The string of great Rhône vintages continues with a recent review of the 2012 Chapoutiers, now offered en-primeur. Chapoutier’s old-vine, biodynamically-farmed SPs (Sélections Parcellaires) only yield 300-800 cases each. They are made as traditionally as possible in a serious, long-ageing style and are often proclaimed as some of the finest wines in the world.
2012 is a nice fit between the rich, structured and backward 2010s and the more fragrant, elegant 2011s. 2012 is top vintage and combines both power and finesse. Both whites and reds from Hermitage will age well for four or five decades, although the whites can be drunk young. The St Josephs are excellent buys as Chapoutier continues to lead the appellation with ‘Les Clos’ and ‘Les Granits’. There are tiny quantities of old-vine Grenache, made solely in concrete, in his two Châteauneuf du Papes: ‘Barbe Rac’ and ‘Croix de Bois’.
Finally, those seeking standout Australian Shiraz should look at the ‘Cambrien La Pleiade’. We have the 2010 in the cellar at R650 (WA 96/100) and it vividly combines New-World fruit with French flair, made from old vines in Victoria.
We have already offered the 2011 Sélections Parcellaires, but they have now been re-rated from bottle. Initially thought to be more fruit-forward and seductive, they seem to have been underrated by the press and the new scores are slightly higher in bottle. We have small volumes of the 2011s which are arriving later this year.
The wines are offered in Rands/bottle en-primeur and arrive in six-bottle cases. They will be delivered in mid-2015 and mid-2014 respectively. VAT and landing costs (approx. R35 per bottle) are payable on landing.