Go for Rhône — the classic French wine that’s also great value

Given that 2018 is the fourth great rhône vintage in a row, it’s time we all stocked up on what is the best-value classic French wine region. What’s weird about the Rhône, despite its stellar whites and reds, is just how few of us put it on a par with Bordeaux and Burgundy.Perhaps what confuses drinkers are the dozens of wine styles made along the Rhône valley, from Lyons in the north to Provence in the south. They broadly divide into two camps: the cooler northern Rhône’s steep, granite, terraced slopes produce peppery, syrah-spiced reds, while the sunbaked south is known for heady, herby grenache-led gems. As so often, the 2018 vintage is a game of two halves [ . . . ]

Read full story at THE SUNDAY TIMES: Go for Rhône — the classic French wine that’s also great value | Weekend | The Times

Berger on wine: There’s much to love about Rhône Valley wines

Rhône region winesDan Berger writes about the wines of the Rhône region of southern France, which have long flown under the radar.

Of all the French wine regions that are widely considered iconic, perhaps the least acclaimed is the southern French district known as the Rhône Valley.

The name Chateauneuf-du-Pape in the south (literally “new home of the pope”) comes from the roughly 70-year period when political and ecclesiastical conflicts caused the papacy to be based not in Rome but in Avignon, France. The reds can be utterly sublime.

Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Alsace and the Loire Valley all have supporters, with the first three attaining near mythic status and lots attention on the world wine stage. Most of the wines from this trio of regions today command high prices. Continue reading “Berger on wine: There’s much to love about Rhône Valley wines”

Massive Rhône Valley Wine Fraud Reported by French Authorities

French anti-fraud authorities allege that a Rhône Valley wine merchant mislabeled more than 5 million cases of table wine as more expensive appellations like Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Between October 2013 and June 2016, Raphaël Michel, a bulk-wine merchant in France’s Rhône Valley, allegedly sold the equivalent of 13 Olympic-size swimming pools of cheap French table wine while claiming it was some of the best wine of the Southern Rhône Valley.

Those details and more emerged with the release of the annual report of the DGCCRF (Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control), France’s powerful anti-fraud agency. While the report does not name Raphaël Michel, the details match precisely with the investigation first reported last July by Wine Spectator. Independent sources confirm that Raphaël Michel is the unnamed company in the report.

According to the DGCCRF report, between 2013 and 2016, the merchant sold around 20 million liters of table wine—the equivalent of 2.23 million cases—as more lucratively priced appellation-level wines including Côtes du Rhône, Côtes du Rhône-Villages and even 108,000 cases of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

When investigators dug deeper, the scam grew even larger, encompassing even more kinds of wine. “In total, the fraud touched more than 48 million liters of wine,” reads the report. That is the equivalent of 5.33 million cases of fake wine, 15 percent of the Côtes du Rhône production during those years [ . . . ]

Read full story at: WINE SPECTATOR Massive Rhône Valley Wine Fraud Reported by French Authorities | News | News & Features | Wine Spectator