A month steeped in Rhône


November is my favourite month. It’s when I research and write my annual Rhône Special Report. I spend two weeks travelling around the region, visiting countless producers and tasting around 1,000 wines to build up an impression of the latest vintage – 2014 this time around. Then it takes a further couple of weeks to produce the final 55-page report. It might sound weighty, but it’s professionally designed (i.e. not by me!) and split into digestible lists, top tens, and contains dozens of colour photos of the region and its winemakers.

When people ask me what my favourite wine region is of any country, it takes no reflection on my part – the answer is immediate. I’ve been visiting the Rhône for 12 years, and writing about it professionally for Decanter and timatkin.com (who kindly publishes the report) for the past three. If I’m in the mood for an upright, structured red I instinctively look to the Northern Rhône; for generous, rich reds the Southern Rhône is hard to beat; not to mention the delicious, food-friendly whites from both ends. Value is important to me, and the Rhône provides plenty of characterful, terroir-driven wines for under £20. And unlike many other classic regions, interesting wines from serious producers in the most exclusive appellations are still relatively affordable. Hopefully this report will lead other wine lovers to the best of all of these.

Producing the report is a considerable undertaking but no-one pays me to do it – I want to be able to offer reliably independent advice. So this is one piece of writing I have to charge for (but if you click through you can follow a link to a free copy of my 2013 report).

Download my 2014 Rhône Special Report here.