… called Châteaubourg complete wth castle. It has a veritable fairy-tale look. Now we’re into the Crozes Hermitage, Hermitage, Cornas and Saint-Péray. Whereas yesterday’s wines were quite delicate, many of today’s have more body. The big wineries, like Jaboulet, are in fine form, but the really interesting stuff is among the smaller producers. I’m meeting passionate, dedicated, innovative young winemakers. Several wines are really catching my attention here. Cave Olivier Dumaine Croze Hermitage ’09, ’10; Domaine du Colombier’s Croze Hermitage, Hermitage ’08, ’09, Cuveé Gaby ’08. 90 to 92 points. Wow. Also nice wines by Domaine Combier and young brilliant upstart La Regence. Rather expensive, but worth every Euro, are the exceptional wines of Domaine Michelas St. Jemms. They produce Crozes Hermitage, Hermitage, St. Joseph, & Cornas. We hop back in our black “littlest Fiat in the world” and head down D7 & N7. A bit South of Valence we transition from Northern Rhone to the Mediterranean-influenced Southern Rhone. Now our home base will be a B&B in Cairranne, too quaint and gorgeous for words! Tonight we attend a vertical tasting of Sablet: 2010 back to 1990. Here I meet Jean Autran who just happens to be the proprietor of the best the best wine here: Domaine de Piaugier. More about them tomorrow. I also meet Aussie-Parisian journalist Lincoln Siliakus, in the trademark hat. Cool guy. We compare notes & talk shop. The eve ends with a drive back through misty blackness punctuated by little galaxies of light, each a village nestled in the Alpine foothills.
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