The Wines of the Richard Family: The Southern Rhône (Part One)

This is the second article in a series of posts that are chronicling a trip that I was supposed to be on this week….

As I mentioned last week, my buddy Christophe Bristiel, the export manager for Château la Nerthe (one of the oldest producers in Châteauneuf-du-Pape) is currently cycling across the South of France, visiting all the wineries owned by the Richard Family. Of course, I would have been there with him were it not for Washington’s completely incompetent response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(That last comment was not intended as a political statement but rather as a fact. Most of the countries in the world have banned Americans from entering. Even Canada, for goodness sake. Canada.)

Last week, Christophe started his epic 1200 kilometer ride in the Beaujolais region of France where the Richard Family owns two estates: Château des Tours and Château de Corcelles, both located in Brouilly.

Following that visit, he headed south to the Rhône Valley, first stopping at his “home” winery and perhaps the flagship of the Richard Estates, Château la Nerthe in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. We tried to have our second video meeting while he was there, but there were some technical difficulties (if you ask me, the “technical” difficulties consisted of which wines he and the rest of the la Nerthe crew were going to select for dinner from the 15th Century cellars, but I digress).

Instead, we “met” the following afternoon (evening in France) with Christophe phoning in from Tavel, atop the Prieuré de Montézargues, a Priory turned winery estate that dates from the 12th Century.

2018 Prieuré de Montézargues Tavel, France: Retail $25. 50% Grenache Noir & Blanc, 30% Syrah, 10% Clairette / Bourboulenc, 10% Cinsault / Mourvèdre. True Rosé. Tavel is one of the only appellations in the world that only allows rosé wine to be produced and on top of that, the intensity of the color, or hue, is also regulated. Fairly dark for a rosé, but it’s actually the lightest color allowed in Tavel. Rich and fruity in the glass with freshly cut strawberry, cherry, and watermelon predominant. The palate is certainly fruity but is much more centered on the brilliant acidity that brings balance and structure. A lovely rosé. Excellent. 90-92 Points.

Here is another video of Christophe (I know you’re thankful that you do not have to look at my huge forehead again) talking a bit about the harvest in the Southern Rhône:

Last, here are a few pictures that Christophe took along the way. I wish I could tell you exactly what they represent, but as I mentioned above, as an American, I have been banned from France and was not allowed to partake in this ride as was originally planned (can you tell I am a bit bitter about that?).

Christophe’s bike (you will notice that my bike is nowhere to be found).

I think this is the Prieuré de Montézargues, but I am not sure as I was not there.

A barrel sample (I assume) of the Prieuré de Montézargues and a cat (I am pretty sure about that’s a cat even though I have been banned from France).

I am not entirely sure who this is, but I am fairly confident I would have met her if I had been allowed into the country.


About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Bourboulenc, Cinsault/Cinsaut, Clairette, France, Grenache, Grenache Blanc, Mourvèdre, Rhône Blends, Syrah. Bookmark the permalink.

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