The Rhone Valley
Pat Smith, Barry Fitzwilliam Maxxium

1. Cotes-du-Rhone, Guigal, 2003
Light straw, and a fresh nose distinctive of Viognier: Flowers, apricot, acacia and white peach.  Very dry, long finish, extremely pleasant.
Pat says that it's 51% Viognier; the Guigal webiste says: 50% Viognier, 20% Roussane, 12% Marsanne, 8% Clairette, 8% Bourboulenc, 2% Grenache blanc.  But we won't argue over a percentage here and there.

2. Crozes Hermitage, Domaine Alain Graillot, 2004
Medium dry, decent acidity, fruity, buttery, lovely long finish of butterscotch. 13% alc. Marsanne 80%, Roussanne 20%  Started out in 1985 and is now rated by many the top producer of Crozes Hermitage.  Lovely; shame about the price.

3. Tavel, Guigal, 2003
This 100% Grenache is a decent, fruity and even elegant r
osé, not the synthetic-tasting stuff so often found in the south of France.  It has also improved a lot from the last time I tasted it  (Can't remember the vintage). Still no way I'd pay this amount of money for it.

4. Cotes du Rhone, 'Pialade', Domaine Chateau Rayas, 2000
Light red, orangerim, no tannin, nice fresh feel. Bright, spicy, clean.  Gorgeous. 100% Grenache and unfortunately not available.

5. Cotes du Rhone Villages, Domaine Andezon, cave d'Estezargues. 2003
Dark and seemed murky (the light is terrible here).  Huge fruity nose.  Big, fruity, tannic, chewy, raspberry, cherry.  Lovely.  100% Syrah?


6. St. Joseph 'Lieu Dit', Guigal, 2002
Deep, quite tannic, softening in the glass. Tastes good behind the tannin; not outstanding, though, especially for that price. 100% Syrah.

€30 ~

7. Hermitage, Guigal, 2002
Deep clear red. Slightly smoky nose. A hint of sour milk, loads of fruit, layers of complexity. Also 100% Syrah.

8. Cote-Rotie, Chateau d'Ampuis, 2000
Clean mid-red.  Not a huge nose. Some soft tannins, red and green fruit pastilles. Smooth, complex, wonderful, stunning.  I just can't give it stars because it's too dear.  When I'm rich ... 

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