The French wine region known as the Rhone straddles the Rhone river valley from just south of Lyon and ending 125 miles later just south of Avignon near the Mediterranean. There are well over 20 grape varieties used in the production of Rhone wines with each appellation having rules permitting the use of only certain grapes. The major red grape variety in Southern Rhone wines is Grenache followed by Syrah, Carignan, and Mourvedre. The major white grape varieties in white wines of the Rhone are Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Ugni Blanc, Bourboulenc, Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier.
The major appellations (or AOC's) in the Southern Rhone wine region are: Cotes du Rhone (the lowest classification and allowed for use in all 171 communes in the Northern and Southern Rhone), Cotes du Rhone Villages, Cotes du Rhone Villages (with the name of the particular village placed after), Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Vacqueyras, Rasteau, and Gigondas. Most of the red wines in the south are dominated by the Grenache grape. The sweet wines called Beaumes de Venise or Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, and dry rose; wines of Tavel should also be noted.
The major appellations (or AOC's) in the Northern Rhone are: Condrieu, Cornas, Cote-Rotie, Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, and Saint-Joseph. The major red grape variety in all Northern Rhone wines is Syrah.
JD90+90–92 pts. - Jeb Dunnuck - 8/28/2018 The old vine cuvée is the 2017 Rasteau Vieilles Vignes, based on 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre that’s brought up in older barrels. Blackberries, toasted spice, smoked earth and licorice notes all flow to a rich, powerful, concentrated Rasteau that has ripe, present tannins and a great finish. It’s certainly going to be an outstanding wine. (Jeb Dunnuck)WE8787 pts. - Wine Enthusiast - 12/31/2020 Densely concentrated plum and black cherry flavors are muted by savory notes of crushed earth and tobacco and in this full-bodied blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. It’s a rounded, open-knit wine that’s showing glimpses of maturity, so it’s best to enjoy now–2024. (Anna Lee C. Iijima)Premier SelectPremier Select wines are handpicked by our staff from amongst thousands of wines for their exceptional quality. They're made by a top producer and comparable to wines at twice the cost.
WE9595 pts. - Wine Enthusiast - 7/1/2012 A prodigious effort, the 2009 Vieilles Vignes from Grand Veneur includes a whopping 40% Mourvèdre in the blend (there’s also 10% Syrah, with the balance being Grenache), which no doubt accounts for its dark flavor profile. This is a full-bodied, lushly textured, expansive wine, with a finish that seems to go on forever. Approachable now, it should age well for 10–12 years at least.RP93+93–95 pts. - Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate - 30th Oct 2010 The 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes (a cuvee that was first made in 2006) is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 20% Syrah, all aged in new oak casks. Despite all the new oak, its influence is marginal. Some toasty notes are present, but the wine is very full-bodied with extraordinarily intense aromas and flavors of creme de cassis, kirsch, lavender, licorice and hints of lead pencil shavings and smoke. Dense, full-bodied, tannic and super intense, this is a massive 2009 that begs for 4–5 years of cellaring. It should drink well for 20–25 years thereafter.
JD9292 pts. - Jeb Dunnuck - 1/25/2022 Moving to the reds, the 2020 Vacqueyras Les Hauts De La Ponche is 50% Grenache and 25% each of Syrah and Mourvèdre. It actually reminds me of a Pomerol with its red and blue fruits as well as bouquet garni, damp earth, and floral nuances. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, I love its balance, and it has silky tannins and remarkable purity of fruit. Drink bottles over the coming 7–8 years. (Jeb Dunnuck)Premier SelectPremier Select wines are handpicked by our staff from amongst thousands of wines for their exceptional quality. They're made by a top producer and comparable to wines at twice the cost.
RP9090 pts. - Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate - 5th May 2022 Mainly Grenache, with the balance a blend of Mourvèdre and Syrah, the 2019 Cotes du Rhone offers up notions of ripe cherries, garrigue and even a few modest hints of pine sap. Medium to full-bodied, it’s concentrated and ripe yet silky and reasonably elegant. Drink it over the next several years.
VN9393 pts. - Vinous - Oct 2021 Deep, shimmering ruby. Powerful red and dark berry scents are complemented by exotic spice, garrigue and floral nuances. Sappy and densely packed, offering juicy raspberry, cherry preserve, licorice and fruitcake flavors underscored by a vein of juicy acidity. Gently chewy tannins build steadily on an impressively long, penetrating finish that leaves behind lavender and juicy cherry notes.SP9393 pts. - Wine Spectator - Feb 28, 2022 Dark and winey, with waves of ganache, steeped plum, blackberry reduction and melted black licorice rolling through. The finish is scored with warm earth and smoldering tobacco notes, showing ample grip for the cellar. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Counoise, Muscardin, Vaccarèse and Cinsault. Best from 2023 through 2036. 18,300 cases made, 1,500 cases imported.JD9393 pts. - Jeb Dunnuck - 10/6/2020 The base wine, the 2018 Châteauneuf Du Pape has a healthy ruby/purple color to go with its classic Southern Rhône notes of ripe red and black fruits, lots of earthy garrigue, some ground pepper, and a touch of minerality. All this carries over to the palate, where the wine is medium to full-bodied and beautifully balanced, with a great mid-palate and sweet tannins. It certainly shows the upfront, charming style of the vintage, but I love its mid-palate, it’s beautifully balanced, and is just a seriously classy wine from this estate, which deserves more recognition today. Enjoy bottles any time over the coming 15 years or more. (Jeb Dunnuck)
VN9595 pts. - Vinous - Oct 2021 Saturated ruby. Deep-pitched red/blue fruit liqueur aromas pick up suggestions of licorice, pipe tobacco and pungent flowers and herbs with air. In a lush, weighty style, offering expansive black raspberry, cherry cola, singed plum and fruitcake flavors sharpened by a jolt of spiciness on the back half. For all this wine’s richness, it’s energetic as well, showing solid, spice- and floral-driven persistence on the finish, which is framed by velvety, even tannins.JD94+94+ pts. - Jeb Dunnuck - 11/3/2021 The 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape is ruby/purple-hued and has the classic translucent color of the domaine. It’s more precise and focused than the Télégramme and will need more time, but it offers a complex, gorgeous bouquet of red and black fruits, crushed stone, wild fennel, and ground pepper. Pure, medium to full-bodied, and elegant, do your best to hide bottles for 5–7 years and it’s going to keep for two decades. (Jeb Dunnuck)
JD9898 pts. - Jeb Dunnuck - 11/19/2020 While not submitted to my tasting (and it wasn’t presented from barrel last year), it would be hard to imagine there won’t be a Les Vieilles Fontaines cuvée. Don’t miss a chance to buy a bottle if you find one. Moving to the 2018 Cornas Les Vieilles Vignes, this beauty is cut from the same cloth as the Les Chailles yet is deeper and richer, with another level of concentration. Black and blue fruits, ground pepper, violets, smoked game, and loads of spring flower notes define the bouquet, and it has a vibrant, almost old school vibe that carries plenty of power yet still stays light and elegant on the palate. This beautiful, singular wine is open and enjoyable today, yet I wouldn’t be surprised to see it close down with a year or two of bottle age. It should see its 20th birthday in fine form. (Jeb Dunnuck)VN9595 pts. - Vinous - Apr 2020 Opaque ruby. An exotically perfumed bouquet displays powerful aromas of black and blue fruit preserves, incense, peony and olive paste. Palate-staining blackberry, boysenberry, fruitcake and floral pastille flavors deepen steadily on the back half. Gains weight and sweetness with air, finishing with a jolt of smoky minerality, sneaky tannins and outstanding persistence.RP9494 pts. - Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate - 13th May 2021 The 2018 Cornas Vieilles Vignes blends fruit from some of the top lieux-dits of the appellation: Combe, Patou, La Côte, Les Mazards and Chaillot. Aged 20 months in approximately 15% new oak, it’s a dark, inky-hued wine, but one that retains bright, fresh fruit notes of red raspberries and plums alongside hints of cedar and menthol. It’s full-bodied and concentrated on the palate, with a firm, granitic structure and sense of restraint, fine-grained, almost silky tannins and tremendous length.SP9494 pts. - Wine Spectator - Feb 28, 2021 Dark and winey, with lots of steeped black cherry, plum and blackberry fruit forming the core while light sweet tapenade, rosemary and mineral notes streak through on the finish. Vivid, energetic Cornas. Best from 2022 through 2036. 1,350 cases made, 128 cases imported.
WE9898 pts. - Wine Enthusiast - 10/1/2021 This Grenache is sourced from the sandy soils of two prized vineyards, La Janasse and La Crau. Redolent of rose petals, smoky tea leaves and black cherry, the deeply penetrating wine pulsates through a long, long finish. Matured 12 months in large-format wood, it’s pure in fruit and satiny on the palate. Stunning young, the wine should gain complexity through at least 2040 and hold much further still.JD96+96–99 pts. - Jeb Dunnuck - 10/6/2020 The 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape Cuvée Chaupin looks to be a magical wine in the making. It has everything you could want from this region as well as from Grenache. Revealing a medium ruby/purple, almost opaque color as well as a gorgeous bouquet of kirsch liqueur, wild strawberries, loamy soil, peppery garrigue, and flowers, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a seamless, multi-dimensional texture, ultra-fine tannins, and a blockbuster of a finish. This is one of those incredible wines that delivers serious intensity and richness yet stays weightless and is as elegant as they come. It’s going to be approachable with just 2–3 years of bottle age yet will have 20 years or more of longevity.
JD9191 pts. - Jeb Dunnuck - 11/11/2022 The 2021 Côtes Du Rhône Les Becs Fins Blanc offers lots of white peach, honeyed flowers, and apple blossom-like nuances in a medium-bodied, supple, fruit-forward, yet incredibly pure and balanced package. It’s a terrific white well worth seeking out. I’d drink bottles over the coming year or two, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it keep longer either. (Jeb Dunnuck)SP9090 pts. - Wine Spectator - Web only – 2022 A tasty, friendly white, with honeysuckle, creamed pear, quince and warm ginger flavors that are broad and open. Reveals zesty spice and quinine bitter notes, which make for a lively finish. Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne and Clairette. Drink now. (Alison Napjus)
SP9090 pts. - Wine Spectator - Web only – 2022 A big-boned Côtes du Rhône, with warm fig and sappy black fruit and licorice cascading across the palate. Features firm tannins, which are just beginning to release layers of brooding fruity, herbal minerals. For fans of the riper style. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault. Drink now through 2025. 5,000 cases made, 3,000 cases imported.JD9090 pts. - Jeb Dunnuck - 11/3/2021 As to the reds, the 2019 Côtes Du Rhône Maclura offers plenty of dark fruits, black olive, and peppery garrigue in its rich, mouth-filling, full-bodied style. It’s a classic, pleasure-bent 2019 to drink over the coming 3–5 years. (Jeb Dunnuck)