Vineyard work at Domaine Levet, long ago...

2019 Northern Rhône: Levet, Gilles, Lionnet, Rousset...

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2019 is an excellent vintage for wines of the Northern Rhône and we're happy to offer a small quantity of Côte-Rôtie and Cornas from three of the regions finest producers, as well as a reminder about the superb Crôzes-Hermitage "Picaudieres" from Stephane Rousset. Yes, 2019 was another hot, dry vintage in the region, but much needed rains brought balance to the very concentrated wines, especially in Côte-Rôtie.

"2019 NORTHERN RHÔNE is an exceptional vintage at CÔTE-RÔTIE, so be ready! There the SYRAH wines are full, but have flair, generous delivery, lovely length, real flow, and good structure. They are not sunstruck for the most part, either. Of course, they are no longer 13.5°, more like 14.5°, but it is a really, really good year. Across the board, it beats 2018. Prepare your finances. You have been warned."

"2019 CORNAS is a vintage that ties in with the new norms of climate change – extreme readings occurring along the path of ripening, and post vinification in the cellar, too. It is a very good vintage, but one with that extremity built in, meaning that its future will be centred on scale more than tuneful balance. In the best wines, those based on old vines and top terroir, tannins are ripe and nourishing, so there will be some major bottles coming through over the next 20+ years. Rain escaped the vineyard compared to neighbouring appellations, rain that could have set a more moderate tone to the harvest, whose grapes were small, dense and very concentrated come picking time." drinkrhone

Corinne Lionnet and her husband Ludovic Izérable, with their son Luca, are making beautiful wines in Cornas and Saint-Joseph that remain somewhat unknown, we're not sure shy. As at Domaine Pierre Gonon, the farming is organic, fermentations are primarily whole-cluster and aging is in 2 to 8 year-old barrels, 228 L and 600 L. The Cornas "Terre Brulée" is from old vines on stony granite soils in Mazards, Combe, Chaillot, Pied la Vigne (limestone) and young vines in Chataignier. The Cornas "Pur Granit" is from young massale selection vines on thin granite soils above Chaillot - it's beautifully floral and mineral with pretty berry fruits. There are now two Saint-Josephs -  Rouge (Syrah) and Blanc (100% Roussanne) on limestone soils just north of Cornas - both are from young massale-selection vines, both are vibrant and delicious! (And the domain has planted Chenin Blanc on clay/rolled stone soils near the river!) These wines deserve your attention...

"Owner of one of the best vineyards in the NORTHERN RHÔNE, STÉPHANE ROUSSET of DOMAINE ROUSSET accepted the style of the vintage: “2019 is a solar vintage,” he reported, “but less so than 2018, which has more concentration. We harvested a bit earlier than 2018, having learnt from 2018, starting the reds first. There is a belle concentration, good balance, joli fruit, with some robustness. For me, 2019 is ahead of 2018. As for degree, LES PICAUDIÈRES [his marvellous hillside granite vineyard] was 14.4°, against nearly 15° in 2018.”

Wines arrive Late May. Levet, Gilles and Lionnet are net priced.

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Levet, Bernard 2019 Côte-Rôtie Journaries

100% Syrah, 60% from 70 - 80 year-old vines in the west part of La Landonne, 40% 30 - 40 year-old vines on the Côte Brune, 30-50% destemmed, 3 week vinification in 50 hl concrete vats, cap is immersed, twice daily pumping overs, held at 29°C, aged either in used 600-litre oak casks or in large 30 hl barrels for 24-26 months. "dark robe; there is an easy, ripe curve to the nose, gives cooked damson plum, blackberry, has a hint of elegance, floral airs, can open nicely. The palate has good structure, the attack bold, wired, firm, thick. It holds its shape well, with a solid lining of tannin, and a compact couch of content, with thrust late on. It’s a close-knit, rempli, filled wine, whose tannins are thick, firm. “It has joli fruit, very black,” Agnès Levet. From 2026. Drink until 2047-49 (drinkrhone)

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $89.99

Levet, Bernard 2019 Côte-Rôtie Journaries 1.5 L

100% Syrah, 60% from 70 - 80 year-old vines in the west part of La Landonne, 40% 30 - 40 year-old vines on the Côte Brune, 30-50% destemmed, 3 week vinification in 50 hl concrete vats, cap is immersed, twice daily pumping overs, held at 29°C, aged either in used 600-litre oak casks or in large 30 hl barrels for 24-26 months. "dark robe; there is an easy, ripe curve to the nose, gives cooked damson plum, blackberry, has a hint of elegance, floral airs, can open nicely. The palate has good structure, the attack bold, wired, firm, thick. It holds its shape well, with a solid lining of tannin, and a compact couch of content, with thrust late on. It’s a close-knit, rempli, filled wine, whose tannins are thick, firm. “It has joli fruit, very black,” Agnès Levet. From 2026. Drink until 2047-49 (drinkrhone)

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  • red
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  • no discount
  • $181.99

Levet 2019 Côte-Rôtie La Chavaroche

100% Syrah, 60% from Chavaroche (1940s), 40% from Mollard, Côte Brune, Côte Blonde (1978-80), whole bunch fermentation, 3 week vinification in 50 hl concrete vats, cap is immersed, twice daily pumping overs, held at 29°C , aged in 30% new, 70% used oak casks, barrels for 24 months.  "... full, dark red; the bouquet is alert, springy, on raspberry with a meaty take, rose hip, plums, bacon fat. This engages well on the palate, is scented, airs of violets, perfume with a suave texture also, making it appealing, rather sumptuous. It takes a good length, isn’t yet fully defined, with the attack doing much of the work for now. Its density works well, and is accompanied by bacon, floral notes, with licorice on its lasting finish. It will show well around 2029 onwards. “It has grand length,” Agnès Levet. Drink until 2048-50" (drinkrhone)

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  • no discount
  • $96.99

Gilles, Guillaume 2019 Cornas

The Gilles Cornas (Chaillot) is mostly from 40+ year-old vines on Les Grands Murs and Les Terrasses, both on Chaillot, plus older vines on Mazards and  Saveaux, Practicing organic, whole-cluster fermentation, aging in old 400 liter and 600 liter casks. "bright dark red robe; intricate airs circulate on the nose, iodine, salting, red cherry, kummel, cassis, lead pencil – it’s a stimulating debut. The palate eases along with a textured stream of pure, clear small black fruits, runs most clearly and consecutively. This has good style, calm depth, is a serious Cornas full of stimuli, one for the patient Thinkers. The length is good, violets on the aftertaste with rocky, iron notes. Expect a discreet, gradual evolution, a gain in expression of its depth. It will stay under wraps a good while. “It’s very serious, concentrated, has a lot of complexity; the juice from the grapes was exceptional,” G Gilles. 13.5°. Drink from 2028 - 2052" (drinkrhone)

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  • red
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  • $94.99

  • Organic

Lionnet 2019 Cornas Terre Brulée

(Arrives 10/19) Domaine Lionnet has produced a superb Cornas in the hot, dry 2019 vintage, perhaps in part due to their organic farming on great terroir. From 1960s Syrah on Mazards, 1940s Syrah on Combe, also Chaillot, Pied la Vigne (oldest 1960s, 1970s), Chataignier/Saint Pierre (2008 and younger), 2-3 week whole bunch fermentation. Aged 50% 600-litre, 50% 228-litre  2-8 year oak casks 15-16 months, then 3 weeks in vat before bottling. "...attractive dark red robe; the bouquet is well together, can be stylish, blossoming to come. There is a well inset air of raspberry liqueur, with cooked plums, a cedar note, a little mystery about it. The palate combines Cornas terroir feel, powdered tannins with grip, with a rocky fusion of dark berry fruit, is highly authentic, and well manoeuvred in the context of the hot summer. This is Cornas of terroir with appealing gras that skates along well, and it goes long, too. Big marks for character here. 14°.  From 2024, decant it, drink until 2042-44" drinkrhone

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  • red
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  • no discount
  • $66.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Lionnet 2019 Saint-Joseph Terre Neuve

The Lionnet Saint-Joseph "Terre Neuve" is 100% Syrah (2008-2011, massale selection) from 0.38 hectare on east facing limestone with clay soils at 300 metres on Giraud Les Côtes at Châteaubourg, 2-3 week whole bunch fermentation, natural yeasts, pumping overs the first 2-3 days, then cap punching by foot, SO2 not applied until after malo, aged used 600-litre oak casks for 11 months, unfined, unfiltered. "... dark colour; iodine, cooked blackberry with mild sweetness on the nose, is a smiling affair. The palate gives mulled fruits, cherries, firm tannins on the outside, but giving on the inside. There are hints of black olives, latent sun, licorice, but also cool touches late on. This is solid quality St Jo. The degree is under 14°, against 14.7° in 2019. “It has belle finesse, tension,” Ludovic Izérable. From 2023, drink until 2035-37 ."  (drinkrhone)

  • Out of Stock
  • red
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  • no discount
  • $51.99

  • Organic

Lionnet 2019 Cornas Pur Granit

From young massale-selection vines in very rocky, granite soils on Chataignier (their name) above Chaillot. 3 week whole bunch fermentation in steel & concrete vats, wild yeasts, pumping overs the first 2-3 days, then cap punching by foot, SO2 not applied until after malo, aged in 4-10 year-old 600-litre oak casks for 15-17 months.  "...full, deep red robe. The nose has a discreet aroma led by blackberry fruit, a note of prune, therefore low-key ripeness. There’s a meat stock angle, too. The palate is fleshy, rolling, with a prune, soaked fruits feel, the lightly powdered tannins ripe and bendy, the aftertaste gourmand. The young vines have brought a cheerful Cornas that is pretty open and tasty, layered.... It can be drunk now, but will offer more variety from 2023." 14°  Drink until 2040+ (drinkrhone)

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $76.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Rousset 2019 Crôzes-Hermitage Les Picaudières (8/5)

 Les Picaudières is perhaps the best vineyard in Crôzes-Hermitage, formerly owned by Raymond Roure and now tended by Stéphane Rousset. It's a steep slope of granite terraces, isolated in an oak forest facing due south and protected from the wind. (In the opinion of Livingston-Learmonth in "Wines of the Northern Rhône" wine from Les Picaudières is "certainly better" than many Hermitage from the eastern part of the hill.) The vines range from 20 to 80 years-old. The grapes are hand-harvested and mostly de-stemmed. The wine ages 16 months, 40% in foudre, 60% in burgundy barrels, new to 5 year-old." In the Northern Rhône, this ranks near the top for bang to buck consistently and for terroir expression. The 2019 Crôzes-Hermitage Picaudières has a densely layered nose and palate: a quick decant reveals brambly aromas of hedge fruit (wild blackberry, blackberry, and huckleberry), pomegranate seed, and a bit of pencil lead, game, and crushed violets. The palate is similarly layered and concentrated—not extracted—boasting black fruit, Telicherry peppercorn notes, and black tea flavors astride a deeply-pitched and mouth-wateringly tangy mineral core. The prominent (and ripe) tannins that lurk beneath all that dark fruit indicate a long and bright future for those who have the patience to cellar this beauty. Lovely with a decant, but the balance is here for 15 -20 years in the cellar and beyond. Highly recommended! John McIlwain

  • Out of Stock
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  • $27.99