The "prix malin" ( bargains) of the Northern Rhone


Been spending a fair bit of time in the Northern Rhone of late - had a lot of fun, met a lot of “sympa” winemakers - but oh my God are these wines wickedly pricy! Most top end Cote Rotie/Hermitage is beyond my usual budget and Condrieu/Saint-Joseph/Cornas not far behind. Us Southern Rhone wine fans are thoroughly spoilt by the terrific price/quality ratio we are used to….even if we shop at Chateauneuf du Pape. However, increasingly it seems NR vignerons are creating economies of scale by introducing entry level wines ( at IGP/Vin de France level) to their ranges at modest prices - €10 to €15 is typical. These are from vines planted usually on the plateau above the hills , or on the flat near the river. Many of these are fabulous “little Cote Rotie” Syrahs or “little Condrieu” viogniers like the “La Champine” pictured from serious Cote Rotie/Condrieu man Jean-Michel Gerin. His neighbour Guillaume Clusel is making a juicy Gamay based red from the Coteaux Lyonnais ( pictured = “Traboules”), a little known outpost of Beaujolais actually south of Lyon just before you hit the Syrah slopes. Easy on both the palate and the pocket these wines.