0800 280 2440
The vast majority of wines from the Southern Rhône are blends. There are 5 main black varieties, although others are used and the most famous wine of the region, Châteauneuf du Pape, can be made from as many as 13 different varieties. Grenache is the most important grape in the southern Rhône - it contributes alcohol, warmth and gentle juicy fruit and is an ideal base wine in the blend. Plantings of Syrah in the southern Rhône have risen dramatically in the last decade and it is an increasingly important component in blends. It rarely attains the heights that it does in the North but adds colour, backbone, tannins and soft ripe fruit to the blend.
The much-maligned Carignan has been on the retreat recently but is still included in many blends - the best old vines can add colour, body and spicy fruits. Cinsault is also backtracking but, if yields are restricted, can produce moderately well-coloured wines adding pleasant-light fruit to red and rosé blends. Finally, Mourvèdre, a grape from Bandol on the Mediterranean coast, has recently become an increasingly significant component of Southern Rhône blends - it often struggles to ripen fully but can add acidity, ripe spicy berry fruits and hints of tobacco to blends.
This rosé has been crafted primarily from Cinsault and Syrah, lending red fruit charm and herbal freshness, and also from Grenache and Mourvèdre adding warmth and spicy depth. Complexity and joyful exuberance are therefore happily entwined. After extensive tasting and blending with winemaker Jean-Luc Terrier, we are delighted to introduce our new distinctly up-market range of Reserve wines. Just as you can learn much from a restaurant’s house wine, you should also be able to judge a wine merchant by its own-label bottles, and we wouldn't put our name to anything which wasn't delicious to drink. Our range of Highly Dependable wines is just that: a marque that stands for reliable good value, and taste, be it a classic Argentinian Malbec or our carefully-crafted Reserve White – a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Mauzac and Vermentino.
Case price (12)
Case saving £10.20
Bottle 12 x 75cl
Make a bid
Cinsault has always been an integral, albeit relatively un-sung, colour on the Languedoc palette. It is encouraging that young winemakers are now affording it due respect, none more so than Yves Falmet, who farms the schistous soils of St Chinian with organic rigour and a real sense of purpose. His vines are 40 years old and this wine is matured in vat. The 2013 has lovely hedgerow, blackberry and red cherry flavours, very supple tannins and delightful sweetness on the finish. A most satisfying mid-week accompaniment to whatever it is that one eats mid-week, perhaps in front of a Nordic Noir? Simon Field MW, BBR Buyer
Case price (12)
Case saving £11.16
The likeable Perrin family from Château de Beaucastel have sourced this outstanding Côtes du Rhône from their premium village vineyards, with Syrah from the fashionable enclave of Vinsobres adding bright pure fruit to the warming blackberry and spice character which come courtesy of Grenache. The Mourvèdre adds pepper and plum and the ensemble celebrates the generous character of the 2012 with great aplomb. With a focus on provenance, these superlative bottles are classified by commune and highlight the fruitful collaborations between the producers and buyers, creating wines with superb finesse.. Whether from Pomerol or Meusault, Barolo or Gevrey-Chambertin, the design of each label references its region of origin, prominently displaying both the name of the estate and the signature of the buyer.
Case price (12)
Case saving £12.96
An excellent and appropriately-named, generic Côtes du Rhône, now biodynamically accredited. This year all the fruit is Grenache and is impressive indeed given that the varietal did not have the easiest of years. The fact that picking was finished on 23rd September – a day before major rainfall – clearly helped here. Drink now to 2017. Simon Field MW - Rhône Buyer Rémi Pouizin formerly made wine at his father’s property, Domaine La Fourmente, just outside Visan. Now he has branched out on his own, buying a magnificent 19thcentury château in the heart of the village, and securing a biodynamic accreditation for his vineyards, which essentially remain the same. Only the legal structure and the location of the winery have changed substantially: the essence of the excellent Domaine La Fourmente still remains, albeit a little improved and with a new, divinelyinspired name.
The Pouizin family have lovingly tended the vines of Domaine La Fourmente since 1922. Their approach is informed by both organic and biodynamic practices endowing a respect for, and understanding of, nature’s own way of thinking. The Amour de Fruit (Love of Fruit) has a sun-kissed kirsch and raspberry fruit, laced with the supple glide of the tannins.
Although one of the earliest to gain Appellation Contrôlée status, Corbières is a vast and somewhat heterogeneous area, both qualitatively and geographically. The best wines are located in and around the enclaves of Boutenac and Lézignan, between Narbonne and Carcassone; it is here where we find the gifted vigneron Jean-Noël Bousquet. The meaty, almost rustic, Carignan finds a perfect counterpoint in the ebullient and graceful Syrah, Jean-Noël’s favourite varietal, which adds top notes of violet and blueberry to the richly evocative dark and ripe mid-palate. Notes of garrigue, liquorice and tapenade complete the picture, which is further enhanced by a powerful and finely delineated finish. Drink now to 2018. Partner with couscous, grilled lamb, Mediterranean chicken dishes. Carignan 40%, Syrah 40% and Grenache 20% Simon Field MW, Wine Buyer
Case price (12)
Case saving £13.20
Inviting, medium-bodied blend with fruity Grenache to the fore. Supple tannins transport wave after wave of strawberry and blackberry flavours, with a captivating hint of liquorice to finish. Will Heslop, Wine Buying
Case price (12)
Case saving £13.80
Christian Voeux has forged an outstanding exemplar from La Nerthe’s well-located vines in on the slopes of the Massif D’Uchaux. Generous red fruit Grenache notes dominate the palate, with harmonious counterpoint provided by Syrah, which lends purity, and Mourvèdre, which adds savoury depth.
Case price (12)
Case saving £15.36
Closablières is the premium cuvée from Chateau Ricardelle made up of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache and 20% Carignan, aged in 2-3 year old barrels for twelve months. Deep of colour and with generous aromatics dominated by fig, licorice, eucalypt and black fruit, the wine is rounded and long, but with no shortage of Mediterranean personality and guts. Simon Field MW, Wine Buyer
Case price (12)
Case saving £15.60
The helping hand of Château La Nerthe’s wine-making team is a very poorly guarded secret at la Renjarde and their expertise is as evident in 2011 as it has been historically. The nose is ripe and rich with notes of chocolate, red berries, bramble and licorice. The palate is generous and full, with good structure and depth, a wonderful and expressive wine to be enjoyed with red meat and game.
The innovative Christian Mocci, whose labels are one of the wonders of the vinous world, excels once again with his famous swaggering monarch, Hogarthian yet patriotic, Atlantic of outlook yet Mediterranean of provenance. The blend is dominated by Merlot (34%) and the Cabernets (Sauvignon is 26% and Franc is 22%) with the balance shared by Syrah, Grenache and Tannat. Not the usual fare from the hills behind Montpellier therefore, although one has only to think of Grange des Peres or Mas de Daumas Gassac, neither too far away, to realise this these sunny hillsides can be most accommodating with their f(l)avours. Aged in one and two year old barrels, the 2012 has a striking nose of cassis, blackberry and mocha with hints of iodine and pencil shaving ; the palate is plump and indulges with ripe fruit without forsaking the disciplined cabernet imprimaturs of firm acidity and impressive grip. The king is generous and suitably regal, his wine a most satisfying expression of noblesse oblige! Simon Field MW - Wine Buyer
Les Deux Monards is a blend of 70% Grenache, and 30% Syrah, its soils made up of a combination of clay and sand in the north of the appellation. The 2012 is feminine and gently lifted, with silky tannins and an elegant fruit profile. The template of fine Vacqueyras in other words. Simon Field MW, Rhône Wine Buyer My tasting this year with M. Vache turned out to be with M. Vache the elder, whose magnificent handlebar moustaches give very creditable competition to those of M. Férrigoule at Le Sang des Cailloux. Cleary such things are de rigueur for the best growers in the appellation. His range is exceptional and one day he (or his son) may even give us an allocation of his legendary white wine.
Case price (12)
This well-named Diva performs with great aplomb and confidence. The 2009 is a blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache and, from centurion vines, 20% Alicante, a rare varietal which is best known for its power and depth of colour. Both facets are evidenced here, but the wine certainly does not lack for elegance and pedigree, helped in no small measure by 14 months of barrel ageing. Black fruit, herbs and supple eucalypt spice are supported by fine, chalky tannins and a clean refreshing finish. Simon Field MW, Wine Buyer
St Chinian is located in the photogenic foothills of the Cevennes to the north of Beziers and is sandwiched, for those who know their vinous map, between Minervois and Faugères. The complex mosaic of terroir here may be simplified into higher -ground schist in the north (the enclave of Berlou is adjacent to Faugères) and limestone on the lower southern slopes. Mas Champart’s vineyards are mainly located in the latter camp. Founded in 1976, Mas Champart is owned by the unassuming Parisian (is this a contradiction in terms?) couple Isabelle and Mathieu. They farm 25 hectares and are traditional in virtually all aspects of their winemaking, the notable exception being their passion for Cabernet Franc, a souvenir from several trips to the Loire Valley. Cote d’Arbo is a blend of Syrah (30%) Grenache (30%) very old-vine Carignan (25%) and 15% Mourvèdre, farmed at low yields and bottled with minimal intervention after ageing in tanks. Subtle aromatics of blue fruit, thyme and bay are evocative and persuasive; the palate defers to the reputation of the vintage with dark fruit power and a fine balancing acidity. A most impressive vin de contemplation. Simon Field MW, Wine Buyer
Case price (12)
Case saving £16.44
René Rostaing's Puech Noble Blanc is a blend of 50% Grenache Blanc, 35% Rolle (Vermentino) and 15% Viognier. The wine has been fermented in stainless steel only, which is almost surprising, given its complexity and diffuse perfumes which evoke honeysuckle, acacia and lemon grass. The complexity chases us on the palate which is lovely, honied and rich, with crisp citric acidity buttressing the back; the texture is generous but not cloying, with hints of tilleul and sherbet evidenced and salinity to underwrite the complexity. Aromatic, stylish and very elegant; the Rostaing magic has travelled south, to no-one’s great surprise. Simon Field MW, BBR Buyer
Case price (12)
Case saving £16.80
The Perrins now own 60 hectares, mostly on the slopes, in this fashionable appellation, promoted from 2005 to standalone status and naturally favouring Syrah given its relatively northerly location. The blend here is shared equally here between Syrah and Grenache and the wine impresses with its bright lively fruit and harmonious yet quietly grippy finish. An exceptionally commendable effort for this somewhat underrated vintage.
The vast and sprawling Appellation of Corbières commands, not surprisingly, a huge diversity of styles. In 1948 it was the first region in the Languedoc to gain full Appellation Contrôlée status, but of late, seems to have fallen a little behind in terms of reputation. The best enclaves are situated in Boutenac and Lézignan, on either side of the main road between Carcassonne and Narbonne and this is where we find this grandly named property, in point of fact one of the few in the Languedoc actually owning a Château, the envy of many a Bordelais. Grand Moulin has long been seen as one of the leading domains in Corbières. Its perfect clay-sandstone soils are south east facing and located at altitude. Here Jean Noel Bousquet indulges his passion for Syrah, a relative newcomer in this region, blending it skillfully with the more traditional varieties, Carignan and Grenache. The precise make-up of the Vieilles Vignes is, appropriately enough, 40% Syrah, 40% Carignan and 20% Grenache, the vines suitably old to merit the nomenclature and the style of the wine appropriately supple and long in the mouth. Twelve month of barrique ageing has rounded out the 2010 with real aplomb. Simon Field MW, Wine Buyer
The 2012’s blend demonstrates once more the affinity of Syrah and this famous eponymous limestone escarpment. 60% Syrah is blended, after elevage, with equal measures of Mourvèdre and Grenache. The wine has captured the equilibrium and real sense of place for which 2012 is quickly gaining recognition; myrtle, sousbois and forest –floor aromas are matched on the palate by a weight of black fruit which is poised and gently peppery. Southern Syrah is here captured in one of its more elegant manifestations. Simon Field MW, Wine Buyer
The Massif dUchaux covers 250 hectares of gentle hilly terrain just to the north of Orange. In Roman times the Via Agrippa snaked through its woody valleys and in 1290 its wines were sold through the community of Mondragon. Closer to the present, the wines were promoted to stand-alone village status in 2005 and are now recognised for both quality and value; the distinctive red sandstone soils, on a limestone bed-rock, inform the style which combines floral and red fruit aromas. Both are pleasingly present in this example from the superb 2010 vintage. The Franois Monier is a 2/3 Grenache, 1/3 Syrah blend and has been matured for a year in cement, allowing full glorious expression to the ripe red-berried fruit, with its spicy backdrop and pure, fresh backdrop. Simon Field MW, Wine Buyer
The top Corbières enclaves are situated in Boutenac and Lézignan, on either side of the main road between Carcassonne and Narbonne, the distinctive clay-sandstone soils of which are the source of this outstanding cuvée, a blend of 40% Syrah, 40% Carignan and 20% Grenache. The vines here are old enough to merit the nomenclature and the style of the wine appropriately supple and long in the mouth. Twelve month of barrique ageing have rounded it out nicely and beyond the rich smoky nose there is plenty of fruit and a rich , savoury , satisfying finish. Simon Field MW, Wine Buyer
Case price (12)
Case saving £19.80
The south-facing slope of L’Andéol is protected from the Mistral and yields a powerful, generous wine, typical of this warmer enclave. The Grenache has performed well in a tricky year with peppers, figs, dark chocolate and spices in the ascendant, and a finely-wrought tannic structure discreet in the background. Simon Field MW - Rhône Buyer The Perrins are owners of the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape estate Château de Beaucastel, but have, over the years, broadened their repertoire to include wines from the key villages in the Southern Rhône. All of these fall under the appropriate nomenclature of La Famille Perrin, reflecting the peerless team effort that goes into the production of a range of wines which is without rival in this part of the world: all are impeccably made and reflect the true nature of the terroir from which they come. The Perrins have refined yet further this already very polished message by segregating their top domaines into a ‘parcellaire’ category.
Case saving £18.00
Another excellent new Cairanne to add to our list! It was only a matter of time, and patient searching…This one is made from 70% old Grenache, 10% old Carignan and 20% youngish (20-year-old) Syrah. Completely de-stemmed and treated to a four week cuvaison to soften the tannins, this is a benchmark example, with attractive summer-pudding fruit and a soft spicy finish. Simon Field MW, Rhône Wine Buyer Located high in the hills behind the villages of Roaix and Rasteau, Escaravailles dates from 1953 and is now in the more than capable hands of Gilles Ferran, who has constructed a new cuverie and built the reputation of the domaine into one of the leading names in the region. Escaravaille, for those of an inquisitive disposition, is the Occitane word for beetle (hence the labels) and also the term once used to describe the black-robed monks of the region, presumably from the Benedictine order. Gilles farms 40 hectares in Rasteau and 15 in Cairanne and his wines are justly celebrated as leading examples in both villages.
Gilles Ferran has really excelled with the Ventabren this year. Twenty percent Syrah adds lifted violet aromas to the old-vine Grenache and Carignan partnership. The wine is velvety, spicy and amazingly poised, the result of a long cuvaison. The oldest Grenache grapes, which sometimes go into the Hermitage cuvée, which wasn’t made in 2013, add further gravitas. Drink now to 2017. Simon Field MW - Rhône Buyer Escaravailles is located high in the hills behind the villages of Roaix and Rasteau, where the vines enjoy a special microclimate: relatively warm despite the altitude, with exceptional expositions and soils which are dominated by red and blue clay. Gilles Ferran describes his 2013s as ‘aromatic and fresh’, to which I would add the wines’ generous and very attractive texture, which stands out immediately.
Case price (12)
Case saving £18.36
Jean –Noël Bousquet’s eponymous Terres Rouges are clay-chalk based, perhaps with a tinge of iron to explain the colour. The blend is 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache, unusual for Corbières, and has been aged in 30% new and 70 % 1-4 year-old barrel for twelve months. A great vintage has yielded a rich and powerful wine, with savoury notes, hints of the garrigue and finely balanced tannins. A really classy wine to underline the exciting developments in this art of the world. (Simon Field MW, BBR Buyer)
Case price (12)
Case saving £19.20
This wine is sourced from four organic estates in the heart of the Côtes du Rhône, and therefore far from Chave’s northern soul. Each lot for Mon Coeur is vinified separately, and proves to be a delightful blend of Syrah and Grenache; the former adding pure cool fruit notes and granitic self-belief, the latter warmth and a gentle invitation to mid-week indulgence. Simon Field MW - Rhône Buyer Jean-Louis Chave does not release his top domaine Hermitage wines in time for the en primeur campaign, which will allow us to give them the limelight when they do eventually appear, probably two years down the track. To make up for this, we have allocations of these two excellent wines from 2013, both made by his négociant arm, where a small amount of the fruit is boughtin. Being M Chave, however, we can rest assured that the quality of the fruit is impeccable and that his legendary attention to detail through all aspects of the process has been respected.
The blend here is made up of 65 percent Grenache, 20 percent Mourvèdre and 15 percent Syrah and has been matured in concrete tanks. The wine has a lovely deep colour and pleasing aromas of eucalypt and plum; the palate is equally vibrant but with an impressive kick at the back, courtesy, no doubt, of the slightly higher than usual Mourvèdre content. Simon Field MW - Rhône Buyer Laurent Daniel describes 2013 as ‘atypical’; he advises that the vines were more productive in terms of leaves rather than fruit, and that the Grenache was particularly affected by the early cooler conditions. He praises the wines for their spicy personality, and advises that there is more ‘matière’ than in 2011, but perhaps a little less length on the palate. Winning a Coup de Coeur in the influential publication Le Guide Hachette has once more served to underline the
There is only 50% Grenache in the village wine this year, the balance shared between Syrah and Mourvèdre. Once again the Syrah excels, lending rounded silky fruit to the ensemble and proving pleasing counter-point to the more gritty texture of the other varietals. Simon Field MW, Rhône Wine Buyer Rasteau has a slightly warmer microclimate than some of the other ‘named’ villages, with more clay in its terroir than many. It may or may not be related to these facts that André Romero is seldom disinclined to question received wisdom. In this case he is full of praise for 2012, which is not contentions, but far less complimentary about 2013, which he cites as dilute and disappointing…let’s see if his opinion has changed a year down the line. In any event, in terms of the matter in hand, the 2012s look very promising indeed.
A classic blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah, Les Aubes has warm aromas of liquorice, macerated plum and a touch of garrigue. The palate is rounded, but not over-worked, with hints of bay and eucalypt at the back and finely tapered tannins. Simon Field MW, BBR Buyer For those who like to equate the style of a wine with the personality of the winemaker, the imposing and often outspoken Yves Gras would seem to be the ideal porte parole for the reputedly tannic and unforgiving wines of Gigondas. Needless to say such simplifications are facile; Yves turns out to be a thoughtful winemaker and the wines have a cerebral elegance… on second thoughts maybe the equation may not be too facile after all.
Old vines from the 1950s are grown on a soil here which is scarred with red clay; heather and thyme punctuate the landscape. Some of the vines on this six hectare vineyard are even as much as 100 years old. The nose is suitably herbal, and the mouth-feel rich and velvety, ripe but elegant, with cassis and plum evidenced. The wine is structurally pure and a more than worthy match for the most robust examples of the local cuisine. Simon Field MW, BBR Buyer Visan is one of the more self-effacing of the Côtes du Rhône Villages, not clamouring self-righteously for stand-alone AOP status, and therefore less well-known than near neighbours such as Rasteau and Vacqueyras. Despite this, the wines can be excellent; Fourmente, which was founded in 1922, farms 50 hectares and is certified as biodynamic. For vigneron Rémi Pouzin, the key Visan words are finesse and fruit, both achieved with merit in 2011. Lavender cultivation is also a speciality here; its perfumes pervade the wines with dreamy eloquence.
Jean-Louis Chave does not do anything by halves, be it his sublime Hermitage, his outstanding St Joseph or his nominally humble Côtes-du-Rhône. Three villages closest to the north of the south play a key part; Valréas, Vinsobres and Visan, which share, apart from their initial letter, vines at relative altitude and a little more Syrah than some areas. Chave is in his element! He manages the 60% of Grenache with great aplomb and the wine has good colour and real peppery concentration. The tannins are quite firm at the back; decanting may be an option, another quality indicator. Simon Field MW, Wine Buyer