Thu 12 Dec 2013

Rhône 2012: Perfect Ripeness & Exceptional Elegance

Rasteau in October, with the Ventoux in the background.

Rasteau in October, with the Ventoux in the background.

While other parts of France had a more problematic year in 2012, the Rhône Valley, and by extension, the Languedoc-Roussillon, was spared a similar fate and has produced some stunning wines.

I have visited the region on several occasions this year and am very excited by the quality of the wines. While quantities are down on previous years due to lower yields, the wines are, to quote Daniel Brunier of Vieux Télégraphe, ‘phenomenal’.

Perfect ripeness has been achieved throughout the valley and wines have lovely integrated tannins and elegant structure. While there are excellent wines across the board, 2012 is the year for Châteauneuf-du-Pape, standing alongside 2010 in terms of quality.

Prices are still coming out and we are finalising our selection to feature in our opening offer in January, but while yields are low and quantities therefore down, we will be adding to the list of estates that we buy from this year and taking more cuvées from growers that we follow year on year.

What can we expect?
As well as Châteauneuf, we can expect to see a greater representation of Cairanne and Rasteau this year, plus, from further south, stunning wines from the Languedoc, including a new cuvée from Society favourite Château Sainte Eulalie in Minervois. The north is equally exciting: Crozes-Hermitages are particularly supple and ripe-tasting and Saint-Josephs have wonderful depth of flavour.

And the whites?
Whites still make up a tiny proportion of the Rhône’s output but should not be forgotten, particularly in a vintage like 2012, where they display wonderful fruity elegance and concentration without a trace of heaviness.

Marcel Orford-Williams
Rhône Buyer

Our opening offer of 2012 Rhône & Languedoc-Roussillon wines will be published in late January. The offer will be published on our website and will be posted to those members who have bought from similar offers in the last two years.

Find out more about buying from opening offers.

STOP PRESS (20th January): The opening offer is now live!


  1. PETER BARTON says:

    please ensure that I receive the opening offer particular fan of Minervois

    membership no. 88969

    • Martin Brown says:

      Thanks for your comment, Mr Barton – I’ve passed your details on to my colleagues here in the Marketing Dept who will ensure that you receive the offer.

  2. Richard Price says:

    Ever since the ’50’s I have been a fan of Rhone wines. I was told then by a great wine expert “You can usually expect a 15% better value on Rhones than Bordeaux year for year. He has been right over the last 50 years on most vintages This run of 4 years is exceptional and I will be buying several cases of the 2012. Bottoms up! = RP

  3. William basford says:

    Impressed by your comments with regard to the promise of 2012 rhone and languedoc-Roussillon and as a long standing fan I would be grateful if you would ensure that I receive notice of 2012 opening offers. Thank you.

    • Martin Brown says:

      Thanks for your note, Mr Basford. I have passed this on to my colleagues in The Society’s Marketing dept, who will ensure you receive notice of the Rhône/Languedoc offer.

  4. O Harrison says:

    No: 362117

    A new member and rising fan of the WS. Please let me have sight of this offer.
    Many thanks.

    • Martin Brown says:

      Thank you very much – I have passed this on to the relevant colleagues here at The Society. Best wishes.

  5. William Blake says:

    I have family who live in the Languedoc-Roussillon region for the last 8 years. Have tried many wines from the region, particularly around Fauregre and St Chinian. I would be grateful if could pass on the opening offer once they have been finalised. Many thanks and Happy New Year WS

  6. Simon Harper says:

    When will this be available?

  7. Mark Jeffries says:

    I am lucky enough to live in France and as a consequence get to try the new vintages a little ahead of fellow Rhone fans in the UK.
    Vacqueyras,Cairanne,Rasteau and Plan de Dieu – as well as Pic St Loup and La Clape are already delivering so much pleasure they will not stay in my cellar as long as they deserve. I suspect the WS will be supplying me yet more racking to enable full advantage to be taken of their offer!

  8. Steve Watson says:

    I am a good way through my wines from the 2005 Rhone and Languedoc release which has been excellent over the last couple of years I’m very much looking forward to this release to replenish my cellar! Please notify me when this offer is released.

    Many thanks.

  9. Alan Ford says:

    Thanks for the exciting ‘preview’! Please send me information regarding the offer for 2012 when available.

    • Martin Brown says:

      Glad to hear it excited! Have put you on the list for notification. Thanks very much.
      Martin Brown
      The Wine Society

  10. Mark Richardson says:

    Please ensure I also receive the offer – the “supermarkets” are remarkably free of decent CNdP!

  11. Henry Cator says:

    Please will you send me your opening 2014 Rhone offer in the post. Very much enjoying previous vintages from your past recommendations.
    Thank you.

    • Martin Brown says:

      Hi Henry. We can confirm that you’ll receive this in the post, and that a notification e-mail will be sent to you early next week. Thanks and enjoy!
      Martin Brown
      The Wine Society

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