Highly rated from the Rhône Valley

  • Screaming value: Delas Frères grows 75 acres of vines comprising 24 acres in the Hermitage AOC, five acres in Saint-Joseph AOC and 45 acres in Crozes-Hermitage. Delas Frères’ close relationships with like-minded owner-wine growers ensure that the company is able to source grapes grown on individual parcels, which reflect their own unique terroir (Photograph courtesy Delas Frères)

    Screaming value: Delas Frères grows 75 acres of vines comprising 24 acres in the Hermitage AOC, five acres in Saint-Joseph AOC and 45 acres in Crozes-Hermitage. Delas Frères’ close relationships with like-minded owner-wine growers ensure that the company is able to source grapes grown on individual parcels, which reflect their own unique terroir (Photograph courtesy Delas Frères)

A few weeks ago, in an article about hail damage, I mentioned that we would shortly feature a few very fine Rhône wines in our stores and that were part of the package when we became involved with Discovery Wines.

I will give you three producers that we are now featuring at Burrows Lightbourn as well.

Maison Delas Frères was founded in 1835 and in 1996 a new management and leadership team invested in a total upgrade of the winery that included a complete restructuring of the cellar to, in their words, “perpetuate and sublimate the expression of the Earth”.

Old casks were replaced with the very best by makers like François Frères and Damy.

Steel tanks were discarded in favour of concrete vats for better temperature control.

These also “breathe” like oak and in doing so concentrate the wine while softly diffusing oxygen. I have noticed more and more concrete in the wineries that I have visited.

Delas Saint Esprit 2017 Côtes du Rhône gets 95/100 from the British Decanter magazine that has this to say, “60 per cent Syrah, 40 per cent Grenache.

Lovely rich opulent and floral, black berry and plum nose, the palate is big with well-layered fruit, attractively firm, but soft tannin and hints of oak, a big wine with a lovely finish”.

*Gold Medal Winner Decanter Asia Wine Awards.*

Robert Parker feels this way: “The Côtes du Rhône Saint-Esprit is a screaming value. It offers bold black cherry and blueberry fruit aromas, lively fruit flavours, silky tannins and a crisp, lengthy mocha-tinged finish. Drink this fun, bouncy little wine over the next couple of years.”

Saint-Esprit pairs well with Provençale-style cuisine, stuffed tomatoes and eggplant, mixed grills, barbecue, pulled-pork, stews and chilli.

All you have to do to enjoy this quite amazing wine is hand us $19.95. No wonder Parker calls it a “screaming value”.

Since 1670, Domaine du Pegau has farmed their vines, olive groves and cherries in the Rhône Valley. We carry wines under that name, as well as Laurence Féraud and his family, that own the estate today.

I suggest trying the Laurence Féraud 2012 Gigondas as this will show prune notes along with chocolate fudge and dried herbs from a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. The Wine Enthusiast describes it in the is way: “Intriguing, complex aromas of mocha, beef broth and dried flowers lead into a wine that’s medium to full in body, but nicely elegant, with fruit wrapped around a core of sinewy tannins. Marinated beef notes linger on the silky finish”. $31.50.

For the summer I should include Laurence Féraud “Pink Pegau” 2017 Rosé, a 100 per cent Cinsault that is pale pink/salmon in colour, with peach, floral and red fruit aromas. Bone dry, with a crisp, mouth-watering acidity culminating in a long, spicy and mineral laden finish. $19.85.

Fans of Bandol rosé will no doubt appreciate its classic style.

Lovely as an aperitif, with seafood, or even roast chicken. Parker gives it 91/100.

One of the oldest names in the production of wine is Jean-Louis Chave and sixteen generations have produced great wines since 1481!

The Chave family’s methods for their winemaking include super-low yields, full ripeness, and minimal manipulation.

Their unmatched meticulousness continues through five centuries to render venerable expressions of the purest of northern Rhône terroir.

Vinous, by Antonio Galloni writes of the Jean-Louis Chave Saint-Joseph 2014 Offerus, “Deep ruby. Powerful aromas of blackberry, candied violet and woodsmoke, plus a hint of olive that emerges with aeration. Sweet, densely packed and seamless in texture, offering juicy black and blue fruit and liquorice flavours given lift and spine by a core of juicy acidity. Spreads out and becomes spicier on the long, sweet finish, which features subtle tannins and a sexy floral nuance”.

Robert Parker feels this way. “The 2014 St Joseph Domaine is a wine that readers should buy by the case. It’s not going to be the longest-lived St Joseph out there, but it’s absolutely loaded with character.

“I was able to drink a bottle of this over lunch and it’s one of those bottles that’s always the first to be emptied. Ripe, polished and sexy, with medium-bodied richness, it has perfumed notes of dark fruits, graphite, crushed flowers and spice in an ethereally textured, seamless package. Drink bottles through 2024”.

Enjoy a bottle of this 100 per cent Syrah for $32.75.

You may wonder why I would mention a market-leader that most of us know well, but we have just introduced a new vintage and I do not want to take anything for granted.

Sasha Lichine of Château D’Esclans in Provence states with confidence that his 2018 Whispering Angel Rosé is the best yet and reviews back this up.

This is testament to an amazing team that sold 800 cases to the US in 2007 and over the next ten years increased it to 300,000 in a year.

The 2018 has fresh red berry fruit characteristics with a floral nose and a ripe and fleshy feel on the palate. It is dry with great concentration.

It has a smooth and round finish with no astringent aftertaste or bite. Extremely easy drinking. No matter what style of wine you drink, everyone finds something in Whispering Angel that they enjoy and can identify with (from beginner to wine experts).

Here is a review by James Suckling: “This is the real McCoy for this price point. The freshness here is undeniable, as it exudes citrus, rose petals, nectarines, sliced dill and coriander and the signature strawberries and cream. Flavourful and intense on the medium to full-bodied palate yet so very restrained and elegant. Super-value wine as always. Drink now. 92/100”. $28.55 per bottle and $59 for an impressive magnum.

This column is a paid for advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Written by Michael Robinson of Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. He can be contacted at mrobinson@bll.bm or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East. 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George (York Street, 297-0409)

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Published Aug 9, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 9, 2019 at 9:19 am)

Highly rated from the Rhône Valley

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