Rhône 2022 En Primeur

Overview

A return to the new norm of warmer vintages, after last year’s blip, has shown good to very good results in both the Northern and Southern Rhône, even if the style of wines seems slightly at odds with the “hottest, driest year since 1950”! In general, the wines are generous without being too powerful, with a purity of fresh fruit and fragrance, whilst maintaining surprisingly moderate alcohol levels, by Rhône standards at least, being around 12.5% to 14.5% in the main. Across the board they are very pleasant to drink even at this stage, so whatever you choose will provide pleasant drinking throughout their lives.

The Big Picture

As we travelled around from grower to grower, we found wines that didn’t fit the narrative of a hot, dry vintage – they were full of freshness with a juicy character. We heard several theories trying to rationalise this apparent contradiction in the wines. The most common was that nearly 20 years after the shock of the 2003 vintage the vines themselves are beginning to adapt to the changing climate. Once the heat and drought hits, the vine’s self-preservation system kicks in and they close down, blocking maturity. The winemakers are perhaps being a little modest as well; they too have learned new techniques to adapt to the new norm of a warming climate. In the South especially, there was much talk of the varieties; increasing the proportions of those that bring freshness to the blends (such as Counoise) and increasing the proportion of white grapes used in the red wines, as well as increased use of whole bunches, which can bring freshness in a warm year when the stalks themselves are ripe.

The Wines

In spite of, or indeed because of, the drought conditions the wines show an attractive blend of warm sweet fruit and a surprising freshness. Some are lighter in style with crunchy red notes, whilst others are fuller and richer with darker, blacker fruits. They also show finesse, elegance and concentration. There are some tannins but amongst our growers, at least, they are rounded, ripe and any ‘edges’ will be smoothed of by further ageing before they are bottled next year. Increasingly growers don’t like comparing vintages but 2010 and 2007 were mentioned, both years that showed good concentration but more importantly, finesse. Once again, the whites continue to impress, they are richer and more powerful than last year, full of ripe, waxy, stone fruit and floral undertones. They should be appreciated for their generosity and ebullience; none of the whites we tried were too big for comfort!

The Weather

The hottest, driest year since 1950 (even hotter than the now “infamous” 2003) saw broadly similar weather patterns in both the South and the North. A dryish winter was followed by a warm spring which allowed early budburst. There were some worried faces in April when a cool spell looked like it might repeat the frosts of 2021, but the fears were unfounded. May was very hot with temperatures reaching in excess of 30ºC. At this stage the valley had seen just a third of its average rainfall. The heat led to a quick but successful flowering. A little welcome rain was reported in June, just 90mm, but this was enough to encourage the vines to push on; by the 15th of June there was a heatwave, the earliest on record. It was also windy which exacerbated the water loss. Veraison, the colour change of the grapes, reportedly started early in July which is super-early. The upside of this weather was an almost complete absence of disease this year, the downside that it has reduced the yields by producing smaller berries with thick skins and a lot of pulp but not much juice. There was however some “weather” in August, but its impact was wildly diferent. On the 14th of August a storm hit the South; it was localised and devastating, a tornado of hail and rain tracked across the Crau plateau of Châteauneuf wiping out up to 80% of the crop, just two days before the harvest had been scheduled to start. The Bruniers at Vieux Télégraphe were the most exposed and as a result no Vieux Télégraphe red or white has been made this year. At Giraud and at Gonnet too they were afected but to a lesser degree. Elsewhere in the valley the storm provided much needed, and welcome, rain and it arrived in more benign form in the North the next day. Immediately after, the winds blew again ensuring that the increased humidity did not turn to rot. Harvest started early, around 22nd August for the whites and a few days later for the reds and was all over before the end of September.

Full Vintage & Growers Report

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Cellar Cases

    Name
    Type
    Notes
    Case Size
    Price
    Quantity
  • | Case of 24

    The Rhône Valley represents some of the best value to be had in all of France and the wines make for wonderful short-term cellaring. These have all proved to be delicious in the 2022 vintage.Case includes:6x Côtes du Rhône-Villages Signargues, Cuvée Notre Passion, Gonnet 20226x Château Courac, Laudun Côtes du Rhône-Villages 20226x Rasteau, Domaine la Soumade, Frédéric Roméro 20226x Syrah Or Piste, Vin de France, Aurélien Chirat 2022

    Case of 24

    £231.00
  • | Case of 24

    This cellar highlights the best examples of their kind from both the northern and southern Rhône. These are slightly lesser-known villages where, we feel, real gems can be found and the quality punches well above their relatively modest price tags. All are from top-class growers who put their respective villages on the map. This selection will provide excellent mid-term cellaring to give you a true flavour of the Rhône Valley.Case includes:6x Lirac Vieilles Vignes, Les Sables d'Arène, Domaine Giraud 2022 (organic)6x Vacqueyras, Cuvée des Templiers, Domaine Le Clos des Cazaux 20226x Rasteau, La Fontaine, Domaine La Collière 20226x Cairanne Rouge, l'Ebrescade, Marcel Richaud 2022

    Case of 24

    £372.00
  • | Case of 24

    A selection of wines from the region’s most famous appellations. These will all cellar well and have a long drinking window, of up to 15 years and possibly beyond. These are well-known villages where it’s important to seek the best wines, from growers who are the best in class – which these four certainly are! Case includes:6x Cornas, Terres Brûlées, Domaine Colombo 2022 (organic)6x Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine Giraud 2022 (organic)6x Gigondas, Les Racines, Domaine Les Pallières 20226x Crozes-Hermitage, Cuvée Gaby, Domaine du Colombier 2022

    Case of 24

    £666.00

André Perret

    Name
    Type
    Notes
    Case Size
    Price
    Quantity
  • White | Case of 6

    White

    From ungrafted 50 year old vines this elegant and floral with plenty of white orchard fruits, there is good concentration and depth on the palate with a hint of fresh almond and a lovely fresh finish. 0-3 years.

    Case of 6

    £81.00
  • White | Case of 6

    White

    A gentle wine with easy Viognier fruit of white peach, apricot and a hint of jasmine. Lovely elegance, a lovely mineral note before a surprisingly long finish. 0-3 years.

    Case of 6

    £87.00
  • Red | Case of 6

    Red

    The vines are now over 40 years old so bring extra depth and concentration to the wine. Brambly with a touch of damson, before some present but well balanced tannins and a very pure fruit character with just a hint of dark chocolate, long on the finish. 3 years.

    Case of 6

    £102.00
  • White | Case of 6

    White

    A very attractive nose with white flowers and sweet yellow fruits. It has a lovely silky mouth-feel, rich orangey fruit, a blend of Marsanne and Roussanne, with the latter bringing freshness and the former weight and depth. 0-5 years.

    Case of 6

    £126.00
  • Red | Case of 6

    Red

    A welcome return of GrisiŠres after last year. 30% whole bunches were used to bring freshness to the wine which is very deep and concentrated with rich plum-laden fruit, plenty of spice and a more gentle floral note before a creamy, elevated finish. 3-12 years.

    Case of 6

    £132.00
  • White | Case of 6

    White

    Always the brooding one in the line up, more herbal and floral in nature. It is rich, shows great texture and mouthfeel as well as great intensity of cooked orange and spice. 3-7 years.

    Case of 6

    £246.00
  • White | Case of 6

    White

    A clean fresh nose, with floral tones. Very attractive on the palate with super balance, the freshness coping admirably with a rich weighty fruit and demonstrating a chalky mineral note under sweet white peach fruit and super succulence on the finish. 3-7 years

    Case of 6

    £246.00

Brunier Family

    Name
    Type
    Notes
    Case Size
    Price
    Quantity
  • | Case of 6

    With no Telegraphe produced this year and this wine bolstered with what remained, Telegramme doesn't disappoint. Rich, ripe brambly fruit with raspberry overtones and notes of violets before a hint of strawberry and garrigue herbs on the finish. 5-10+ years.

    Case of 6

    £153.00
  • Red | Case of 6

    Red

    Super fruit on the nose with an almost liqueur-like intensity. Damson and black cherries to the fore with a more red fruit character underneath. Beautifully weighted on the palate with a freshness and very fine tannins which leave a lingering finish. 5-15 years.

    Case of 6

    £153.00
  • Red | Case of 6

    Red

    Very fine, elegant cherry and strawberry fruit. Wonderfully balanced on the palate, the lovely sweet fruit character countered with freshness and supported by some super-fine tannins. 5-10+ years.

    Case of 6

    £216.00

Château Courac

    Name
    Type
    Notes
    Case Size
    Price
    Quantity
  • Red | Case of 6

    Red

    Packed with black fruits and enticing garrigue notes with a just a nod to licquorice. Despite the heat there is great freshness with appealing concentration. This wine always provides serious value and drinkability - this vintage is no exception. 2-7 years.

    Case of 6

    £42.00

Domaine Colombo

    Name
    Type
    Notes
    Case Size
    Price
    Quantity
  • White | Case of 6

    White

    Viognier from the northern Rhone with a little Roussanne to bring added freshness, this is rich and weighty with lovely texture on the palate, very elegant and fine with fresh, citrus tones of the Roussanne enhancing the rich Viognier. 0-3 years.

    Case of 6

    £69.00
  • Red | Case of 6

    Red

    This is a very classic Cornas with dark, black raspberry fruit and liquorice, with some svelte tannins in support but never dominating, before the typical juicy, Cornas freshness comes through on the finish. 3-9 years.

    Case of 6

    £210.00
  • Red | Case of 6

    Red

    The she-wolf but far from being aggressive this is intense, almost liqueur like and complex too. Super-sweet fruit but always elegant, some present but very ripe tannins and a fruity finish of blueberry, blackberry, damson and spice. Terrific. 5-15+ years.

    Case of 6

    £315.00

Domaine Giraud

Domaine La Collière

    Name
    Type
    Notes
    Case Size
    Price
    Quantity
  • Red | Case of 6

    Red

    From 60 years old vines showcasing the blue, red and yellow clay soils. A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre that is showing damsons and violets, great structure without tightness, and a juicy acidity. Tapenade and blossom notes on the finish. 3-7 years.

    Case of 6

    £75.00
  • Red | Case of 6

    Red

    A small 2.5 ha site centred around a natural spring , 98% Grenache (whole bunch), 1% Syrah, 1% Mourvedre aged for 9 months. Wonderful fragrant notes with a melange of pure fruit flavours, this is both delicate and concentrated, and very fine indeed. 3-9 years.

    Case of 6

    £108.00

Domaine La Soumade - F Romero

Domaine Marcel Richaud

    Name
    Type
    Notes
    Case Size
    Price
    Quantity
  • Red | Case of 6

    Red

    A wonderfully rich mouth-filling style with plenty of dark plum and raspberry fruit but also much elegance and super balance on the palate with fine ripe tannins and a soft and juicy finish. 0-5 years.

    Case of 6

    £57.00
  • Red | Case of 6

    Red

    Deep, intense and brooding on the nose. Rich, dark fruit flavours with notes of liquorice and fresh tobacco, some tannins, this is part aged in wooden vats and casks which bring substance and depth to the wine, before a bright uplifting finish. 3-7 years.

    Case of 6

    £72.00
  • White | Case of 6

    White

    A blend of classic southern Rh?ne white varietals offering an approachable style with some peach and apricot fruit on the nose and palate, a great texture and mouthfeel with lovely weight and an elegant, zesty finish. 0-5 years.

    Case of 6

    £87.00
  • Red | Case of 6

    Red

    This wine spends 22 months in large oak barrels to bring roundness and complexity. It remains fresh and succulent but with plenty of weight, hints of vanilla and spice are found amongst the rich fruit before a long and concentrated finish. 3-9 years.

    Case of 6

    £105.00

Domaine Mucyn

Domaine Roger Perrin

    Name
    Type
    Notes
    Case Size
    Price
    Quantity
  • Red | Case of 6

    Red

    Creamy, black fruited aromas and floral notes coming through. Concentrated blackberry notes fill the palate, along with enticingly fragrant ripe, red fruits too and a lovely texture. This is big, full and long with great integration. 5-15 years.

    Case of 6

    £114.00

Domaine de l'Amandine

Domaine des Bernardins

    Name
    Type
    Notes
    Case Size
    Price
    Quantity
  • Red | Case of 6

    Red

    A lovely floral nose from the white grapes used. It is super-crunchy with fresh strawberry and cranberry fruit. The palate is ripe but the lovely fresh fruit character is beautifully balanced, a black treacle note brings a darker note to the finish. 3-7 years.

    Case of 6

    £72.00

Domaine du Cayron

    Name
    Type
    Notes
    Case Size
    Price
    Quantity
  • Red | Case of 6

    Red

    Intense notes of black and blue fruit with a lovely floral character and even a hint of citrus keep it fresh and appealing. On the palate the fruit is rich, concentrated with plenty of supple, ripe tannins before a note of black pepper spice to finish. 5-15 years.

    Case of 6

    £117.00

Domaine du Colombier

Famille Gonnet

Le Clos des Cazaux

Perrin Family

Pierre Gaillard

    Name
    Type
    Notes
    Case Size
    Price
    Quantity
  • Red | Case of 6

    Red

    A dark intense wine with notes of white pepper and a floral hint on both the nose and palate with oodles of sweet cherry fruit with a soft, approachable style and a wonderfully juicy finish. 0-3 years.

    Case of 6

    £48.00
  • White | Case of 6

    White

    Best thought of as mini-Condrieu this Côtes du Rhône is made with 100% Viognier aged in old oak barrels. The result has a lovely floral, tangerine skin note with good weight, excellent freshness with a note of Earl Grey tea on a lovely, saline finish. 0-5 years.

    Case of 6

    £93.00
  • Red | Case of 6

    Red

    A very pretty nose with plenty of violet notes, more intense on the palate with ripe raspberry and plum fruit. A lovely juicy freshness on the finish provides balance and there are ripe tannins already well integrated before a long satisfying finish. 3-7 years.

    Case of 6

    £96.00
  • White | Case of 6

    White

    Restrained on the nose but with concentrated apricot fruit. The palate is more open almost peachy but the characteristic freshness of the vintage brings welcome balance, a juicy finish with a hint of ginger from the oak before a long lingering finish. 3-7 years.

    Case of 6

    £153.00
  • Red | Case of 6

    Red

    Quite smoky and meaty on the nose, this is intense and brooding, the palate strikes a lighter tone though still with plums and mulberry fruit but also showing a mineral streak that brings balance and roundness to the finish. 3-7 years.

    Case of 6

    £162.00
  • Red | Case of 6

    Red

    Intense, dark and brooding blackcurrant fruit with a touch of herbal liquorice. The palate has a lovely silkiness, rich and intense but wonderfully smooth, ripe black cherry fruit with rounded tannins and a very long finish. 5-12 years.

    Case of 6

    £168.00
  • Red | Case of 6

    Red

    A lovely attractive wine this year, the 8% Viognier lightening the intense Syrah. Violets, dark red fruits merging with blueberries, this has lovely weight and super balance. There are plenty of tannins present but wonderfully rounded and in balance. 5-15 years.

    Case of 6

    £216.00