What does a red wine need in order to age? Some say acidity; others, tannin. Grenache proves you don’t need a great deal of either of these elements to ensure longevity. Grape varieties can offer a clue as to how long a wine will age, but really it’s the terroir that counts.
With such a variety of terroir in the Southern Rhône – diverse soil types, grape varieties, microclimates and winemaking approaches – it’s not always easy to generalise about which are the best vintages to drink now.
Most reds are drinkable on release and a generic Côtes-du-Rhône typically lasts for four years or so. Good wines from ambitious estates, even from relatively lowly appellations, should develop steadily for around eight years.