2010 Xavier Vignon Cotes du Rhone
Expert Rating
RP 90 points
(Read the full review below)
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Xavier Vignon A 2010 Prelude to Anonyme

For as long as they last, carefully selected 2010 reds from the top estates of the Rhone Valley represent the greatest bargains on the market. First, it was Robert Parker who sang 2010's praises, suggesting that the harvest ranked side by side with 2007 as the greatest vintage of his lifetime. But then it was James Molesworth, from Wine Spectator, who unexpectedly piled on, igniting a selling spree the likes of which the Rhone Valley has never seen.

Unlike 2007, a fairly copious harvest, yields in 2010 were some of the smallest of the decade. A cool growing season offered clusters extended hang time, absent any risk of sunburn or shrivel. This would be the finest old vine Grenache crop in thirty years, one that combined voluptuous floral concentration with bracing acidity -- none of which was lost on super enologist, Xavier Vignon.

We first met Vignon three years ago, on the eve of the release of a 2007 lineup that would shock Robert Parker just a few weeks later. The consulting enologist to the stars (Vignon's hands are all over a bevy of Wine Advocate 100pt Chateauneuf-du-Papes) has since authored one of the most talked about -- and critically acclaimed -- old vine Chateauneufs, a tiny production super-cuvee called "Anonyme."

For those of you who managed to make off with a few bottles of the 2007 Anonyme, a bottle that would earn 96 points from RP and finish second behind Beaucastel's 2007 "Hommage de Jacques Perrin" (100pts and $300/bottle!) in last month's taste-off in Chateauneuf, you know all about Vignon's brilliant touch in the cellar. The 2009 "Anonyme" would also earn 96 points from RP. But if you ask the frenetic enologist to compare the great 2007, 2009 and 2010 vintages, Xavier is quick to respond.

"2007 and 2009 were vintages of extreme concentration, but the concentration came with a price. The old vine Grenache often reached 16 degrees in alcohol, and acids were generally weak. All the top wines featured plenty of low pH Mourvèdre. But in 2010, Grenache was king."

Even though Parker has already published another rave review about the 2010 "Anonyme," Xavier's top wine won't hit the market until fall. But if you're looking for a little preview of things to come, Vignon's brilliant 2010 Cotes du Rhone will take you about as far as 15 bucks can go in 2013.

Xavier's 2010 Cotes du Rhone takes a brilliant page from his "Anonyme" playbook. Comprised of 70% ancient vine Grenache and 30% old vine Mourvèdre, the color is deepest ruby. Explosive on the nose, with gobs of raspberry preserves, laced with sweet herbes-de-Provence, the attack is true to this spectacular harvest -- rich, concentrated and wild berry primary. Packed with crushed red fruits, anise and black cherry preserves, this is a massive, full throttle effort, typical both of the vintage and the deft hands of its maker.

Tasting Notes

2010 Xavier Vignon Cotes du Rhone
"The 2010 Cotes du Rhone includes slightly more Grenache in the blend. Abundant aromas of strawberry and black cherry fruit are intermixed with garrigue, licorice, olive and new saddle leather characteristics. This spicy, exuberantly fruit 2010 can be enjoyed over the next 1-2 years."
90 points -- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

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