The 2013 red Rhone wines seem to have slipped people’s notice and I suspect might not get the due attention they deserve from many of the press.
A week travelling from Côte Rotie down to Gigondas has allowed me a comprehensive look at this vintage and to see that there are in general some lovely wines. It is most definitely a vintage for drinking, the alcohol levels are lower and the freshness of red fruits give many of the wines a Burgundian characteristic. These are not big heavy wines; they are lively and pure with the drinkability factor of the 2008 vintage but possibly with a bit more texture.
From a week’s tasting it is impossible to quote from all our growers but in Cote Rotie the wines of Clusel Roch have an extraordinary purity and refinement and highlight why it is such a sought after estate. The great Rene Rostaing era is sadly coming to an end; at 63 Rene has decided to pass the estate onto the next generation and from 2015 his extremely able son is taking over full control. Rene plans to spend more time in the garden and travelling with his wife.
Driving south to Cornas the wines of Alain Voge are as fine as any in the appellation. These are benchmark wines for Syrah lovers who like their wines with drive and a bite of minerality so typical of the wines from the strong schistous soils of the appellation.
In the southern Rhone again the Chateauneufs were pickled later than a normal and are slightly lighter in alcohol but have delicious balance. Guillaume Gonnet was at pains to explain how important the careful handling of his fruit was to produce wines with balance and charm. He was able to make full use of the new pyramid shaped cement vats he has just installed which in his words act like a tea pot to gently infuse the flavours from the skins rather than force them.
2013 was not an easy vintage and the late harvesting date caused many a sleepless night for the growers but the results have surely been worth it.