Rhône sees ‘return to tradition’

4th March, 2014 by Gabriel Stone

A steady shift back towards traditional vinification methods among Rhône producers is helping to underpin quality across the region, according to Simon Field MW, Rhône buyer for Berry Brothers & Rudd.

RhoneSpeaking to the drinks business as the UK merchant prepared to welcome 300 customers to its Rhône 2012 en primeur tasting in London yesterday, Field summed up the vintage as “not big boned but elegant-plus.”

Noting that in general the wines “do not have the concentration of the 2010s”, he drew closer comparisons with 2011 or the “less weighty but magnificent” 2006 vintage.

Despite his praise for the quality of the finished wines, Field noted that the early part of the 2012 growing season was “quite tricky, especially in the south where some of the old Grenache vines actually died.” Although warmer weather during the summer and stable autumn conditions were good news for quality, the cool springtime conditions meant that some producers’ yields were down by as much as 30%.

Aside from considerations relating to weather conditions, Field suggested that the most successful results in the a Rhône today tend to come from producers who stick to the region’s traditional approach of “ferment in cement and then leave in foudres for a year.” Indeed, he reported signs of a general shift back in this direction, remarking: “a return to tradition seems to be the thing.”

Within Berry Bros’ own list, Field noted “a move away from Châteauneuf du Pape”, where he argued that too many wines – “not our own of course” – are becoming “a little bit ponderous these days.” Instead he remarked that he was “looking a little bit more carefully at the villages, places like Vinsobres or Cairanne, which is reaping dividends.”

Although white Rhône represents a small proportion of Berry Bros’ total sales from this region, Field confirmed there was “more and more interest” in these wines.

“The general aperçu is that the whites are now less oxidised and made in a cleaner fashion to show what you can do with Grenache Blanc,” he remarked, adding: “more and more people are also using varieties like Clairette and Bourboulenc.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

UK Brand Ambassador - That Boutique-y Gin Company

That Boutique-y Gin Company
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK

Senior National Account Manager – Grocery (Craft Spirits)

Maverick Drinks
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK

Senior National Account Manager – Wholesale RTM (Craft Spirits)

Maverick Drinks
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK

Digital Marketing Manager

Master of Malt
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK

Experienced On Trade Sales Person

Borough Wine Imports
London, GB

3 x Business Development Executive

The Lakes Distillery Company Limited
Newcastle head office and nationwide, UK

Editor

Master of Malt Ltd
Tunbridge Wells(Kent)

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
Liverpool

Brand Manager

Hallgarten Druitt
Luton, UK

Experienced On-Trade Salespeople Required

Portal Wines and Spirits
London, UK

Purchasing and Sales (Wine Trader)

JF Tobias
London, UK

Sales Account Manager - On-Trade

Berkmann Wine Cellars
Cambridge / Peterborough / Bedfordshire, UK

The Global Merlot Masters 2017

Deadline : 17th April 2017

db Awards 2017

Deadline : 28th April 2017

The Global Organic Masters 2017

Deadline : 14th April 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

Deadline : 12th May 2017

Click to view more

Global Chardonnay Masters 2016

Now in its fourth year, the competition will identify the best Chardonnay from all around the world in every price range.

Rioja Masters 2016

Now in its fifth year, the competition will recognise and reward the finest Riojas on the world stage.

Fortified Masters 2016

Now in its third year, The Fortified Masters will reward the best fortified wines on offer.

The Global Malbec Masters 2016

the drinks business is proud to announce the inaugural Global Malbec Masters 2016.

Click to view more