JEB DUNNUCK – SOUTHERN RHÔNE: THE CHARMING, PROVENÇAL 2018S AND THE MORE CONCENTRATED, CLASSIC 2019S

« Readers can find additional information on the 2018 vintage in last year’s Southern Rhône Report, but to summarize, 2018 is a good, not great, vintage for the south that delivers upfront, charming, and Provençal wines to enjoy on release and over the coming decade or so. Few wines possess genuinely great concentration or depth, but are already complex, undeniably delicious, and loaded with character. While the vintage has few superstars, the quality at the mid-level is incredibly high, and unquestionably, the base cuvees from 2018 are as good as those from better vintages such as 2007, 2009, 2010, 2016, and 2017.

[…]

The 2019s will be a step up over the 2018s and offer more depth, concentration, and richness, all while showing considerable purity of fruit and elegance. While the year will be known for its hot, dry summer, the region saw substantial precipitation late in 2018 as well as early in 2019. A normal spring (just under 100 millimeters of rainfall) saw a healthy fruit set and yields are up over 2018 and 2017. This early-season rainfall is essential when trying to understand the vintage.

[…]

I’ll review these wines in depth next year, but in short, 2019 appears to be a beautiful, possibly exceptional, vintage for the Southern Rhône and is superior to 2018. »

– Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com, October 6, 2020

Vaucluse Le Pigeoulet blanc 2019
90. Starting with the 2019 Vaucluse Le Pigeoulet Blanc, this beauty is based on Grenache Blanc, Clairette, and Roussanne brought up in foudre. This light gold hued white offers a crisp bouquet of honeyed citrus, white flowers, and salty mineral-like notes. These all carry to a medium-bodied white that’s nicely balanced, has a spine of vibrant acidity, and a classy finish. It’s well worth checking out, and while I always think these are best drunk in their youth, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see this evolve over 7-8 years given the acidity and concentration.

Vaucluse Le Pigeoulet rouge 2019
88-90. Moving to the reds and starting with the 2019 Vaucluse Le Pigeoulet, this perennial winner offers a deeper ruby/plum color as well as a great nose of jammy black and red berry fruits intermixed with lots of peppery herbs and earth. Fleshy, medium-bodied, and already delicious, enjoy this on release and over the following 3-5 years. It competes with any number of top Cotes du Rhône out there.

Ventoux Megaphone rouge 2019
90-92. A step up in class and elegance, the 2019 Ventoux Megaphone checks in as 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah that’s from a single vineyard in the Ventoux appellation. Its deep ruby/purple color is followed by a beautifully Provençal nose of spiced red and black fruits, peppery herbs, and flowery incense. With medium to full-bodied richness, a terrific sense of minerality, notable balance, and a lengthy finish, it’s another winner from this team that will impress for another 5-7 years.

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