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The last swallow of summer

By Barry Smith   September 2011

As the summer sun fades it is time to turn to the wines of the south, and, in particular, the red wines of the Rhône valley. The vines are hardy here, clinging to the terraced slopes of the river valley, braced against the Mistral: a drying wind that keeps the grapes from baking in the relentless sun. Wines have been grown there at least since Roman times and the triumvirate of Cuilleron, Gaillard and Villard have re-planted an ancient vineyard to produce Sotanum, a rich, heady wine made from Syrah with a softening drop of Viognier. This is the nearest…

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