Two red Rhones

jab red

Both these wines came from a snappily titled WS mixed case – 2009 Rhone North and South (Revised Selection) –  purchased en primeur in 2011. Cost of the case (12 bottles) was £127 plus another £51 in duty and VAT, which makes £178 or around an average of £15 a bottle. In fact the Jaboulet was less than that and the Mont-Redon more. Both makers are on the up after a period of decline. I used to buy a case like this every year but have come to realise that it is not a good idea. Better to pick wines with characteristics you like which in my case would be early maturing and lowish alcohol. For example the case includes two bottles of Ventabren Escaravailles at 15% which I’m reluctant to open. Both these wines are ready to drink with the Jaboulet at 12.5% and the Mont-Redon at 14.5%, although that difference was not evident in the taste.

2009 in the Rhone, especially the north was hailed as a brilliant vintage. A wet winter was followed by a long, hot, dry summer. In the south it was too hot and too dry – at least until September.

The Croze was excellent. Plenty of syrah fruit with some acidity providing a lift. The tannins were integrated and it probably didn’t need decanting. I’ve never really appreciated CdP – a bit like Barolo I think. A large area with no obvious quality structure, the wines often heavy, over extracted and too alcoholic. We’ve only blogged on a couple of CdP reds. One – from a renown maker – we weren’t too keen on. The other was a lovely oddity made in a style no longer seen. So I opened the Mont-Redon with some trepidation. Actually pretty good, more full bodied and tannic than the Jaboulet but very drinkable. Not as jammy as the Usseglio linked above and lasted well into day 2. Will doubtless keep for a few years. The vineyard website is silent on the grapes used and I suspect it is a mixture of most or all of the varieties (now up to 18) allowed in the appellation with a high percentage of grenache.

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