Well, I just finished my last flight of Rhône wines this morning, and now I get set to write my next tasting report on the region (slated for the Nov. 15 issue). As I run the numbers, I see I tasted 626 wines in total - a big jump over the previous year, when I tasted 401. These are just the wines tasted blind from bottle in my New York office (all official reviews are based on blind tastings of finished wines from bottle). And those are on top of all the barrel samples I've tasted while in the Rhône, as I usually make two trips there a year.
That's a lot of wine, but my palate isn't tired at all. The '04s are fresh, racy and ripe, and are not the monster wines that we saw in 2003. This makes the reds a lot more enjoyable now, as well as easier to taste (though this is a vintage that should age very nicely). In addition, the northern Rhône whites are superb (you'll need to be more selective with northern Rhône reds in '04). Combined with the '05s that are waiting in the wings, it's a great time to be a Rhône lover.
It would be a shame if most folks made the mistake of missing the '04s. Don't take the wines for granted if you see them in the marketplace now. The availability is limited as yields were lower than '03 for many vignerons in the south! The good news is that prices seem to be holding steady on the '04s, as the vintage is being overlooked here - maybe due to Bordeaux hype, or perhaps folks are waiting for the '05s from the Rhône instead. It's a great time for a savvy consumer to pounce.
Where do you stand at this point? Are you buying the '04s? Or waiting for something bigger and better?
Wes Sircable — Fullerton, CA — August 1, 2006 4:15am ET
J E Shuey — Dallas, TX — August 1, 2006 10:19am ET
Alfred Gregori — August 1, 2006 12:08pm ET
Elwood Reid — August 1, 2006 1:10pm ET
James Molesworth — August 1, 2006 1:22pm ET
Tim Sylvester — Santa Monica, CA — August 1, 2006 1:40pm ET
James Molesworth — August 1, 2006 1:55pm ET
Scott O Neil — UT — August 1, 2006 10:36pm ET
Paul Romero — San Jose, CA, — August 4, 2006 1:19pm ET
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