WELCOME TO CLARION WINES
Clarion Wines has grown out of the combined experience of three very different partners, with between them a little over 60 years in the Wine Trade. We are united by our ambition to work for ourselves in complete independence, running a small and efficient business which can deliver precisely what you are looking for at a fair price, with a strong emphasis on service and without the complications which can sometimes attend dealing with larger firms. This aim applies whether you are a buyer of regular drinking wines, or a collector of the greatest wines that France and Italy have to offer - as our ever-changing list covers an extraordinary breadth of both price and style.
The intention of our website is to show you all of the wines we have in stock along with our list of fine and rare wines, which includes wines owned by Clarion as well as stock to which we have access on a broking basis from various carefully controlled sources. In addition, you can see other special offers, wines offered regionally 'en primeur' and our full range of events and services. Whatever you are looking for please get in touch and we will do our very best to help.
We have tried to provide detailed information on the wines and their producers for those who are interested in finding out more - while keeping the amounts of immediately visible text to manageable levels.
If you feel there is room for improvement in any area, do please let us know - we are always happy to try and make things better in the hopes that you will keep coming back.
2013 was the latest vintage since 1999 in most of the Rhône Valley, apparently reversing the recent trend for early picking dates. Spring saw some of the coolest and wettest weather for 15 years or more, and the resulting difficult conditions during flowering set the pattern for the growing season, in particular ensuring a very low crop (especially for Grenache in the south, and for Roussanne and Marsanne in the north). Good growers enjoy a challenge however: Laurent Charvin talked eloquently of drawing on memories of how his father and grandfather coped with similarly difficult conditions in the 1980s. The difference in 2013 is that viticultural know-how has advanced considerably and, most importantly, good growers kept their yields down.
In the end, it was the small size of the crop, combined with relatively warm days and cool nights in the weeks just before the harvest, which ensured phenolic ripeness. Those growers who, faced with another small crop, couldn’t resist attempting a little extra production have paid a heavy price in unripe fruit. Among these good growers however, these wines represent a return to an older style – with lovely pure fruit, fine acidity giving precision and focus to the flavours, and slightly lower alcohol levels than have been seen in recent vintages.
2013 Bordeaux En Primeur
Over three days of comprehensive tastings, we have sorted the successful from the less successful, and now have a list of wines which we are happy to recommend to lovers of fine claret, who wish to buy wines for drinking (rather than for investment) over the short to medium term. The wines to avoid lack fruit and are marred by hard, aggressive, unripe tannins. The good wines, made with a lightness of touch in the vinification process, are well balanced, with lovely classic characteristics of fine-grained tannins supporting fresh, precise fruit and long, balanced finishes. There remains one further caveat however – the prices need to drop. The wines may have been produced in significantly smaller volumes than usual, and at a correspondingly higher cost – but the consumer needs to be cut some slack by the money making machines of Bordeaux, and given the chance to see a return to affordability by classed growth properties. If – and it’s a big if – this happens, there will be wines that it is possible to recommend strongly.