Xavier Côtes du Rhône 2018
Rhône Valley, France
Grenache 60%, Mourvèdre 25%, Syrah 15%
Châteauneuf-du-Pape born Xavier Vignon knows the Rhône valley inside out. He spent fifteen years consulting for more than 250 wineries. Combine that with a total of thirty-four vintages in all corners of the globe and this self-styled “terroir hunter” has winemaking experience that few can match.
A master of the blend, he has honed his own range of wines by combining tiny parcels of wine, acquired as part-payment for consulting projects. He likes to explore appellations rather than vintages, so unique multi-vintage blends are a feature of his work. “Not a huge fan of oak”, instead he prefers old barrels and concrete, again so as to let the grapes take centre stage.
Xavier's Côtes du Rhône is a cut above the typical wines from this vast appellation and on a par with many a Lirac, for instance, Gigondas or similar. It dishes out plenty of raspberry and crushed dried flowers on the nose. It's medium-to-full bodied with beautiful concentration, a layered and balanced feel and good length.