The 2016 Vintage in the Southern Rhone.

The 2016 Vintage in the Southern Rhone. Simply Breathtaking….

Over the past thirty years or so I have had the opportunity to taste many great wines from the finest vintages in the Southern Rhone. Perhaps, however, the wines coming from the soon to be released 2016 vintage may well be the best I have ever tasted. In recent years the two outstanding vintages to come out of the Rhone have been the rich, extremely ripe 2007s and the more mineral, age-worthy 2010s. 2016 appears to combine these attributes but with an added ‘je ne sais quoi….’. a freshness and certain ‘zing’ that make the flavours bounce around the palate. This is a vintage that has been kind to every appellation, from the humble, generic Cotes du Rhones to the stellar creations that come from Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas.

Over the coming weeks and months, we will be offering a variety of wines from this terrific vintage. A great way to judge a vintage like 2016 is with wines from the lower end of the price spectrum: the 2016 Cotes du Rhone from the family estate of Marie Giraud is a brilliant example.

2016 Cotes du Rhone, Giraud

To call this a Cotes du Rhone is rather underplaying whats in the bottle. The majority of the grapes that produce this wine come from the vineyards of Lirac, which lies on the west bank of the Rhone opposite Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Lirac also shares the same soil type as its illustrious neighbour: large, ‘pudding’ stones or cailloux, which absorb the heat during the day and warm the vineyards at night. The 2016 has fantastic perfume, there's a real sense of Provence here. The flavours are soft and supple with terrific minerality and length. This is a top Lirac in all but name. Simply delicious and a perfect introduction to the glories of the 2016 vintage.

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