid with smooth black fruit and peppery tannins. Hermitage and Cornas will be long-lived thanks to their balance and sound acidity.
In the Southern Rhône, prestige Châteauneuf-du-Pape are very good to excellent, with focused fruit and perfect acidity. Tannins are rounded and there is enough matter to handle elevated alcohol levels (often 15%+). Gigondas sees clear-cut and persistent fruit, ripe tannins, and good ageing potential. Full and well-structured reds, too, from Vacqueyras and Lirac, while Vinsobres has delivered superb quality wines that prove just how well Syrah can perform here. The best Côtes du Rhône-Villages are excellent, especially from top domaines in Cairanne, Rasteau, Visan, Sablet and Séguret.
Chateauneuf-du-Pape: Domaine de la Solitude, Clos des Papes, Chateau de Beaucastel, Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe, Domaine Versino, Domaine Font de Michelle, Domaine Giraud. Côte-Rotie: Delas Frères, Clusel-Roch, Rene Rostaing, Yves Cuilleron. Hermitage: Ferraton Pere & Fils, Cave de Tain, Domaine du Colombier, Paul Jaboulet Aine. CdR-V: Domaine du Mas de Ste-Croix, Domaine Ste-Anne. Gigondas: Domaine La Roubine. Cornas: Johann Michel, Domaine Courbis, Domaine Vincent Paris, Eric & Joel Durand, Domaine du Tunnel. Vacqueyras: