While we may refer to the Rhône Valley as if it were one region, it is in reality two - the Northern Rhône and the Southern Rhône. They are quite distinct in character in almost every respect, and are indeed separated by a good hour's motorway driving. In the north, the climate more closely resembles that of Burgundy; other aspects are also similar - there are a great many small producers, working alongside a handful of famous négociants (best known are Chapoutier and Guigal). In addition, the wines of the north are made largely from a single grape variety (Syrah for all the reds; Viognier for Condrieu; and Roussanne and Marsanne for the other white appellations).

In the south, the climate is markedly hotter, bearing a much closer resemblance to the Languedoc and other distinctively Mediterranean regions. The wines are mostly blended from a number of varieties - as many as thirteen in the case of Châteauneuf du Pape. The whole character of the south, with its heat, wind (Mistral) and dust conjours up an atmosphere much more akin to the Mediterranean basin than to northern Europe. Châteauneuf itself, dominated by the ruins of the great medieval papal fortress, epitomises this in every respect. In both north and south, we concentrate largely on the wines of individual domaines, where we believe the most distinctive styles are made.

Domaine Charvin

Laurent Charvin owns this 23 hectare estate in the heart of Châteauneuf du Pape, between Maucoil and Mont Redon.  He has 8 hectares of Châteauneuf, and a further 13 hectares of vines just beyond the appellation’s limits, classified as Côtes du Rhône.  The vineyards are planted with approximately 80% of Grenache and 20% of Syrah.  One of the most famous of the region’s small producers, with a reputation for quality established by his outstanding Châteauneuf, it should come as little surprise that the Côtes du Rhône, made mainly from very old Grenache vines, is a wine of real class.

Domaine Charvin   a Grenache vine planted before 1930


2011 Côtes du Rhône Rouge, Domaine Charvin
 12 Bottles
Beautiful nose – lots of ripe raspberry fruit and violets. Fresh, fruity and focused, this has purity, intensity and lovely balance and persistence. Terrific length - fresh and really delicious. 
2013 Côtes du Rhône Rouge, Domaine Charvin
 12 Bottles
"A solid effort, the Grenache-dominated 2013 Côtes du Rhône reveals a healthy ruby color as well as Provençal notes of peppery herbs, saddle leather, licorice and ripe cherries. Medium-bodied, fresh and focused, it has lots to like and will have a decade of overall longevity. 87" Jeb Dunnuck in Robert Parker's Wine Advocate #221 
2014 Côtes du Rhône Rouge, Domaine Charvin
 12 Bottles
"The 2014 Côtes du Rhône (80% Grenache and the balance Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan) is a peppery, pretty, rose petal and black cherry scented effort that has medium-bodied depth and richness, lots of tannin and a clean finish. Aged 18 months in concrete tanks, it should be very good and evolve nicely for a 7-8 years.  87-89" Jeb Dunnuck in Robert Parker's Wine Advocate #221 

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