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Domaine des Aphillanthes is near Gigondas in the Southern Rhone and has been certified Biodynamic since 2007. "Le Cros" is all Syrah from 40 to 50 year-old vines, grown on pebbly clay and limestone soils, fermented with wild yeasts and aged in old barriques. Expressive dark berry fruit mixes with gamier notes of hide and smoked meat on the nose. A little rounder and softer than Northern Rhone syrah, the palate has fine tannic grip, great concentration of fruit, and a strong backbone. Subtle notes of garrigue and bitter chocolate articulate the long mineral finish.
The 2017 Aphillanthes Rose is a blend of Grenache with Cinsault, Mourevedre and Counoise. Wild yeast fermentation, horse-plowed, and hand-harvested! The Aphillanthes 2017 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 and is a bit lighter and fresher than the 2016. The finish is refreshing 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.
The 2012 “Cuvée Millepertuis” from Christian and Nadia Charmasson at Balazu des Vaussieres is made from Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Carignan, which undergoes an approximately two month carbonic maceration, followed by pressing and 3 years in vat (no wood). The wine shows a deep black/red color and complex earthy aromas of black cherry and blackberry from old-vine Grenache, with a cool, fresh aspect, a real product of living soils. The palate is complex and beautiful with dense black cherry, blackberry, earth, citrus, rose, cocoa and licorice with a long tart, earth and mineral finish. Anyone who appreciates natural wines should try this! Our thanks to Christian and Nadia for their beautiful work... David Lillie
The Balazu des Vaussieres 2013 Rouge “Dent de Lion” was made with Syrah, Mourvedre, Carignan, Cinsault and Grenache with 25% of Grenache Blanc and Clairette. No chemicals are used in the vines and no additives are used in the winemaking - a long carbonic maceration followed by pressing and three years in vat. Even though it was a root day when we visited last winter, the wine showed exuberant aromas of red currant, blackberry, plum, violet, spice, cocoa and orange peel, bringing a smile to our faces. The palate shows a cool, light aspect, a bit similar to the L'Anglore reds, with dense, brambly red currant and blackberry lifted by bright acidity and a bit of tannin, with spicy berry fruits lingering in the finish. This is a beautiful natural wine, serve cool and enjoy! David Lillie
The 2017 “Sept Syllabes,” was made with Grenache Blanc and Noir, Carignan and Cinsault. It’s a direct press rosé with little or no maceration and no added SO2. The wine spent approximately two years in vat before bottling. Slightly opaque pink color. The wine shows pretty aromas of creamy raspberry, peach skin, orange peel and earth. The palate is dense and textured with berry fruits, brown spice, citrus and mineral flavors, quite intriguing. There is a bit of funk on the palate, due to the absence of SO2, but the wine remains complex and delicious with terrific length. The color browns slightly with a few days open but the flavors deepen nicely - a few years of aging would be interesting. This is not for everyone, but we find it fascinating and delicious. David Lillie
The 2015 “Vin Libre” is predominantly Grenache Blanc and Clairette with Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier and Bourboulenc. A complex and elegant wine of the south, at 14% alcohol, the wine shows a deep gold/hay color with complex aromas of peach skin, dried flowers, lemon confit, earth and brown spice. The palate is dense and ripe with white peach and pear, citrus, mineral and earthy flavors. There is a bit of skin tannin and firm acidity in the very long finish. This is an extraordinary and soulful natural wine from the stony soils of Tavel and Roquemaure - perfect with bouillabaisse with aioli, monkfish in sauce and white meats, or just sip and contemplate. Highly recommended. On the label of the Blanc and Rosé is the Berber Flag from North Africa (Nadia’s heritage) with the symbol of the free man and three colors representing Berbers who lived by the sea, in the mountains and in the desert. David Lillie
(On Sale through June 9th, was $18.99 - this is an amazing deal!) Domaine Barou has been organic since the 1970s and also produces cherries, apricots and peaches. The Saint-Joseph vines are in Limony, on thin granite soils. Shallow plowing ("griffage") is done in the summer, with rye and clover growing between the rows in winter. The grapes are 80% de-stemmed, fermentations are with wild yeasts, aging is primarily in old barrels. the 2016 Saint-Joseph shows lovely aromas of blackberry and blueberry, quite floral, with hints of citrus, herbs and spice, a bit brighter than the 2015. The palate shows earthy black fruits with citrus and mineral notes, quite balanced with firm acidity at 13% alcohol and finishing with nice crisp acidity. This will pair well with roast chicken and pork dishes and will improve for three to five years in the bottle. DL
The Barou family makes delicious wines, and grows cherries and apricots on their mixed-use organic estate in the hills around Saint-Joseph and Condrieu. Their 2016 "Rendez-Vous" is 100% Marsanne grown in granite soils. The grapes are 80% de-stemmed and then macerated on the skins for 10 to 12 hours. The fermentation is in barrels at low temperature followed by nine months of aging in 4 to 5 year-old barriques. The wine shows a pale gold color and pretty aromas of citrus, lime-flower, spiced pear, almond and hay. The palate shows nice freshness with ripe pear, quince, almond and citrus fruits supported by firm acidity, finishing with refreshing fruit and mineral flavors. This is a well-balanced and food friendly Marsanne that will pair with fish in sauce, Asian foods and chicken and pork dishes. It's a nice aperitif as well and a sensational value! David Lillie
(On Sale through 6/9 Was $12.99) This delicious Syrah is from 30 to 40 year-old vines in the "Les Vernes" vineyard near Charnas (Saint-Joseph). The grapes are 80% de-stemmed and undergo a two-day cold maceration followed by an 18-day fermentation. The wine ages for 9 months in 4 and 5 year-old barrels. The wine shows a deep red/black color and aromas of ripe blackberry and blackcurrant with hints of mint, violet, spice and meat. There is lovely ripe blackberry and blueberry fruit on the palate with nice focus and depth, framed in firm acidity and finishing with good length and mineral flavors. Thanks to Emmanuel and Marie-Agnès Barou for this lovely wine which is one of the best values in the store! David Lillie
Blonde is a wine that Andréa Calek has produced for many years now. At times it's been bubbly, other times still. This time around, it's a still wine, made from Viognier. There's a delicate lemony note on the palette, with some herbs (cloves and allspice), and nice density. There's a subtle funky quality that floats around, but never settles into an actual fault or flaw. All in all a very balanced and enjoyable expression of a oft-underappreciated grape. Eben Lillie
Chapelle Saint-Theodoric is a joint venture between the Grangeon family of Domaine de Cristia and their USA importer Peter Weygandt. Le Grand Pin is all Grenache from the Pignan vineyard on sandy soils. Whole-cluster fermentation in concrete vat with wild yeasts, minimal extraction, aged in 4 to 10 year-old large casks. This is a beautiful old-fashioned Chateauneuf that is all finesse and beauty, very Burgundian in style and absoulutely delicious. The wine shows elegant aromas of black cherry, raspberry, violet, roast meat, graphite, citrus and Provencal garrigue, quite complex. There is intense sappy fruit on the palate with elegant cherry, raspberry, dark chocolate and earth. Very long, dense and ripe but balanced and bright, not at all heavy or over-extracted. The finish is lovely with sappy fruit and mineral flavors lingering on the palate. Delicious as a young wine, this should cellar beautifully, best perhaps 2023 - 2030. DL
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." The 2014 "Les Sablons" is indeed a very lovely Châteauneuf, 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!
The 2015 "La Guigasse" is a beautiful CDP in an old-fashioned style, from a parcel with very old vines on sandy soils next to Pignan. The aromas are very floral and complex with bright cherry and raspberry but with a dark meaty, spicy side as well. This lacks a bit of the finesse of the Grand Pin but has old vine intensity, and will need some time. There are deep berry fruits on the palate, quite dense and with firm tannins, with earthy mineral notes. Terrific length and weight, not as immediately enjoyable as the Grand Pin, but give it 5 years to open, then drink until 2035.
The 2015 "Le Grand Pin" is one of the great Chateauneufs of the vintage! Every now and then we like to share John Livingstone-Learmonth's reviews in DrinkRhone, very British and always accurate..."bright, clear red, very Grenache. This has an über perfumed, Pinot-esque aroma – it has a real child of the sands purity, is arresting. There is great definition in its red fruit, raspberry. This is exciting: it’s a complete symphony on its own. The palate bears stylish red fruits with a silken bearing. This is ACE. It has a most beguiling nature – back I go to the 1960s Châteauneufs of my youth. It has a most belle spherical harmony, beautiful detail, and wholesome, fine juice – way to go wine, where Châteauneuf should be once more after the lost years. Pinot meets Grenache here; it is exceptional, has a total harmony." This will cellar beautifully, perhaps best 2025 to 2035+
Carignan, Syrah and Grenache. This cuvée is driven by a large percentage of old vines Carignan, which Sylvain believes retains it's freshness even in the heat of the South. The style is truly right down the middle, with plenty of generous earthy fruit, but very integrated tannin and good lift. This is a fantastic everyday red that could accompany a wide variety of foods. Eben Lillie
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 its youthful fruit and intensity, but ten to fifteen years of aging will reveal a truly great southern Rhone Grenache. Very highly recommended! DL
70% Grenache, with Carignan, Syrah and Mourvèdre, always farmed organically, hand harvested, whole-cluster wild yeast fermentation, aged in cement vat, un-fined, unfiltered. The 2015 Seguret shows a very dark red/black color, with aromas of ripe cherry and strawberry liqueur, prune, earth, stone and provençal spices. The palate is quite dense and supple with black berry, prune and earth with red currant and floral notes backed with firm citrusy acids, very saline and long in the finish. This is a big, solid wine that has opened up nicely over the past year, becoming softer, velvety and complex - just delicious! It will accompany steaks, chops and burgers, a daube niçoise, tagines and full flavored cheeses. It's a fabulous value for drinking over the next five years. David Lillie
50% Clairette, 25% Roussanne, 25% Viognier, always organically farmed, wild yeast fermentation, aged in enamel vat. Subtle aromas of dried pear, lime-flower and stone. Ripe pear, peach, stone, herbal and citrus flavors on the palate. This is a bit brighter and more balanced than the 2015 - really a delicious "food" wine that will pair with a wide variety of full-flavored fish and shellfish dishes, white meats, Asian cuisines and goat cheeses.
From 80% Grenache with Syrah and Mourvedre, grown on gravelly limestone terraces, always farmed organically, whole-cluster fermention and aged in concrete vats. Dany and Carole Chastan have made another superb Vacqueyras in 2016, a bit brighter than the opulent 2015 version, showing dark black/red color and bright aromas of blackberry, black olive and licorice with plum skin, garrigue, violet and bitter chocolate. This young wine is showing deep black fruits with firm acidity and terrific length with chalky mineral notes, earth, citrus and olive. This will be fantastic with grilled foods this summer and will improve over the next few years - drink happily until 2030. Highly recommended and a great value! David Lillie
This beautiful Cotes du Rhone from Pablo Hocht at Creve Coeur is made from 60 to 70 year-old vines of Grenache, with an interesting mix of semi-carbonic and traditional fermentations with whole-cluster and de-stemmed grapes. The wine shows aromas of ripe strawberry and cherry liqueur with garrigue and meaty notes. The palate is deep and ripe with lush cherry and berry fruits, earth and spice - supple and round with good length of sappy black fruits and firm acidity. This is a perfect match for grilled foods this summer served cool - it's a lovely wine and a great value! David Lillie
The Creve Coeur "Coucou" is a beautiful direct-press rosé made with old vines of 60% Grenache and 40% Cinsault. THe wine shows a lovely pale pink/orange color with floral aromas of candied strawberry and cherry fruit. The palate is silky and elegant with nice density of raspberry fruit with hints of melon and citrus, finishing with mineral flavors and refreshing acidity. This is a lovely wine at a great price! David Lillie
(From 60 to 70 year-old vines in "Le Planis," 80% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre) The 2016 Creve Coeur Sablet has all the elements we love in sothern Rhone wines: organic/biodynamic farming, old school fermentation in foudre and concrete, stem inclusion. Dark-toned, nearly heady aromatically, with black and blue fruits, lavender, blackberry, cherry pit on the nose. Dense purple robe. Plum, cassis, blackberry, black pepper and garrique on the palate. Real sense of the structural elements from the stems and limestone soils. Medium tannins and good poise for a decidedly southern wine. Long finish. Good energy for the concentration with a fine core of minerality within. Fabulous with pan-roasted lambchops and sheep's milk cheese. Delicious now, but should gain in complexity with time in the bottle. John McIlwain
Pablo Hocht of Domaine de Creve Coeur has 3 hectares of 60+ year-old vines in Seguret on sandy limestone marl soils, 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvedre. As with his lovely Sablet, the Seguret is certified biodynamic, fermented slowly with wild yeasts with the stems included. Aging is partly in one to five year-old barriques, partly in vat. In other words, great farming and old-fashioned winemaking, similar to that of the Gonons in Saint-Joseph. The 2016 Seguret shows a deep red/black color and aromas of ripe blackberry, black cherry and red currant, with earth, garrigue and cocoa - dark and rich but with good freshness. The palate is dense and round with a supple, grainy texture with ripe blackberry and black plum, showing the high percentage of Mourvedre, with hints of chocolate, citrus and provencal herbs. The finish is long with cool acidity and earthy black fruits. Serve this beautiful Seguret a bit cool after a decant of a few hours or cellar five to ten years. Great with stews and tagines, grilled meats and game. David Lillie
After losing much of their crop to frost in 2016, Alice and Olivier De Moor purchased grapes from friends in the south - Clairette and Grenache Blanc from Emile Heredia in the Languedoc and Viognier from Gérald Oustric in the Ardeche to produce this lovely "Melting Potes."
(On Sale through 6/9 Was $16.99)"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
What a great replacement to the Vieille Ferme Blanc! A blend of Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Viognier, this wine is a great example of affordable wines showing respect to the terroir with great minerality expressions. Biodynamically and organically farmed, the grapes are co-fermented slowly in stainless steel tanks using only native yeast. The wine displays summery white peach, pear and lemon notes with saline undertones. With good acidity and minerality, the wine has a nice finish with a pretty texture. A great value to say the least, pair this wine with light fares, such as fish, salad or grilled meat, or drink it by itself! Caroline Coursant
"Patou" is a vineyard in the southern portion of Cornas with vines planted from the 1920s to the 1990s on granite soils. The grapes are mostly de-stemmed, fermentations are with wild yeasts and the wine ages for approximately 2 years in 3 to 7 year-old barrels. While we don't like using other people's notes, we love what our friend John Livingstone-Learmonth wrote about this wine: "dark red robe. The nose is grilled, meaty, has a primal nature, real entrails in the glass, with pine, basil. The palate also gives pine woven into its plump blackcurrant content, and a broad, rounded mass. The tannins are ripe, supple, well entered. This is full-blooded, STGT (wine of terroir) Cornas, big on character, for the aficionados. It goes well long. Stand back: a freight train is coming! 13.5° alc." While it's quite impressive now, best to wait a few years then drink until 2035.
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. "Carlina" 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. Bright pale gold color, with aromas of spiced pear, anis, lemon peel and almond. The palate is round and ripe but nicely balanced, really showing the Roussanne with lemon confit, pear, hay and herbal flavors, with stone and mineral notes. This is quite delicious and complex, perfect with fish in sauce, Asian foods, chicken and pork dishes and full-flavored cheeses. David Lillie
Thomas Finot, who is resurrecting forgotten vineyards and varieties in the Isère, is also making brilliant wines from his tiny family vineyard in Crozes-Hermitage. He has 1.8 hectare of old vines in Larnage on a hillside with granite and limestone subsoils under interesting soils of white clay (kaolin). It's a great terroir, and the Cuvée Claude, homage to Thomas' uncle, is a superb Crozes from old vines showing a deep red/black color and elegant aromas of pure black fruits with hints of graphite, earth, bitter chocolate, menthol and clove. The palate is dense but not heavy with blackberry and red currant fruit, showing a bit of oak with citrus, mineral and pure fruits in the long finish. Delicious now, the wine will benefit from 4 to 6 hours of decanting, or cellar for a few years then enjoy until 2030. David Lillie
This is a lovely traditional Gigondas - The fermentation is with whole-clusters and aging is in concrete vats and old barrels, the blend is approximateley 80 - 85% Grenache with Syrah and Mourvedre. The aromas are quite pretty, showing ripe cassis, strawberry and black cherry with hints of violet, spice and garrigue. The palate shows peppery ripe fruit, cassis and strawberry, with earth, spice and citrus. This is drinking well now and will be a great accompaniment to pork or lamb chops and anything grilled this summer. Serve a bit cool.
Always one of our favorite expressions of Crozes-Hermitage, Alain Graillot's 2016 is lovely example of the elegant side of the appellation. The nose is effusive and offers a wide array of floral, savory, and fruit notes. Think violets, pastilles, black raspberry, baking spices, and grilled meats. The mid-weight palate is generous on the attack with ripe, brambly hedgefruit, black plum, and cherry pit flavors with hints of black pepper and sneaky structure on the nicely mineral back end. This has plenty of framework for the supple fruit and should improve over 5-10 years. John McIlwain
This well-known family estate produces excellent Tavel from certified organic vineyards and includes Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, Clairette, Picpoul, Bourboulenc and Mourvedre! The 2017 Lafond Tavel is a lovely wine - fairly full-bodied as Tavel Rosé tends to be, but with nice freshness and very pretty fruit. The aromas are tart cherry and raspberry with citrus peel, peach and rose. The palate is round and supple with cherry and strawberry fruit, with citrus and mineral notes that linger on the long finish with refreshing acidity. Sip this smooth and delicious rosé by itself or serve with Salade Nicoise and grilled foods. DL
Domaine de Marcoux farms about 18 ha in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. There is a wide range of soil types from sandy soils in Charbonnières, to red clay and galets in L’Arnesque and Les Bouquets, to limestone and marl in Les Esquirons and Beaurenard, to red clay and gravel in Gallimardes, Les Serres and Les Plagnes. They grow mainly Grenache, with an average vine age of 50 years old, with smaller amounts of Mourvedre, Syrah, and Cinsault. There is a four week wild-yeast vinification with minimal extraction followed by aging in cement vats and large barrels. The 2015 Marcoux shows a dense garnet/black color with meaty blackberry and black cherry liqueur with floral, spice and pepper. The palate is dense and sappy, quite supple and ripe with bright red currant and berry fruit that is lifted by firm acidity and that continues in the long well structured finish. As with all the 2015 Châteauneufs, the lovely fruit makes this delicious now, but three to five years of aging will really open the wine which should drink well for 15 to 20 years. This is a wine with great character and authenticity, well done Domaine de Marcoux! David Lillie
From 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah on limestone with sandy clay soils, organic cultivation. The 2015 "2 Monardes" shows a deep garnet color and ripe cherry and plum aromas with garrigue and violet and hints of blueberry from the Syrah. There is supple, lush fruit on the palate - black cherry, blackberry and red currant with garrigue and spice flavors and good balancing acidity. Drinking well now this supple and delicious Rhône red will go beautifully with grilled foods, stews and tagines and anything on the barbecue this summer.
This is a beautiful Viognier from our friend Jean-Pierre Monier in the hills near Saint-Desirat in Saint-Joseph. A true "garagiste" Jean-Pierre's tiny estate produces sensational Saint-Josephs and three Vins de Pays that are truly delicious. The 2016 Viognier shows a bright pale bronze color and elegant, delicate aromas of white flowers, dried pear, stone, orange peel and almond, really quite pretty. The palate is stylish and light, with good density ad length, with pear, citrus, tea and mineral flavors; the finish is long with lemon, pear and stone flavors lingering on the tongue. This is an elegant and food friendly Viognier that will accompany grilled fish with herbs, chicken in sauce and mild cheeses - and it's perfect sipped by itself... David Lillie
Domaine Pélaquié makes this lovely Tavel rosé from young vines of Cinsault and Grenache. The wine shows a deep pink color with lush aromas of tart cherry, raspberry and red currant with violet, citrus peel and spice. The palate is deep and ripe but nicely balanced with bright acidity, showing black cherry, ripe raspberry, brown spice, citrus and mineral flavors, with a nice supple finish. This will accomany grilled tuna, chicken and burgers this summer as well as salads and cheeses.
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
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
From a one-half hectare parcel of 60 year-old vines in "Les Rivoires" on the lower slope in Tournon, a cool, late-ripening terroir with clay, sand and stones over firm granite. Aged 12 months, 30% foudre, 70% 2 to 5 year-old barrels. Although normally overshadowed by the Rousset's superb Crozes "les Picaudieres," the 2015 Saint-Joseph is a great wine of terroir and one of the better Saint-Josephs we've tasted from this vintage. The wine shows a dark black/red color with deep aromas of blackberry and blueberry liqueur with plum, earth and smoke - quite ripe but with nice brightness as well. The palate is quite dense and supple with ripe black fruits and hints of blueberry, dark chocolate, black olive and roast meats which continue in the long finish with pronounced mineral flavors and firm acidity. The Rousset Saint-Joseph is normally somewhat austere and tightly structured when young, but the 2015 will be quite delicious as a young wine if decanted for a few hours. Despite the more forward aspect, there is plenty of structure here for aging, best perhaps 2020 to 2030. David Lillie
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. 2015 is an excellent vintage in the northern Rhone with great ripeness balanced by some rain before harvest. The Rousset 2015 Crozes-Hermitage shows a deep black/purple color with deep aromas of blackberry and blueberry liqueur with hints of earth, bitter chocolate and musk. The palate is dense but brightened by firm acidity with black fruits, licorice, earth and mineral flavors. Black olive and red currant emerge with aeration, really lovely. This is a delicious Syrah from great terroir that will accompany grilled foods, stews, tagines and full-flavored cheeses over the next 5 to 8 years. 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 earthy 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
From 60 to 90 year-old Marsanne 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 again in 2016 and is one of the finest white wine values in the store!