Four Red Wines from the Rhone
Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the King of the Southern Rhone. A heady mix of sun and stone, dark blood sweated from baked earth. And the best of them constrained within a tannic corset, a framework to keep such pleasures in (respectable) check.
Domaine Font de Michelle
Wine: Another Châteauneuf estate with a range of wines from Cotes du Rhone to individual villages, ie Lirac and Châteauneuf Stockists: Wine Society, Goedhuis
Why do I think of modesty? Not in quality; certainly not. Rather modesty in pricing and ego. The wine does the talking here; year in, year out, just balance and digestibility. No bold statements, just gentle persuasion.
Wine: Strictly not part of the Rhone but from Bandol a small appellation outside Marseille. Produces white, a very fashionable rose and four types of red Stockists: A & B Vintners
If Grenache provides the flesh of the Southern Rhone and Syrah its visage, Mourvedre provides the spine. A grape which wants its feet in the water and the sun on its back, it reaches its apogee in Bandol, beside the silvery sea. And within Bandol, look no further than Domaine Tempier, credited by many with saving the appellation from acquisitive property developers.
Paul Jaboulet Aîne
Wine: A huge negociant with some of its own holdings. Sells wine from all over the Rhone but strongest in the North Stockists: Majestic, Wine Society
Along with Chapoutier, one of the grand old names of the Rhone, as comfortably at home in the North as in the South. Now owned by the Bordelais, will the wildness of the Rhone yield to the polish of the Médoc? Opinion remains divided, as much to its likelihood as to the benefits of such a move.
All wines can be located via www.winesearcher.com