Découvertes En Vallée du Rhône – Day 3


From 17 C in Avignon to 5 C in Tain l’Hermitage. Spring canceled. But who cares? Finally I got the chance to run up that hill….

Pilgrimage number one – Hermitage. When it comes to Syrah there’s nothing like a northern Rhône in my world. Hence the undescribable feeling when walking the vineyards, checking out the soil and freezing to death thanks to the ice cold wind.

The train station in Tain l’Hermitage has quite a view. Lucky those who commute to Vienne or Valence every morning.

Still no sign of life in the Hermitage. But budbreak is closing in, the most vulnerable time for the vines.

Respect your vineyards? Heck, I worship them!

La Geynale – A truly great Cornas from a personal favorite of mine, Vincent Paris. With old vines, some dating 100 years back, the La Geynale site is carefully interpreted by a real master. Whole cluster fermentation and no new oak. In a vintage like 2011 in Cornas, the skills of the winemaker are truly shown. World class stuff!

This guy, Vincent Paris, surely knows what he’s doing. La Geynale for sure, but don’t forget to try his Granit 30 and Granit 60. The numbers? The degree of the slopes.

Pierre-Marie and Olivier Clape, son and grand-son of Auguste Clape. Still the reference for Cornas.

And the 2011 Cornas from Clape….an extra-ordinary wine with such classy structure. Again, 2011 is a winemaker’s year in northern Rhône and Pierre-Marie and Olivier’s use of old foudres pays off in such vintages. What am I saying, it pays off in years like 2010 as well! Clape rules.

Monsieur Alain Graillot, master of Crozes-Hermitage? Think so. And a bit of an avant-garde guy as well, using screwcap for his white wine.

Natacha Chave. The name sounds familiar right? She’s the younger sister of Yann Chave and since a few years she produces two wines of her own under the label Aléofane – a Saint Joseph and a Crozes-Hermitage from old vines. Especially the latter is a real treat. Check out her wines; they’re worth it.