Interview with Jean-Louis Grippat, former winemaker in Saint-Joseph and Hermitage

Interview with Jean-Louis Grippat at his home in Tournon, 20th March 2020. Edited for clarity and brevity. Can you tell me a bit about the history of your estate? I took over from my parents. My father died when I was relatively young. But the domaine continued; my mother carried on with a member of staff, and after my studies I joined her in 1956. There were still some fruit trees but I…

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Interview with Philippe Cambie, consultant winemaker

Philippe Cambie, photo from his Facebook page   Philippe Cambie, who sadly died on 28th December 2021, spent his life working in wine and was the best-known winemaking consultant in the Rhône, having worked at ICV Groupe since 1998. He lived in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and worked with some of the biggest names in the appellation. He also co-owned Domaine Calendal in Plan de Dieu with Gilles…

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Interview with Elodie Balme, Domaine Elodie Balme, Rasteau

Interview with Elodie Balme via Zoom 5th June 2020. Edited for clarity and brevity. How did you find yourself working in wine? I was born into it; my parents took their grapes to the cave co-operative. I always knew I wanted to work in wine, but I didn’t see myself only working in the vineyard for my whole life, so I studied the commercial side of wine for 2 years after the BAC, then I did a…

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Interview with Denis Alary, Domaine Alary, Cairanne

Interview with Denis Alary at Domaine Alary, Cairanne 10th June 2019. Edited for clarity and brevity.   Tell me how you went about promoting Cairanne from named village to cru. We had to make a delimitation of the growing area, and put together a cahier des charges that reflected our history and an idea of how we made wine. We made the decision in 2006. In 2007 we put together our dossier.…

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Interview with Pierre Clape, Domaine Clape, Cornas

Interview with Pierre Clape, 9th March 2020 at Domaine Clape. Edited for clarity and brevity. The history of Cornas is less well known than that of Côte-Rôtie or Hermitage, why is that? I think because it’s less well documented, we just don’t have that many documents. The first we have that mentions Cornas is from the 1760s, a village priest writes that when he arrived in the village, the whole…

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Interview with Michèle Aubéry-Laurent and Maxime-François Laurent, Domaine Gramenon

  Interview with Michèle Aubéry-Laurent and Maxime-François Laurent at Domaine Gramenon, 7th February 2020 at Domaine Gramenon. Edited for clarity and brevity. How would you describe your wines? Are they Natural wines, or is that the wrong term? Michèle: The problem at the moment is lots of people are making Natural wines, but not in the same way. So let’s talk about our definition. We…

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Interview with Louis Barruol, Château de Saint Cosme, Gigondas

Selected excerpts from an interview with Louis Barruol of Château de Saint-Cosme 2nd September 2019 How has the 2019 vintage been? We’re in a hot year, very dry, and that never makes the best vintages… But it could be a year like 1988, a year like that with a small harvest when the wines have – after ageing – become extraordinary. A vintage for collectors perhaps? For people that drink Gigondas…

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Interview with Christine Vernay, Domaine Georges Vernay

Interview with Christine Vernay 5th March 2020 at Domaine Georges Vernay Edited for clarity and brevity How would you describe a Condrieu to someone who has never tasted one? Viognier is an aromatic variety by definition. In Condrieu, this aromatic side is much less exuberant, much less pronounced. There’s a complexity compared to Viogniers from other parts of France or abroad, which display…

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Interview with Jean-Paul Jamet, Domaine Jamet

  To celebrate the publication of my new book, Wines of the Rhône, on 25th January, I'll be published a series of interviews with some of the most influential winemakers in the Rhône Valley, starting with this interview with Jean-Paul Jamet. Interview with Jean-Paul Jamet 2nd March 2020 at Domaine Jamet Edited for clarity and brevity What are the different styles of Côte-Rôtie? The soils…

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2019 Rhône Report out now on Decanter Premium

With rolling travel restrictions and intermittent lockdowns this year, I was lucky to be one of the few Rhône specialists to taste the new vintage in situ this year. I spent two and a half weeks tasting over 1,300 wines from every cru in the Rhône Valley, both north and south. This is an extreme vintage, one marked by record temperatures and parched conditions, that has – where winegrowers have…

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