Here's the second part of John Livingstone-Learmonth's overview of this exciting vintage in the southern Rhône.
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Balance is good at Rasteau – a sunny balance that reminds me of classic vintages such as 1985, with the wines well-fruited and the tannins comfortably mild. There are garrigue and herbes de Provence influences, and the wines’ approachable style will go down well with drinkers. There is some similarity to the 2012 vintage, although 2015’s crop was larger.
Lirac, Beaumes-de-Venise, Vinsobres
The reds from these areas are all of a good standard. Freshness features at Beaumes-de-Venise and Vinsobres, the latter giving good, free-wheeling Syrah. Lirac’s reds are well-filled and, with winemaking standards rising, these wines can present good value for money.
The 2015 vintage falls perfectly for Cairanne’s first year as a grown-up cru on its own. Many of the leading domaines elected to present their wines as cru, though some have chosen to remain Cairanne Côtes du Rhône Villages (more wine per hectare). The reds are thorough and, even young, show terroir, indicating their balance. The tannins are so well ripened that many will be drinking well in a few months’ time. The whites, however, can lack acidity.
Côtes du Rhône Villages, Côtes du Rhône
This is a vintage to buy from the best names in the Villages and Côtes du Rhône categories. Lots of fruit, some sparky tannins and dashes of enticing flavour are present. Progress in white winemaking also signals a value opportunity for consumers, but focus on the top domaine names.