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First taste: Rhone wines – Matt Walls picks six to try

Regional body InterRhone, which is the professional body that promotes AOC Rhone wines, recently held its annual seminar and tasting in London. Here are my top six wines from those present.

The Rhone wines success story continues, and it remains comfortably the second largest AOC French wine region in the UK.

To support the region’s growth, producers plan to hold tastings in conjunction with over 100 independent retailers around the UK from September, so keep an eye out if you’re in the country. Here are the six best wines from the annual InterRhone tasting.

M. Chapoutier, Les Granilites, St Joseph, Rhone, 2012
Pure Marsanne. Very attractive nose of mango and hazelnut, with some evident oak but it’s not overdone. Perfumed like a quince. Full-bodied and silky smooth, the acid is fairly low but it has a persistent, mouthwatering mineral finish. Firm, full-flavoured, generous but nicely tailored. A generous and fruit-packed example of white St Joseph. Alcohol: 13% abv
Score: 92 /100
Drinking Window: 2015 to 2018
Price: £15.83
Stockist (UK): Bordeaux Index

Jean-Luc Colombo, Terres Brulées, Cornas, Rhone, 2010
Pure Syrah. At five years of age this is relaxed and open now, with an agreeably mature, harmonious nose of liquorice, woody herbs, hung game and stewed blackberries. Full-bodied, powerful, rich in fruit and flavour. Robust textured tannins still, with that characteristic Cornas untamed streak. Burly. Lots to sink your teeth into.
Alcohol: 13.5%
Score: 91 /100
Drinking Window: 2015 to 2020
Price: £33.12 – £34.99
Stockist (UK): Excel Wines, Waitrose Cellar

M.Chapoutier, Les Meysonniers, Crozes Hermitage, Rhone, 2012

Pure Syrah. Fresh, detailed, and vibrant nose of black pepper and dark berry fruit that could only be from Crozes. Medium-bodied, good defining acid line and vivid fruit. Very drinkable, and a joy to inhale. So often a reliable pick from the sprawling Chapoutier range and the 2012 is no exception.
Alcohol: 13%
Score: 90 /100
Drinking Window: 2015 to 2017
Price: £13.01 – £16.50
Stockist (UK): thedrinkshop.com, Tanners

Boutinot, La Côte Sauvage, Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne, Rhone, 2011
Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Mourvèdre. Juicy harmonious nose of strawberry and raspberry fruit alongside dried herbs; also starting to take on some forest floor notes with age. Full-bodied, lush in texture. The alcohol is slightly noticeable, but it doesn’t detract from what is otherwise a succulent and thoroughly enjoyable wine.
Alcohol: 14.5%
Score: 89 /100
Drinking Window: 2015 to 2016
Price: £12 – £14.99
Stockist (UK): D&D Wine, Oxford Wine Company

Delas, Grigan-les-Adhémar, Rhone, 2013
Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault. Expressive blackberry fruit, a touch of liquorice. Dark and brooding, the Syrah makes its presence felt. Intense yet fresh, with an abundance of ripe tannin and fruity acids. Lots of wine for the money.
Alcohol: 13.5%
Score: 88 /100
Drinking Window: 2015 to 2016
Price: £6.95 – £9.25
Stockist (UK): The Wines Society, All About Wine

Gabriel Meffre, Sainte-Baume, Lirac, Rhone, 2013

Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Carignan. Pure black fruit on the nose, very straight and direct. Good acidity and intensity, with firm, textured tannic base. A classic, fresh expression of Lirac.
Alcohol: 13.5%
Score: 88 /100
Drinking Window: 2015 to 2017
Price: £9.99
Stockist (UK): Waitrose Cellar

Written by Matt Walls

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