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This is a great Cornas and certainly one of the best wines of this very good vintage in the Northern Rhône. Franck Balthazar is one of the few truly organic and natural producers in the region and, like the Gonons, he practices whole-cluster fermentations with wild yeasts and ages in old (5 years and older) large barrels. The "Chaillot" cuvée is from vines planted in 1914, with a small percentage from "Mazards" planted in 1960. There is an approximately 18 month elevage and the wine is bottle unfined and unfiltered with a small dosage of SO2. The 2015 shows old-vine intensity and terroir expression along with the beautiful ripeness of the vintage. The wine is a very deep red/black color with elegant aromas of blackberry and red currant liqueur with violet, pepper, roast meat and earth, The palate is intense and densely structured with mineral and black fruit flavors, black olive, graphite and licorice. Very elegant with perfect acidity and firm tannins with slightly bitter black fruits and mineral flavors in the long finish. This is a classic, unforced, unspoofilated Cornas that will age beautifully, best perhaps 2025 to 2040. Highly recommended. David Lillie The 2015 Chaillot from Balthazar displays the ripeness of the vintage, with pure black fruit and violet aromas, with hints of Malabar peppercorn, garrigue, and game. The densely-fruited palate offers flavors of blackberry, ripe plum, and cassis, with savory notes of meat and granitic spice enveloping a vibrant core of minerality. The interplay of pure fruit, bright acidity, and firm, ripe tannins bodes well for long aging. This should be magnificent with 7-10 years in the cellar. A truly beautiful Cornas! John McIlwain
We're very happy to once again have Cornas from Franck Balthazar in the store - organic farming, no nonsense vinifications with low or zero sulfur - some of the best work in the Northern Rhone. As we haven't gotten to the note, here's it is from our friend JLL at Drinkrhone "There is sultry promise on the nose, airs of crushed black fruits, roast beef depth, keen lines of cassis-blueberry, a wee note of smoked bacon. There are great shafts of fine sunlight in the bouquet. The palate is coolly fruited, has real wavy elegance, is sumptuous and sustained, This is very belle (rather than beau), super fine, well balanced, comes with some tannic cut and depth, delivered with a velvet glove. The attack is up and live, holds great fruit; it lengthens with brio, has a finely mineral tune in closing, violets on the aftertaste. The mineral comes along by stealth. There is great transparency of terroir in this STGT Cornas. From mid-2020. 2034-36" "...great shafts of sunlight in the bouquet" I'll drink to that! (STGT stands for Soil To Glass Transfer!)
The 2018 Bonnefond "Les Rochains" is 100% Syrah (oldest 1955) from full south facing 1 hectare on schist, mica schist soils on Les Rochains. the wine shows "dark red. The bouquet is firm, airs of tart, baked bread, red cherry, herbal notes. It will round out and offer potentially large aromas, deep raspberry in the mix. The palate holds well entrenched content, has a beating heart, is solid, grounded with touches of mineral towards the finish. It sustains well, is nourishing, extended, a little scaled. It’s very complete, carries Pinot hints." (drinkrhone.com) Delicious as a young wine, this can be cellared for another 20 years.
From drinkrhone: "dark robe – dark red with some black tints. Dusty trails, herbes de Provence mix on the nose, spice and cooked plums – it’s a Grenache-inspired bouquet; raspberry and mulberry feature well also. The palate runs with fluid content, and some iron in the tannins; it’s thorough and persistent, has more structure than most Côtes du Rhône reds. It finishes on a good charge, momentum. Loganberry, dark fruits lie at its heart. The aftertaste is fresh, has good mini-crunch. The cool threads on the palate are most engaging, and I love its genuine length."
From fifteen to twenty year-old vines, planted at 10,000 vines per hectare, in the lieu-dit "les Rochins" a very steep parcel next to La Landonne and Cote Rozier on shist soils with iron and clay, giving dark, full-bodied wines that need time. The wine shows deep, creamy blackberry and black cherry liqueur, with herbs, brown spice and hints of smoked meat and vanillin. The palate is very full, round and deep with creamy berry fruit that coats the mouth. Not hot or forced, at 13% alc, it benefits from the acidity and brightness of the 2010 vintage. There is some oak presence that needs to integrate — perhaps wait five to seven years before drinking. Says Livingston-Learmonth in DrinkRhône "There is flamboyant fruit on the finish. Great potential, a Grand Vin whose balance is good, has a very good foundation...Proper good wine." Need we mention that other top Côte-Rôties will retail for $150 to $300?
"The 2015 Gour de Chaulé shows an attractive red robe, has lustre. The bouquet rests on an elegant offer of neat, fresh raspberry fruit, with blackberry touches behind, has a little smoky spice and menthol as well. It shows the coolness of Gigondas. The palate is still tight, but clearly defined. This serves a snappy glass, finesse over power. The Grenache is a pure contributor, and gives it its heart. The finish is dark, tarry still, with a little increase in depth from its cool tannins. This is a wine of terroir, authentic Gigondas that gives access to the feel of the place. The cool close invites a second glass. "Drink now and until 2030.(DrinkRhone)
The other Jamet! The 2017 Jean-Luc Jamet Collines-Rhodaniennes Vaile has a Dark ruby, not quite purple robe. Black-fruited, but just-so on the nose. Despite the torrid 2017 vintage there is no sense of torrefaction, if anything it's a mellow café au lait roast. Black cherry, wild blackberry, blackberry blossom, and brambles on the nose. You remember walking through the woods and the smell of the underbrush, don't you? This is distinctly fresh both on the nose and in the mouth. The palate is ripe, but fresh, nimble rather than plodding with good cut and a fine ratio of savory character to overt fruitiness. It’s quite a feat to pull off in a vintage when so many wines are hard-tannined and roasted, this is deft and supple. There’s sneaky structure, so this has a fine future, though the immediate charms make that prospect hard to imagine. Kudos, Jean-Luc! John McIlwain
The Vincent Paris Cornas "La Geynale" is 85% from the top of La Geynale, including vines from 1910, 15% from Tezier. 80 - 85% whole bunch fermentation, with wild yeasts, aged in 2 - 10 year-old casks. This is one of the top Cornas of 2015.
"Syrah 85% from the top of La Genale, plus part of the lower end, includes plenty of 1910 Syrah, 10-15% Tézier (1992), 80-85% whole bunch fermentation, 1 week cool maceration, 4 week vinification, wild yeasts, pumping overs, cap punching, aged 2-10 year oak casks 12-14 months, casks assembled 4 weeks before bottling, fined, unfiltered, The bouquet carries a floral-violet hover over some generous, sweet-noted, notably ripe black berry fruits. The palate is also well scented, combines that with a note of iron, and stewed black fruits, prunes on the table. This carries the warm rays of the year in its supple constitution, is a ripe Cornas with inner notes of complexity. It has good, lip smacking length, will drink young, given its ripeness. From spring 2021, but there’s more variety to come if you wait beyond that, obviously, drink until 2042." Drink Rhone (Note: This is from the first bottling, December 2019)
18.5 hectares under vines. Reservee is Grenache 85%, Syrah 9%, Mourvedre 4%, and 2% others. Aging is 18 months in large old barrels; the wine is bottled unfiltered.
(Our note from 2014) We consider Domaine Pierre André to be one of the greatest estates in Châteuneuf-du-Pape. Organic since 1980 (one of the first in the AOC) and Biodynamic since 1992. The red is 90% Grenache with Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Vacarese, Counoise, Muscadin and Picpoul. Some parcels are over 100 years old, with the average vine age around 65 years. The 2010 is a tighter and more structured wine than the voluptuous 2009, an elegant Chateauneuf-du-Pape that is built to last! Tasted last winter, it showed aromas of ripe blackberry with cherry, spice, rose, earth, tar, smoke and floral notes. Fabulous palate with deep black fruits with spice, garrigue, earth and saline minerals. Terrific length and density, just opening slightly but ideally give this wine at least three more years and enjoy until 2035. Just a great bottle of Châteauneuf, one of our favorites from this great vintage! Highly recommended. David Lillie
Due to a very high percentage of Mourvedre in the blends, Bandol gives some of the world's most compelling and age-worthy Roses, wines that can age for decades. Terrebrune, a domaine close enough to the Mediterranean that the ocean can be seen from the vineyards, is no exception. Unlike the neighbor's vineyards, Terrebrune's are planted on Triassic era subsoil with burnished orange topsoil, which gives the wine a depth and minerality all its own. With a few years of age, this wine is a rare treat. The nose offers fresh, saline notes, as well as pretty peachy fruit. The palate broadens over the course of an hour open and offers richness and length. This is an adult Rosé, but crisp, fresh, and more classic than in some past vintages. Put this wine next to a meal of shellfish or a platter of crostini with Tapenade and watch it shine.
Made primarily from 80 to 90 year-old vines of Serine, generally regarded as an old version of Syrah (which evolved from Mondeuse Blanc and Dureza) with smaller berries which survived through massale selection, principally in Cote Rotie. Serine gives a more aromatic and elegant wine that the larger berried modern Syrah. "From our first day of harvest, 2013 is one of our favorite vintages. The younger vines, which proved austère in the months after bottling, are now showing the remarkable definition that each terroir has gifted to both wines: generosity and smokiness from Saint-Julien’s granits, depth and definition from Brézème. The 30 months of aging in 2500 litre foudres have rendered both cuvées surprisingly approachable for such a classic vintage. The aging potential is exceptional for both wines, and the Brézème is probably the best expression we’ve obtained from this terroir…and at less than 12% alcohol! 2632 bottles, 120 magnums and 10 jéroboams" Eric Texier
"The Corps de Loup vineyard has not ceased to surprise us for the elegance and finesse of the wines it produces. It’s hard to imagine a more ethereal and delicate expression of Syrah than this 2014 Côte-Rotie. Don’t be fooled: if the subtleness of the tannins make it an approachable wine today, 10 to 15 years will bring it to new horizons of minerality and salinity. It might be like the wines of Albert Dervieux Theize, so tender in their youth that no one pays attention. But, as a recently drank 1985 proved, his Côte-Roties age remarkably. Aged 18 months in Burgundian barrels of 5 wines, total SO2 equals 25 mg/l at bottling. 12.5%. – 540 bottles and 12 magnums. " - Eric Texier
The 2014 Brézème from Eric Texier is a playful Syrah showing a nice balance between fruit and savory characteristics without being overbearing. The nose is a little tight upon opening but after an hour rich red berries and red raspberries peak out with orange zest, woody herbs and a touch of sweet spice. The palate is quite full with light but grippy tannins and serious acidity. Showing more peppery and earthy on the palate but driven by dark red fruit with a slight floral tone on the finish. Fresh but not delicate, this wine would pair well with shepherd's pie, lamb sausage, or chicken fried steak with plenty of gravy. Andy Paynter