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Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, Domaine des Bernadins 2019

White Wine from France - Rhone
Luscious, full and fruity dessert white from the Rhône made from a black-skinned variety of muscat that brings an enchanting bouquet.
Price: £19.00 Bottle
Price: £228.00 Case of 12
In Stock
Code: RH59961

Wine characteristics

  • White Wine
  • Very sweet
  • Muscat
  • 15% Alcohol
  • No oak influence
  • Now to 2025
  • 75cl
  • Cork, natural

Southern Rhône (excluding Chateauneuf)

Producing over 3.5m hl (hectolitres), this is the second biggest region for production of appellation contrôlée wine in France after Bordeaux. Most is red, though production of both white and pink is growing. Some 20 grape varieties are planted in the south though one in particular, Grenache, gives the region as a whole its identity: generosity, body, weight and a definite tendency to making big wines. More than half of the production is of Côtes-du-Rhône with the best sold as Côtes-du-Rhône Villages. Better still are the so-called crus led by Châteauneuf-du-Pape itself.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape: This large area to the north of Avignon makes the best wines of the south. Reds tend to be grenache based with syrah, mourvèdre and counoise also used. Few wines combine immense strength with perfect elegance quite so convincingly. Word of caution: Châteauneuf produces as much wine as the whole of the northern Rhône put together. A third is very good, a third acceptable and the last third,...
Producing over 3.5m hl (hectolitres), this is the second biggest region for production of appellation contrôlée wine in France after Bordeaux. Most is red, though production of both white and pink is growing. Some 20 grape varieties are planted in the south though one in particular, Grenache, gives the region as a whole its identity: generosity, body, weight and a definite tendency to making big wines. More than half of the production is of Côtes-du-Rhône with the best sold as Côtes-du-Rhône Villages. Better still are the so-called crus led by Châteauneuf-du-Pape itself.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape: This large area to the north of Avignon makes the best wines of the south. Reds tend to be grenache based with syrah, mourvèdre and counoise also used. Few wines combine immense strength with perfect elegance quite so convincingly. Word of caution: Châteauneuf produces as much wine as the whole of the northern Rhône put together. A third is very good, a third acceptable and the last third, undrinkable.

Right bank: Villages include Tavel (rosé only) Lirac, Saint-Gervais and Laudun. There is more rain here but it is also hot and grapes are therefore early ripening. Most of the area lies in the département of the Gard and stretches from the river westwards towards Nîmes where at some ill-defined line in the soil, the Rhône becomes the Languedoc. This is an area that has much improved over the years and has become a valuable source for very fine, concentrated syrah wines in particular.

A little further on are the Costieres de Nimes, a large area of upland plateau, south-east of Nîmes. For the moment the Costières produces good everyday wines of good quality but there is potential to do much more.

Northern hills: There are fresh sub-alpine breezes at work here and as a result the wines often have a distinct freshness too. Just north of Orange is the largely wooded and isolated Massif d'Uchaux. Many of its star producers here are able to farm organically.

The three 'Vs' : Valréas, Visan and Vinsobres: These are three top neighbouring villages (with a 4th, Saint-Maurice broadly similar to Vinsobres). Vinsobres has full cru status and makes superb wine. Best names include Perrin, now the largest land owner and Domaine Jaume whose wines have been charming members since the 1979 vintage.

Valréas and Visan are planted on the same hill but tend to look north. Emmanuel Bouchard is one of the top names in Valréas. Adrien Fabre makes both outstanding examples of both Visan and Saint-Maurice.

Tricastin/Grignan-lès-Adhémar - The Tricastin is a much neglected part of the Rhône and coming down from the northern Rhône, these are the first vines one sees. It's a relatively cool area, far too cold for growing mourvèdre successfully, but the whites do very well and so does the syrah grape. The area has seen a name change as Tricastin is also the name of a power station on the river. The new name for the wines (which doesn't exactly trip off the tongue), is Grignan-lès-Adhémar.

Central hills - This includes the villages of Cairanne and Rasteau along with neighbouring Roaix. Big full-bodied wines, grenache dominated. Rasteau is all power and might while Cairanne is more deicate.

Plan de Dieu - Large flat expanse of pudding stones that seem to stretch as far as the eye can see, in the middle of which there is an airfield, (largely built for the Luftwaffe) surrounded by vines. Full-bodied style. Excellent for mourvèdre. Jaboulet are very good here as is the Meffre family.

Eastern fringes - Set against an iconic landscape with Mont Ventoux and the craggy Dentelles de Montmirail as the backdrop, some of these hillsides were first planted by the Romans and include some of the best-known names in the Rhône Valley.

Gigondas: Mountain wine, late harvested, always dramatic and very full-bodied though never coarse or overweight. These are generous reds, capable of long ageing. A little rosé is also made.

Vacqueyras: Next door to Gigondas yet different. Fruitier, a shade less powerful and more obviously charming:

Beaumes de Venise: The red is as full as Gigondas but rounder and less complex and this village is better known for its sweet muscat, a vin doux naturel and perfect for desserts.

Ventoux: At nearly 2000m this is some mountain which scores of cyclists are forced to conquer every year in the Tour de France. Its lower slopes are vineyard country though. Traditionally these were known as Côtes du Ventoux and were made and sold cheaply. Things are changing though with more estates cutting yields and making full and concentrated wine, not dissimilar to and better value than many Châteauneufs.
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Domaine des Bernardins

Domaine des Bernardins was, as the name suggests, once owned by Bernadine monks, better known to most of us as Cistercians, but the history of wine making here goes back to Roman times when Pliny the Elder waxed rhapsodic about the muscat wines of the area.

The Castaud family have been farming the domaine since the early 19th century and today the fifth generation, Elisabeth, her husband Andrew Hall and their son Romain, manage the 22 hectares. Her grandfather Louis was at the forefront of producers in Beaumes de Venise and was instrumental in gaining appellation status for the red wines of the area in 1945. At the domain reds account for five hectares planted grenache, syrah and cinsault, while 17 hectares are given over to muscat à petits grains blanc and muscat à petits grains noir.

Great care is taken in the vineyard with all work carried out by hand to ensure that each vine is nurtured on its own merits as part of a regime of sustainable viticulture. Biodiversity is positively encouraged and olives, almonds, wild rosemary and capers all grow around the vines.

For their luscious sweet muscat wines both the black and white variants of the grape are used, the former giving a lovely golden tint to the wines. These famous dessert wines are harvested late and by hand, having achieved a natural sugar level of at least 252 grams/litre, well above the minimum requirement for the appellation of Muscat de Beaumes de Venise at 110g/l. The juice is fermented through the action of...
Domaine des Bernardins was, as the name suggests, once owned by Bernadine monks, better known to most of us as Cistercians, but the history of wine making here goes back to Roman times when Pliny the Elder waxed rhapsodic about the muscat wines of the area.

The Castaud family have been farming the domaine since the early 19th century and today the fifth generation, Elisabeth, her husband Andrew Hall and their son Romain, manage the 22 hectares. Her grandfather Louis was at the forefront of producers in Beaumes de Venise and was instrumental in gaining appellation status for the red wines of the area in 1945. At the domain reds account for five hectares planted grenache, syrah and cinsault, while 17 hectares are given over to muscat à petits grains blanc and muscat à petits grains noir.

Great care is taken in the vineyard with all work carried out by hand to ensure that each vine is nurtured on its own merits as part of a regime of sustainable viticulture. Biodiversity is positively encouraged and olives, almonds, wild rosemary and capers all grow around the vines.

For their luscious sweet muscat wines both the black and white variants of the grape are used, the former giving a lovely golden tint to the wines. These famous dessert wines are harvested late and by hand, having achieved a natural sugar level of at least 252 grams/litre, well above the minimum requirement for the appellation of Muscat de Beaumes de Venise at 110g/l. The juice is fermented through the action of natural yeasts immediately after pressing and the process is carefully monitored so that the fermentation can be stopped at precisely the right moment by the addition of grape spirit, bringing the alcohol level to 15% abv. The wine is then aged in stainless steel for 6 months to retain the vivid aromatic scent and fresh fruit flavours of the muscat.

In the winery, fermentation takes place immediately after pressing to ferment the juice without skins. Only natural yeasts are used and, being a vin doux naturel, the alcoholic fermentation has to be closely watched so it can be stopped at the right time to preserve the grapes’ natural sweetness by the addition of grape spirit (95% ABV). The wine is then aged in stainless steel tanks for 6 months before bottling. The result is one of the great vin doux naturel of France.
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Rhône Vintage 2019

The 2019 Rhône vintage continued this region’s run of excellent vintages with surely the boldest statement yet. Of past vintages, 1990 springs to mind for the purity of fruit and ripeness of the tannins, but on a much bigger scale.

The climate of course played its part in full and as in previous years, heat and drought were overriding factors that shaped the destiny of this vintage. But that is not the whole story. What is exceptional about the 2019 vintage is that the wines are not lacking in acidity and therefore have freshness. Stranger still, pH values, a good way of assessing a vintage, are often quite low.
So what were the ‘X’ factors that make 2019 so special? For a start, though there were indeed times of drought, ground water was never really lacking. Autumn rainfall had been plentiful enough. Temperatures for the first months of the year remain on the cool side. Then there was much needed rain in April and May, just when the vine needed it most before flowering. For...
The 2019 Rhône vintage continued this region’s run of excellent vintages with surely the boldest statement yet. Of past vintages, 1990 springs to mind for the purity of fruit and ripeness of the tannins, but on a much bigger scale.

The climate of course played its part in full and as in previous years, heat and drought were overriding factors that shaped the destiny of this vintage. But that is not the whole story. What is exceptional about the 2019 vintage is that the wines are not lacking in acidity and therefore have freshness. Stranger still, pH values, a good way of assessing a vintage, are often quite low.
So what were the ‘X’ factors that make 2019 so special? For a start, though there were indeed times of drought, ground water was never really lacking. Autumn rainfall had been plentiful enough. Temperatures for the first months of the year remain on the cool side. Then there was much needed rain in April and May, just when the vine needed it most before flowering. For most, these would be the last rains until the end of August. And then of course was the heat – sometimes excessive with peaks occasionally exceeding 40C – but never constant, and temperatures at night remained relatively cool, allowing the vine to rest. Late summer rains come as a relief and is then followed by a final heatwave in September, setting the harvest in a blaze of sunshine.

Everywhere made exceptional wines. Both the northern and southern Rhône produced brilliant 2019s. The grenache grape knows all about heat, but what was remarkable was the quality of the so-called ‘second-tier’ varieties such as cinsault and counoise. Such conditions are not common in the north, but the vine adapts and there was no water shortage. That said, the syrahs from the north are like nothing before: so dark, brooding and strong. ‘Flamboyance’ is a word that crops up in tasting notes and is a truly apt one in describing these wines. Speaking to a grower with the gift of synaesthesia, the colour red in all its shades, seemed to define this vintage.
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2019 vintage reviews
2018 vintage reviews
2017 vintage reviews

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