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The 2016 Aphillanthes Rose is a blend of Grenache with Cinsault, Mourevedre and Counoise. Wild yeast fermentation, horse-plowed, and hand-harvested! 2016 Rhone Valley rosés are more vibrant and refreshing than the 2015s, and lower in alcohol - The Aphillanthes shows a very pretty light pink color and subtle aromas of red currant, rose and spice. The palate shows nice density of fruit - raspberry and strawberry - without being heavy or sweet. The finish is a bit tight with nice berry fruits and stone flavors - this young wine should open up nicely over the summer - serve with grilled foods, roast chicken, salads or just sip by itself.
One of the few "natural" winemakers in the northern Rhône, Frank Balthazar is certified organic and vinifies with wild yeasts and minimal sulfur, even producing a cuvée of Cornas without SO2. The Cuvée Casimir Balthazar is from 25% old vines in "Les Mazards" and young vines in "La Légre." Balthazar's Cornas are aromatically beautiful with silky, pure fruit and terrific length and are never heavy or over-extracted. The 2015 Casimir Balthazar shows a dense red/black color, with elegant pure blackberry, cassis aromas with violet and stone and hints of spice, a bit closed from the recent bottling. The palate is dense and elegant, but not heavy, with firm tannins surrounding lovely pure black fruits with a beautiful core of minerals, earth and berry fruits. The finish is all stone and juicy acids. Beautiful wine - hold 5 to 8 years and drink till 2035. DL
The 2015 'La Bonne Etoile" Viognier shows ripe, complex aromas of peach, citrus, mango and lime-flower. The palate is lush and dense with peach, pineapple and pear - a cornucopia of ripe fruits framed in firm stony acidity. Just delicious! Not for oysters perhaps, but a beautiful aperitif, and perfect with patés, seafood, Asian cuisines and goat cheeses.
The Barou family family makes delicious wines, and grows cherries and apricots on their mixed-use organic estate in Charnas, in the northern section of the AOC Saint-Joseph. Their 2015 Vin de Pays Marsanne is a simply superb everyday wine! Light bronze/gold color. Aromas of almond, lime-flower, honeysuckle, lemon peel and hay, really quite pretty. Ripe stone fruits on the palate, primarily peach and dried pear with lemon, spice and saline mineral flavors with good balancing acidity in the long finish. Serve this lovely wine with chicken, full-flavored fish, mild cheeses and Asian foods. This is a unique and delicious wine and an extraordinary value - highly recommended!
From 40 year-old Syrah vines in Charnay, just outside the Saint-Joseph AOC, on living soils tended organically for forty years by Marie-Agnès and Emmanuel Barou. Plowing by tractor or weeding by hand on the steep slopes. Hand-harvested, wild-yeast fermentations, aging one year in 4 to 5 year-old barrels. The 2015 Cuvée des Vernes is simply sensational and one of the best values in the store! The wine shows deep black/red color with lush aromas of blackberry liqueur, licorice, blueberry and musk with cool minty notes - really lovely! The palate shows cool dense black fruits with dark chocolate, blueberry, earth, smoke and citrus with a beautiful, refreshing finish of minerals and fruit. This is an outstanding Syrah, equal to many many Saint-Josephs and simply delicious for current drinking. Serve a bit cool with almost anything from roast chicken to pork, rabbit, charcuterie and lamb, or just enjoy by itself. Case quantities are available. Highly recommended! DL
Fiancee: Grenache 50% (from 100 year old vines), Syrah 50%; aged 18 months, half in concrete and half in 1-2 year old barriques. Bottled unfiltered.
8.7 hectares of vines. Hesperides: Grenache 50%, Syrah 25%, Mourvedre 20%; aged in small old barriques.
Centenaires: Grenache 80%, Syrah 10%, Mourvedre 10%, from vines 30-100 years old; aged in a combination of large old barrels, and 1-3 year old barriques. Bottled unfiltered.
16 hectares of vines. Chateauneuf Grenache 65%, Mourvedre 20%, Syrah 12%, “others” 3%; aged in 1-3 year old barriques. Bottled unfiltered.
"Chapelle St. Theodoric is a project between winemaker Baptiste Grangeon and importer Peter Weygandt. There are two parcels; one in the lieu-dit La Guigasse, which is a pure sand soil and where the vines (all Grenache) range in age of from 50 to 100 year; and the other parcel at the top of Pignan, literally adjoining the vines of Chateau Rayas, also in pure sand and also pure, old vines Grenache. The vinification is traditional, that is to say, whole-cluster, such as employed by Jacques Reynaud at Chateau Rayas, Laurent Charvin, Henri Bonneau. In the 2014 vintage, it was decided to put all of the La Guigasse and some of the Grand Pin into Les Sablons, because of the more forward style of 2014." - Weygandt-Metzler. The 2014 "Les Sablons" is indeed a very lovely Chateauneuf, showing beautiful ripe red currant and black cherry aromas with hints of brown spice, rose, earth and musk. The palate is light and fine but very dense with sappy red fruits, citrus, earth and mineral flavors with hints of licorice and prune. The finish is long and lingering, with firm acidity showing good aging potential. Elegant and delicious now - serve slightly cool - perhaps best 2020 to 2030. Three cheers to Peter Weygandt and Baptiste Grangeon for producing this lovely old-school Châteaneuf-du-Pape!
8.2 hectare of vines; only one bottling is produced: Grenache 85%, Syrah 5%, Mourvedre 5%, Vaccarese 5%; aged for 18 months in concrete, and bottled unfiltered.
A 1.5 ha parcel of about 50% Grenache, 50% Cinsault, sometimes with some Bourboulenc and Mourvèdre that averages just 35hL/ha annually. Organically farmed and entirely harvested by hand with sorting done in the vineyard. The 2016 rosé shows a pale pink color and lovely aromas of raspberry, wild strawberry, rose and peach skin. The palate is silky and mineral with subtle raspberry and cherry fruit with stone and citrus flavors, quite long and elegant and finishing with refreshing acidity. This should open up nicely over the next few months and will be a great companion to seafood, chicken and grilled meats this summer. Lovely wine!
85% Grenache, some 100+ years-old, 15% Mourvedre. 70% de-stemmed, aged in old medium and small casks. Bottled unfined, unfiltered. Old-fashioned wine, quite earthy, showing floral ripe cherry and garrigue aromas, with sweet earthy cherry fruit on the palate quite meaty and mineral, with deep red fruits, citrusy acids and earth in the long finsh. Lovely now with a stew or grilled meats, or hold a few years for a mauture experience, drink until 2030+. DL
This is Gigondas at its finest! 100% Grenache from old vines, fermented in cement, and aged in large oak vats before being bottled unfined and unfiltered with minimal added sulphur. It gives you that classic Grenache mustiness – like blackberries and blueberries smashed onto the forest floor – but also more fresh and delicate notes of nutmeg and strawberries. Hints of grapefruit peel, vine tomato and pine offer added depth. Given its age, it is still incredibly energetic on the palate with wonderfully resolved tannins and ripe black berry fruit. Truly a complex and delicious wine with a long life ahead of it! Tim Gagnon
Clos du Joncuas, founded in 1920 by Pierre Auguste Chastan, has always farmed with natural methods and has been officially organic since 1980. Currently run by sisters Dany and Carole Chastan, the estate's Gigondas vines are on slopes below the Dentelles de Montmirail on soils of clay with dolomite and gypsum over the limestone of the Dentelles and average 40 to 90 years old. 80% Grenache with Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah, whole cluster fermentation in vat with 12 months aging in large old barrels. The 2012 Gigondas is a bit lighter and brighter than the norm at Clos du Joncuas with high-toned black fruit, mineral, spice and licorice aromas. The palate is elegant and fresh showing deep supple black fruits with hints of graphite, garrigue and brown spice. After three days, recorked in the fridge, the wine has deepened impressively with pure blackberry, bitter chocolate and licorice aromas, great density on the palate with black fruit liqueur, red currant, earth and anise. A beautiful wine! Serve cool and decant many hours if drinking young, or cellar for five to fifteen years.
(70% Grenache, with Carignan, Syrah and Mourvèdre, always farmed organically, hand harvested, whole-cluster wild yeast fermentation, aged in cement vat, un-fined, unfiltered.) Dense red/black color. Vivid aromas of blackberry and black cherry liqueur with hints of cocoa, citrus peel and licorice. The palate is dense and supple with berry liqueur, cherry pit and firm citrusy acids, fairly bright and cool in the finish. This beautiful young wine will benefit from decanting or 5 years of aging, serve with grilled foods, North African cuisine, strong cheeses. Great value!
(50% Clairette, 25% Roussanne, 25% Viognier, always organically farmed, wild yeast fermentation, aged in enamel vat) Floral dried pear, apricot, hay, thyme aromas. Ripe pear, stone, caramel, lemon on the palate. A big, ripe wine with a supple palate but with good acidity that will pair with fish stews, shellfish, pork and chicken dishes as well as full-flavored goat cheeses. Particularly good in 2015, the Clos du Joncuas (Domaine la Garancière) Seguret Blanc is an outstanding value and highly recommended. DL
80% Grenache with Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah, on Triassic clay/limestone soils always farmed organically. Whole cluster fermentation in vat with 12 months aging in large old barrels. Although we love this beautifully old-fashioned, organic wine in every vintage, Dany and Carole Chastan have made perhaps their best wine ever in 2015! The wine shows deep aromas of blackberry, dark chocolate, prune, garrigue, musk and citrus, quite focused and elegant. The palate is pure, supple and balanced, even at 15% alcohol, with dense blackberry, tart cherry, red currant, spice, earth and minerals, with tart red fruits, minerals and citrus in the very long finish. This is a superb Gigondas that can be enjoyed immensely now with a steak, pork or lamb chops, Morrocan tagines and full-flavored cheeses. Cellar 10 to 15 years for a mature experience. This is a superb wine and a great value - thanks to Carole and Dany for their great farming and traditional winemaking!
2015 is a great vintage for Dany and Carole Chastan at the Clos du Joncuas, and their 2015 Esprit de Grenache is simply outstanding. Since 1900 the estate has been farmed organically and the winemaking here is completely traditional with whole-cluster fermentations and aging in old foudres. Tasted at the estate in January of 2017, the wine showed dense elegant black fruit aromas with licorice and earth. The palate is pure and long with deep blackberry flavors with olive, earth, citrus and bitter chocolate - just fantastic! As with all the 2015s here, the wine is delicious in it's youthful fruit and intensity, but ten to fifteen years of aging will reveal a truly great southern Rhone Grenache. Very highly recommended! DL
From 80% Grenache with Syrah and Mourvedre, grown on gravelly limestone terraces, always farmed organically, whole-cluster fermention and aged in concrete vats. 2015 is a great vintage for the always lovely Vacqueyras from Carole and Dany Chastan at Clos du Joncuas. The wine shows very deep aromas of blackberry and floral strawberry compote, earth, citrus, violet and spice. The palate is supple and dense, brightened by floral notes and firm acidity, with ripe blackberry and raspberry fruit, framed in juicy acidity with a very long finish of ripe berry fruits and mineral flavors. This is a beautiful and exuberant wine, quite delicious now, served slightly cool, and it will drink beautifully over the next ten years. A joyful wine and highly recommended! DL
This beautifully poised rosé from our friends at Clos du Joncuas is a textbook example of a powerful wine wearing a velvet glove. Its weight and 14% alcohol are balanced out by lively acidity and a persistent minerality that folds itself seamlessly into a long and textured finish. The nose and the attack on the palate is all ripe fruit: tangerine, kumpquat, passion fruit, orange zest, and a hint of honeydew (but the part right up against the rind.) Then the bright acidity kicks in and the wine dances across the palate with vibrant energy. As it resolves, a note of wet granite lingers. Pair it with salade Nicoise or hot dogs, or shout "So What" like P!nk and drink this delicious rosé by itself all summer long, any day, anytime. Oskar Kostecki
The Vieilles Vignes is bottled exclusively for the US. Karis describes it as having a bit more Grenache than the Chateauneuf classique.
12 hectares of vines. The Vieilles Vignes is 100% Grenache, from 80-100 year old vines, aged 18 months in older barriques, and bottled unfiltered.
The Dard & Ribo 2015 Crozes Blanc is from 30 year-old vines, more Roussanne than Marsanne, in the "Les Baties" vineyard in Larnage with soils of granite with clay. The wine ages for 12 months in a mix of large and small barrels, with a small percentage new, approximately 250 cs made.
"Les Mesanges" is a cuvée from organic grapes grown on the best terroir at Domaine des Amphores, aged 18 months in 600 liter barrels. This needs some aeration, then shows high-toned aromas of red-currant, blackberry, spice, violets, licorice and stone with a touch of oak. The palate is a bit tight and very mineral with dense blackberry, boysenberry, spice and earth with firm acidity. Finishes with saline acids, red fruits, and hints of licorice, anise and stone. Elegant, balanced and subtle, this will need 3 to 5 years of aging to drink at its best, or drink now, opening well in advance and decanting.
From 100% Syrah in Chavanay, just outside the Saint-Joseph zone, tended organically since planting. The Amphores Syrah "les Iris" shows lovely blackberry and blueberry aromas with citrus and floral notes. The palate is light and refreshing with very pretty fruit - the flavors of Northern Rhone Syrah in a bright ready-to-drink style. This will be a great accompaniment to grilled foods and picnics, served quite cool.
"Les Iris" is made from organically tended Viognier vines just south of the Condrieu AOC. The 2015 is elegant and balanced with a powerful minerality. Pale lemon in the glass, the nose offers opulent aromas of peaches, nutmeg, and cut lime flowers. Creamy flavors of peach, touches of brown spice, and lemon zest develop into more tropical notes of mango, tangerine, and stone on the long finish. Forget what you think you know about Viognier and pair this one with chicken, fish or mild cheeses this summer. Amanda Bowman
Dumien-Serrette is a happily old-fashioned estate in Cornas with 1.5 hectares in the Patou vineyard, which has primarily granitic soils; the remainder, .3 hectares, is located in Les Savaux. The vines in Patou date back to the 1920’s, with some even exceeding 100 years old. Since the 2010 harvest, half of the fruit has been de-stemmed; grapes are pressed with an old-fashioned basket press and aged 2 years in 2 to 7-year-old barrels. The estate’s total annual production is around 300 cases (600 in 2014). The 2014 is old-fashioned Cornas with aromas of ripe blackberry and black cherry with violet, graphite, citrus, earth and spice. The palate is very earthy and mineral with ripe black fruits, really a wine of the soil. This will drink beautifully with grilled meats and will benefit from decanting or a few years of cellaring. Drink over the next ten to fifteen years. DL
This rosé from the southern Rhone is a blend of 50% Cinsault, 40% Grenache, and 10% Syrah grown in the shadow of the Dentelles des Montmirail. Pale salmon in color, this easy drinking option is crisp, minerally, clean, and refreshing, with good acidity, some fine cherry notes, and a hint of lemon meringue pie. This wine is lightly but elegantly structured, with cantaloupe rind, raspberry, and a bit of grass on a pleasant finish. Will pair well with grilled chicken, fruit salad, or gazpacho. Drew Farquhar
From parcels of clay/limestone, rich in iron, on hillsides surrounded by woods and hedges, 75% Grenache, 25% Syrah. Like all the Ferme Saint-Martin wines, it's from organic grapes and bottled with minimal SO2. The 2015 Terres Jaunes shows lovely deep berry liqueur aromas - mostly red currant with hints of bright raspberry, with floral and earthy notes. The palate is round and supple showing ripe blackberry and red currant flavors with minerals, citrus and dark chocolate, that continues on the long refreshing finish. This is a big but bright and balanced Côtes du Rhône that shows the lush fruit and concentration of the 2015 vintage - it's the best Terres Jaunes ever and a great value! Serve with stews, steaks and chops or anything from the grill this summer. DL
Guy and Thomas Jullien make a small quantity of fascinating and delicious white Cotes du Rhône on their organic estate in Suzette, on the slopes of the Dentelles near Beaumes-de-Venise. "Le Blanc" is made from 45% Clairette, 45% Roussanne and 10% Grenache Blanc grown at high altitude on clay/limestone soils, vinified with some skin contact and with minimal SO2. The 2015 shows soft aromas of tangerine, lime flower, almond butter, and anise along with deeper notes of exotic tropical melon. The palate is broad and textured with a melange of fruit reminiscent of white peach, pineapple, mandarin orange, and apricot balanced by a gentle acidity and the most subtle suggestion of tannin. This would be fantastic with rich fish dishes, pork, and poultry of all kinds. Tim Gagnon
A lovely rosé of Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault grown in the Ventoux by Guy and Thomas Jullien at their beautiful organic estate in Suzette, above Beaume-de-Venise. The grapes are hand-harvested, fermented with only wild yeasts and the wine is bottled with minimal SO2. The 2016 shows lovely aromas of cherry, raspberry and rose with hints of spice and citrus. Beautiful palate with firm acidity and mineral flavors with hints of red currant, raspberry, peach and brown spice, with good density and length. This is a real rosé of terroir, which should open up nicely with aeration or a few months in bottle. A fabulous value!
"Very dark color; the nose is destined for appreciation at a second stage of maturity, since it is strongly oaked and full right now, with a glimmer of black berry fruit within. This is serious Crozes, not the bar drinking school at all. The palate has viscous black fruit, Morello cherry, nice and dark. Oak shows on the late stages, will absorb. High quality here. We are close to Hermitage in style. Has a long, sustained, fresh close. From mid-late 2016. Drink until 2024-25" Drink Rhone
Origines: Grenache 50%, Mourvedre 30%, Syrah 20%, from 65+ year old vines; aged in new barriques and bottled after a light filtration.
14.5 hectares of vines. Chateauneuf is Grenache 70%, Syrah 20%, Mourvedre 10%, aged 12 months in barriques, and bottled with a light filtration.
Origines: Grenache 50%, Mourvedre 30%, Syrah 20%, from 65+ year old vines; aged in new barriques and bottled after a light filtration.
The Gripa 2015 Saint-Joseph Blanc is 70% Marsanne and 30% Roussanne from 35 year-old vines. Drink over the next ten years, decanting recommended.
The Gripa Saint-Joseph "le Berceau" is from the vineyard called "Saint-Joseph" in Tournon, one of the best sites in the appellation, with the Gripas having a full-south exposure and vines planted mostly in the 1920s. The soils are granite with clay and stones. The fermentation is with 30 to 40% whole clusters, with aging in one to six year-old barrels. This is an outstanding old-vine Saint-Joseph that should ideally be cellared for about 5 years and should drink beautifully for fifteen to twenty years.
The 2015 Gripa "Le Berceau" Blanc is 100% Marsanne frm 60+ year-old vines in the "Saint-Joseph" vineyard above Tournon. 215 cases made, a rare and beautiful wine. "This imposes, and is a kingly wine with its steady assertion of ripe flavour and near red wine structure." (DrinkRhone) Drink over the next fifteen years.
The Gripa 2015 Saint-Joseph is from fifteen to sixty-five year-old vines in the "Peygros" vineyard, above "Saint-Joseph," shared by Gonon and Chapoutier, on granite with thin soils. The grapes are de-stemmed and the wine ages in a mix of small and large casks, new to eight years of age. This is a more forward wine that will drink beautifully over the next five to eight years.
Domaine Bernard and Fabrice Gripa is one of the top estates in Saint-Joseph and Saint-Peray, with the whites being particularly stylish and well-made. The Saint-Peray Les Pins is from 30 year-old vines on both granite and limestone soils, 75% Marsanne, 25% Roussanne. Honeyed floral, herbal and citrus aromas, creamy lemon oil, hay and stone.The palate is round and fairly soft with spicy white fruits and lime, but with nice finishing acidity and mineral character. An elegant Rhône white that will drink well over the next 10 years, a great aperitf and a good match with full-flavored fish and pork dishes and mild cheeses.
Laurent Habrard is making superb organic wines in the Northern Rhone and is blessed with a tiny parcel in Hermitage "Les Rocoules," whose vines, 99.9% Marsanne, range from approximately 50 to 100 years old! The wine ages 7 months in 1 to 3 year-old barriques and finishes in vat. The 2014 shows a bright gold color and complex ripe aromas of peach, pear, citrus peel, lime-flower, hazelnut, caramel and stone, really extraordinary. The palate is ripe and round with white and yellow fruits, hay, stone, menthol and citrus, rich and long in the finish. Serve this beautiful wine over the next ten years with fish or chicken in sauce, goat cheeses and foie gras. DL
10 hectares of vines. The Chateauneuf is Grenache 60%, Syrah 15%, Mourvedre 10%, and Counoise 5%, from vines 70-100 years old. Aged in large old barrels and barriques for 12-18 months; bottled unfiltered.
This rosé from Vacqueyras is a prime candidate for any summer grill and barbecue. Primarily Grenache (with 30% Cinsault), farmed without chemical products in the vineyard, hand harvested, and fermented with indigenous yeasts. Winemakers Martine and Christian Vache vinify half of the wine for their rosé in the saignée (bleeding) method, taking juice from red grapes after about 10 hours of maceration and fermenting this separately. The other half is a direct press of partially de-stemmed grapes. Once fermented, the two wines are blended and aged on the lees for 6 months before bottling. The result is a wine of a beautiful pale hue that provides kick and crispness, brambly fresh berry fruit, with peach and rose and a touch of spice. Super dry, and satisfyingly refreshing, it's perfect with salads and snacks, and has enough body to stand up to richer, tangier flavors and grilled meats. Eben Lillie
With 4.5 hectares in vines, Mordoree is one of the smallest producers in Chateauneuf. Reine du Bois: Grenache 80%, Mourvedre 10%, Syrah, Counoise, and Vaccarese 10%, from 60+ year old vines; aged 10 months, 60% in tank, the balance in barriques, of which 40% are new. Bottled unfiltered.
This lovely Cairanne is a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah form 35 to 65 year-old vines, farmed organically for many years. Aged in cement vats, no wood. Dense black/red color, deep aromas of black and red fruits with hints of spice, chocolate, licorice and blueberry. The palate is elegant and ripe with cool blackberry fruit, complex and long with firm acidity and juicy fruit in the finish. This is delicious now served a bit cool, best after a few years of aging - an oustanding Cairanne at a very reasonable price!
The Paris Cornas "Granit 60" is from 100 year-old vines in "Les Mazards," 65 year-old vines in "Patou" and 24 year-old vines in "Sauman." The grapes are partially de-stemmed then undergo a 2-3 week vinification with wild yeasts. The wine ages in two to ten year-old barrels and is bottled un-filtered. About 400 to 500 cases are produced.
13.6 hectares of vines. The Reserve des Vieilles Vignes is Grenache 70%, Syrah 15%, Mourvedre 10%, Counoise 5%. Aging is 11-13 months with 80% in partly new barriques, and the rest in large barrels. Bottled unfiltered.
Jacqueline André makes this superb white Chateauneuf-du-Pape from one hectare of vines - 40% Clairette planted in the 1920s, with 30% Bourboulenc, 20% Roussanne and 10% Grenache Blanc. Biodynamic farming, aged in vat, malo blocked. Fabulous aromas of pear and green apple with lemon blossom, stone and dried fruits. Very saline and mineral on the palate with intense flavors of dried pear, apple, hazelnut, anise and stone. very dense and long with firm acidity and mineral flavors in the finish. Terrific wine - delicious now with fish or chicken in sauce and full flavored cheeses, or cellar, perhaps best 2020 to 2030. DL
The Richaud 2014 Cairanne is a gorgeous wine made from Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvedre, partly made with carbonic maceration. The aromas are ripe and vivid with black cherry, red currant and floral notes backed by earth and dark chocolate. The palate shows lush, bright fruit - a beautiful and intense melange of berries lifted by cool acidity and mineral flavors with fabulous length. Three days later the wine is showing beautifully with a bit more spice in the aromas and fabulous minty black fruits on the palate, very long and complex. Bravo to Marcel Richaud! Serve this lovely wine quite cool with just about anything!
From a one-half hectare parcel of 60 year-old vines in "Les Rivoires" on the lower slope in Tournon, sandy granite soils. Aged 12 months, 30% foudre, 70% 2 to 5 year-old barrels. This "serious" Saint-Joseph shows lush, bright aromas of blackberry liqueur, with blueberry, violet, citrus, spice and roast meats. The palate is a bit tight and quite elegant with red currant, blackberry and blueberry fruit with firm acidity and mineral flavors. This is an elegant, earthy and well-structured Saint-Joseph that will age beautifully - best probably 2021 to 2030, decant if drinking now.
From hillside vineyards in Erome, Gervans and Crozes, mostly granite with some limestone/clay, average age 45 years, aged 30% in foudre, 70% in one to 7 year-old burgundy barrels. This is no "ordinary" Crozes-Hermitage, but a real wine of terroir from great vineyard sites, all on hillsides. The 2014 is aromatically beautiful with complex aromas of red currant, blueberry, violet, musk and citrus. The palate is softer than in the very structured 2013 vintage, showing red and black fruit liqueur lifted by citrusy acids and finishing with nice mineral flavors, floral notes and supple fruit. This is a very pretty Crozes to drink over the next 5 years, and a great value!
Les Picaudières is perhaps the best vineyard in Crozes-Hermitage, formerly owned by Raymond Roure. 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. 2014 is another excellent vintage at Domaine Rousset thanks to the great vineyard and cellar work of Stephane and his father Robert. The 2014 Les Picaudières shows deep pure aromas of blackberry, black cherry and red currant with hints of violets, earth and licorice, a bit riper and more forward than the 2013. The palate is dense and well-structured with black fruits, mint and saline minerals, but soft enough to be absolutely delicious as a young wine. This is a serious wine of terroir - a very elegant Crozes that should be decanted if drunk now, best 2020 to 2030+.
From 60 to 90 year-old vines in the hillside vineyards of "les Vedias" and "Tout" in Erome, decomposed granite with clay and gravel - great terroir producing this serious but overlooked wine from the Rousset family. The Rousset Crozes Blanc is outstanding in 2015 and is one of the finest white wine values in the store! It's an intense and delicious Marsanne showing elegant aromas of lemon, stone, dried pear, almond, apricot and hay - really lovely. The palate is dense, mineral and balanced by firm acidity with citrus, pear, grilled almond, anise and herbal flavors, with a long stone and citrus finish. Delicious in its youth, this will benefit from a few years in the cellar and should be quite interesting in 2025. Serve with white meats, full-flavored fish dishes or provençal fish soup and a wide variety of cheeses. David Lillie
Les Picaudières is perhaps the best vineyard in Crozes-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. "Les Picaudières 2015 was harvested on September 21st, after a very dry period in late August. The vines profited from the rains in September to finish the maturation" said Stéphane, givng grapes in perfect condition at 13% alcohol. The 2015 shows a deep red/black color with elegant aromas of blackberry, black cherry, bitter chocolate, black olive earth and menthol. The palate shows bright berry liqueurs with deeper eathy black fruits , black pepper, cocoa and mineral flavors with ample tannins and a long saline finish of black fruits and firm acidity. This is a superb northern Rhône Syrah that can be enjoyed young, especially with grilled foods, but best to wait five to ten years and drink until 2035 and beyond. Highly recommended. David Lillie
16 hectares of vines. Prestige is Grenache 60%, Syrah 15%, Mourvedre 10%, and the balance Cinsault, Terret Noir, Vaccarese, and Muscardin, from vines over 90 years old. Aged 65% in large barrels, and 35% in mostly new barriques. Bottled unfiltered.
Domaine Saladin is an organic estate in the southern part of the Cotes du Rhône, and proudly states that their soils and vines have never been treated with herbicides or pesticides. Vinifications are with wild yeasts and minimal SO2 is used. The Tralala Rose is a lovely wine with superb, pure red fruit aromas of raspberry and strawberry. The palate is round but balanced with good acidity and the finish is long with pretty red fruits continuing at the end. A really well-made rose that drinks beautifully now and should improve over the next 12 months.
Tardieu-Laurent works with purchased fruit. The Vieilles Vignes is Grenache 80%, and Syrah and Mourvedre 10% each; aged 24 months in partly new barriques, and bottled unfiltered.
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
Eric Texier has been at the vanguard of the "natural" wine scene for quite some time now and has never failed to amaze me. Even with such a seemingly simple offering as this refreshing rosé, his precision as a wine maker shines through. Made from Cinsault, it is floral with beautiful berry fruits and a lip-smacking acidity. Absolutely a gorgeous wine. Get it while you can! TG
100% Cinsault. From old vines in granitic soils of the St-Julien en St-Alban vineyard on the western side of the Rhône River in the Ardèche. Grapes are crushed by foot-treading and fermented with indigenous yeasts. Light pink color, with vibrant aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry, rose and citrus peel. The palate is bone dry and refreshing with berry fruits and a hint of peach with citrusy acids in the finish. At 11.5% alcohol, this is a light and lovely rosé for warm weather quaffing...