Geoff kelly presents the 2016 vintage in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Southern Rhône Thursday 27th June, 6pm, $65pp

Time: Thursday 27 June, 2019, 6.00 pm start Venue: Upstairs Tasting Room, Regional Wines & Spirits, Basin Reserve, Wellington
Places: 21 places – please note Booking Conditions …
Booking Conditions: There will be no refunds for cancellations with less than 48 hours prior notice. However, if space allows, bookings after that time will be accepted. Sometimes tastings sell out fairly quickly. However, there are always cancellations. It is imperative therefore to use the waiting list, please, via email to:

My goal for this tasting is to show participants that 2016 in the Southern Rhone Valley is absolutely exceptional. And that if you cellar the best of these wines, you will be securing a resource providing exceptional anticipation and pleasure for the next 30 years.

But don’t just take my word for it. John Livingstone-Learmonth has been studying the wines of the Rhone Valley since the 1970s. He truly knows wine quality, when he finds it. Consider his thoughts, expressed in his inimitable style (paraphrased):

“2016 is a fabulous vintage at Châteauneuf-du-Pape … a dazzle of pleasure to the eye and to all the senses. The wines are full of bounty, are aromatic, possess certain content, ripe tannins, and, hallelujah, are BALANCED … 2016 aligns itself with 1978 more than 1981, and notably with 1990, which was a sun-filled vintage with a high yield, just like 2016. However, winemaking was more rudimentary in 1990 … This is therefore a vintage that will give enormous amounts of pleasure and will live extremely well.”

Livingstone-Learmonth goes on to quote some of the leading winemakers in the district. This provides a wonderful insight into why this vintage is so good:
Louis Barruol of Ch Saint Cosme: “For me, 2016 here resembles 2010. The balance is super, and the wines are more openly fruited than 2015 … the 2016s have better balance and structure … they have ripeness, a lot of freshness, good texture, architecture, and come without a high degree.”
Francois Perrin of top Chateauneuf-du-Pape Ch Beaucastel: “2016 is juicy, on fruit, ripe fruit without excess. It is a Grande Vintage – everything is good. It’s among the top years of Beaucastel – 1989, 1990, 1978.”
Vincent Avril of Clos Des Papes, perhaps the leading challenger for the top wine of the district: “the pHs were very, very good in 2016, which was an advantage, and the tannins are very ripe. The pH is often 3.80 to 3.90, but this year it’s 3.70; it’s superior to 2010’s, by the way.”

And for another English view, Matt Walls in Decanter: “I’ve tasted nearly 1,500 wines from the 2016 vintage, and it’s clear that this is a very good year in the northern Rhone – and truly great in the South.”

And for an American view: James Molesworth,  Wine Spectator, referring to the Southern Rhone Valley specifically: “I've now tasted 15 vintages in the region's cellars,  and 2016 is hands down the best young vintage I have seen.”

And finally, James Suckling, formerly of Wine Spectator, now running his own wine website: “I tasted almost 500 wines ... the Chateauneufs 2016 are quite simply the best wines this region has seen in a very long time. The overcooked fruit, the excessive extraction and the obsession with excess seem to be over for most producers.”

FOR OUR TASTING, we are presenting nearly the best wines we can, though that costs a little more. With the rare quality of the vintage, regard this tasting as an investment, the opportunity to taste 12 wines, and select those you like best to cellar.

A key part of the tasting is the selection of wines ranging from (at one extreme) elevation completely in concrete,
that is no oak at all, through many variations on some big old oak only, then use of usually older puncheon-sized barrels to some using barriques, sometimes a few % new, plus one relatively ‘modern’ wine with 20% new oak. It will be great to see which we prefer, and why. In this district it is the florals and aromas of the grapes, plus the grape tannins, that provide the key elements of the wine. New oak can interfere. Our preferred 12 wines are listed below, plus reserves (since a couple are still on the water):

2016 Domaine des Espiers Gigondas Les Grames
2016 Domaine Le Sang des Cailloux Vacqueyras Cuvée de Lopy
2016  Domaine de Beaurenard Chateauneuf-du-Pape
2016  Domaine de Beaurenard Chateauneuf-du-Pape Boisrenard
2016 Le Clos du Caillou Chateauneuf-du-Pape [ standard ]
2016 Le Clos du Caillou Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Quartz
2016  Domaine Charvin Chateauneuf-du-Pape
2016  Domaine de la Janasse Chateauneuf-du-Pape [ standard ]
2016  Domaine de Pegau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Reservée  
2016  Domaine Saint-Prefert Chateauneuf-du-Pape
2016  Domaine Saint-Prefert Chateauneuf-du-Pape Auguste Favier Reserve
2016  Domaine Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape

In Reserve …
2016  Dom de Charbonniere Chateauneuf-du-Pape Mourre des Perdrix
2016 Le Clos du Caillou Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Safres
2016  Chapelle Saint Theodoric Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Sablons

A couple of the wines are still not fully landed - minor changes to the line up may occur.

Some of the wines will be available in limited quantities due to the nature of these highly sort after wines.