It's time. Time to head back to France's Rhône Valley. It's been a little while since my last trip in June 2012. Prior to that, I worked my way through the Northern Rhône in April 2011. So I wonder: Could I be rusty? Nah, I doubt it ...
My current annual Rhône report is in the Nov. 30 issue and it focuses on the 2011 vintage, now on retail shelves in the U.S. There are plenty more 2011s yet to taste, but I am also beginning to turn my attention to 2012, which is the vintage I will be tasting during this trip (though sometimes producers will show me other vintages as well).
As always, the domaines I visit are a mix of new and familiar faces, based on the results of my official tastings in the New York office. But when I'm in the cellars at domaines, the wines I taste either out of barrel, or perhaps just bottled, are not given official scores as they are not tasted blind. I give brief, informal tasting notes here in the blog, along with additional background info on the vignerons. These trips are to get a handle on the upcoming vintage, both in terms of style and quality. The more clinical tasting, done blind with bottled samples in New York, comes later.
I've got eight days to cover a fair amount of ground, so no time to waste. I hope you'll follow along as I start in Côte-Rôtie and work my way down through Condrieu, Hermitage and Cornas.