They seek him here, they seek him there, the wines of Pierre Benetiere, they’re never there. To the dedicated followers of Northern Rhone fashion, Benetiere came upon us quietly. Me, I heard there was a tiny producer making wines from the south of the appellation, that had a Burgundian tendency that recalled the best work of Jean-Michel Stephan.
After selling parcels of the 09 and 12, you could count me in. But the flow of wines stopped. After chasing the agents for some time, I spoke to the buyer who could no longer offer the wines. Why? Benetiere couldn’t be found. He was uncontactable by telephone, and when they visited him over two occasions, the winery looked deserted.
I popped in around two or three times and tried calling a few times, but I got nowhere.
His winery is in the main town, and next to a motor-car garage – he was there, as I saw some rugby magazines in an old van. He’s a big rugby man apparently.
Then there were the 2015s, which seemingly never appeared on the market – they should have been released in 2017 but they started only trickling out in 2019. Then when they were released, they had label applied over label – they had been declassified from Cote-Rotie to Vin de Pays. Paperwork error or not, gossip followed the wines. They were dumped by their original importer and taken up by another and offered in some instances with no refunds. Some said they were cooked, most disagreed. Where to begin?
There is no end-point in sight, the 16s are still unreleased, still no real info and what a shame. These wines are so good. John Livingstone-Learmonth has tasted the 16 and 17 so they must exist, but where are these wines going? I dunno.