A great starting point for learning about the individuality and typicity of the wines of the northern and southern Rhone is to taste the wines of Vidal Fleury. This winery offers a wide variety of reasonably priced wines from all the major Rhone appellations, and they are of good quality, easy drinking, and food-friendly.
Vidal Fleury is the Rhône Valley’s oldest continuously operating winery, grower and negotiant. Founded in 1781 in Ampuis by Joseph Vidal-Fleury, it has had a glorious past that includes serving as host to Thomas Jefferson in 1787 when he toured France to learn about wines and winemaking.
Since the 1980s it has been owned by the family of Etiéne Guigal but is operated as an independent firm. Starting with the 2009 vintage, Vidal Fleury began producing their wines in a newly constructed winemaking facility that promises to improve the quality of their wines in the coming years.
Vidal Fleury wines are imported by W.J. Deutsch & Sons, White Plains, NY
Tasting Notes and Ratings:
Vidal-Fleury 2009 Viognier Cotes Du Rhone ($14) 87+
This Côtes du Rhone is a 100% Viognier aged sur lies in tank for six months. It is pleasant tasting and easy drinking with good stone fruit flavor and roundness in the mouth and a crisp finish.
Vidal-Fleury 2009 Côtes du Rhône rosé ($14) 88
This is a flavorful rosé composed of 50% Cinsault, 30% Syrah and 20% Grenache. Light ruby orange in color, it offers fresh fruit aromas and a crisp palate of spicy red raspberry fruit flavors. It is fresh tasting with medium-plus acidity and a lasting finish.
Vidal-Fleury 2009 Côtes du Ventoux ($13) 87
This Ventoux, a blend of 60% Syrah, 30% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre is a pleasantly fruity wine with light aromas and flavors of dark cherry and plum. It is medium weight, has youthful gripping tannins on the palate and on the finish.
Vidal-Fleury 2007 Côtes du Rhone Red ($13) 87+
The Cotes du Rhone is a blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre and 5% Carignan. It offers up dark red fruit aromas and flavors with spicy notes. It is lightly fruited on the palate with light tannins and a short finish. This wine has had the benefit of age.
Vidal-Fleury 2007 Crozes Hermitage Red ($23) 87
The 2007 Crozes-Hermitage is 100% Syrah partially aged in oak for 6 months. It is a fruit forward peppery wine with flavors of plum, black cherry and herbs. It is medium weight on the palate and reveals crisp acidity on the finish.
Vidal-Fleury 2007 Saint Joseph ($29) 88
The Saint-Joseph is 100% Syrah and offers a nose of black cherry and plum fruit, earth and leather. It is pleasantly fruity but also has some complexity of licorice, herbs and earth. A very pleasant savory wine.
Vidal-Fleury 2008 Muscat de Baumes-De-Venise ($34 / 375ml) 89
A 100% Muscat Blanc a’ Petits Grains, this pleasant tasting moderately sweet dessert wine offers fresh aromas of white flowers, rose pedals, and passion fruit. It has a honeyed mouth feel and is fresh, delicious and easy-drinking. This is a superb wine for serving with soft white cheese, crème brulée, and figs.