Rhone 2012: First report on the Cote Roties


Day 1 of my Primeur tastings of the 2012 vintage in the Rhone and I suspect our growers need my visit like a hole in the head! Whilst they know that selling their wines is a priority, they are in the midst of their harvest and their total focus has to be on the incoming grapes and the fruit of the last 12 months travail. In my defence when these visits were set some 2 months ago, we all thought that the 2013 vintage would be done and dusted and the wines would be quietly fermenting away. Not so as these photos show!


I started at Domaine Bonnefond in the district of Cote Rotie. Christophe had been out in the vineyards since 6.30 in the morning so I was beautifully looked after by his parents. They are both in their late 70’s and were clearly pleased to be centre of attention again, hosting a tasting and beaming with pride at the success of their two sons. The 2012s are singing here, deep, rich, concentrated and full of life and real longevity.


Domaine Monteillet was the source of my photos. In this hyper modern winery I could be excused for thinking I was in the New World. “Hotel California” at full volume in the background, two Kiwi wine makers and a young English vigneron with his Chilean girlfriend, this was more Route 66 California than D24 Cote-Rotie! Dynamic, full of energy this fantastic cellar is everything that modern wine making should be.


Stephane Montez of Monteillet typifies the Rhone’s strengths. Whilst respecting its heritage he is more than happy to push the boundaries to achieve the ultimate quality… His 2012s are exceptional – driven, pure, concentrated, but ultimately very fine with huge levels of subtlety and complexity.


Without a doubt the 2012 vintage in the Rhone Valley is potentially very special indeed and I certainly have a very exciting week ahead of me.