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   Each of these thirteen great wines has a character of its own. Often the French wine is legendary one that offers the drinker the chance to become acquainted with the region, the soil, the variety of grape, and to meet the wine-maker in person.

The climate is a mild continental one on the steep, rough slopes around Tain-L'Hermitage with granite beneath the soil. In the southern part of the Rhone the soil is chalky, overlain with sediments in places and the climate is warmer and drier in proximity with the Mediterranean.

 

CÔTE ROTIE

Côte Rotie is solely red French wine and comes from two very steep granite hills, the Côte Blonde and the Côte Brune. According to legend the domain of the estate owner Maugiron was divided in the MiddleAges between his two daughters: one was blonde, the other brunette. This is said to be how the hills got their names. Côte Rotie is dark red and has a bouquet in which raspberry, herbs, and a suggestion of violets can be discerned. When older, the upper notes are of vanilla, and apricot or peach stones.

These French wine is fairly full-bodied with plenty of tannin but well-rounded with a tremendous experience of taste and prolonged aftertaste. Open the bottle in advance of drinking.

 

CONDRIEU

This white French wine originates from steep granite slopes which cannot be cultivated other than by hand. The grape used is Viognier and the wine is a pale golden colour and possesses a powerful nose of wild flowers, irises, violets, and apricot. These French wine has considerable strength and is well-rounded. Since 1990 the rare Condrieu Vendanges Tardives Cuvee les Eguets has reappeared, made with sympathy by Yves Cuilleron.

 

CHÁTEAU-GRILLET

This minuscule vineyard of only 3.3 hectares and 10,000 bottles per year is one of the smallest appellations and also one of the best white wines of France. The wine will have to be tried locally. The colour is a clear yellow and tends towards straw colouring when older. The bouquet is somewhat closed and only develops after a time. Once again apricot and white peach are discovered in the upper notes. The taste is a full one, fatty, very rich and complex.

Remember to open the bottle a few hours before drinking.

 

ST-JOSEPH

This fine, harmonious and elegant dark red wine, with a subtle perfume of black currant and raspberry, later develops suggestions of leather and liquorice. Drink slightly chilled at approx. 59°F (15°C) . The white wine is a sunny yellow with a green tinge and its nose suggests wild flowers, acacia blossom, and honey. This is a fresh wine with great depths. Drink chilled at approx. 53.6°F (12°C).

 

CROZES-HERMITAGE

In terms of volume, this is the largest of the northern Crus. Although not of the same quality as its cousin, Crozes-Hermitage does come close to Hermitage in terms of its characteristic bouquet and taste. The white wine is a clear yellow with very floral nose and full, fatty taste. Drink chilled at approx. 53.6°F (12°C).

 The red French wine is dark red and very intense. The bouquet recalls red fruit, leather, and herbs. The taste is elegant despite the discreet presence of tannin. Drink slightly chilled at approx. 59 °F (15°C).

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