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Amphores 2021 Condrieu "La Côte"
(Arrives 5/16) The Domaine des Amphores Condriueu is 100% massale-selection Viognier from 0.5 hectare on poor granite-based soils at 250 metres on La Côte at Chavanay. The 2021 La Côte has a pale yellow gold robe. The nose offers a subtle and intriguing mélange of toasted nuts, salted pineapple, chestnut honey, pear, stone and a hint of spice. The palate shades savory with a granitic spine and roasted peach, and green almond flavors on a sleek and mineral palate. There’s a pleasing phenolic, stony bitterness and freshness closing out the finish, with teriffic length. This is a less exotic and exuberant expression, but perfect for the table—think skate with brown butter, halibut or roasted chicken with fricasséed morels!
Amphores 2021 IGP des Collines Rhodaniennes Syrah "Les Iris"
(Arrives Mar 7th) From 100% Syrah grown on decomposed granit soils in Chavanay, just outside the Saint-Joseph zone, tended organically since planting, in the early 90's, and now certified Biodynamic as well. The 2021 "Les Iris" Syrah shows the brighter, pretty fruit and slightly lower alcohol of this low-yielding and cooler vintage in the Northern Rhone. The wine shows bright aromas of blackberry and blueberry with hints of stone, mint, smoke and violet, quite fresh and pretty. The palate is balanced and elegant, with cool acidity and lush blackberry and black raspberry fruit, with a fresh earthy finish with mineral, citrus and ripe red and black fruit flavors. Terrific length and depth for a wine at this price. This is a very versatile wine to serve cool with grilled chicken, pork and full-flavored cheeses or to sip by itself, slightly chilled. It's an authentic and delicious wine and a great value! David Lillie
Balazu des Vaussières 2017 Vin de France Cuvée Hysope
For lovers of natural wines - The new Rouge from Balazu des Vaussieres is the Cuvée Hysope, recently bottled after a brief passage in wood, then four years aging in tank. It's from 50% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 20% Carignan and 10% Cinsault, grown primarily in Tavel with additional vines in Roquemaure, nearby. The wine needs 1 - 2 hours of aeration (after it's four years in vat) then shows lovely black cherry, plum, violet, citrus peel and earth. The palate shows firm acidity and a dense earthy texture with ripe cherry, red currant and licorice with herbal and citrus notes. The finish is long and complex with earthy red fruits, citrus and brown spice. This is a beautiful living wine which will be fun to taste over many days, recorked in the fridge. Ten years of cellaring should be interesting...
Bonnefond 2020 Côte-Rôtie Colline de Couzou
The 2020 Bonnefond "Colline de Couzou" is 80% on northern sector schist in Rozier, Côte Rozier and Les Rochains, 20% southern sector loose granite from Tupin, Coteaux de Semons. "dark red; licorice, black cherry airs in an upright nose, has a clear tone, some blueberry mystery. The attacks strikes well - good dark fruits line the palate, are fresh, purposeful, carry depth. It holds well, the length good, the finale lip smacking. Its tannins come forward, are noticeable and ripe. 14°. “It’s silky, has bel balance,” C Bonnefond. (drinkrhone) Drink over the next 20 years.
Clos du Joncuas 2016 Gigondas Arrives Mar 1st
(Tasted January 2023: Lovely nose, perfect balance, great finish, more structured than the 2015, hold a few more years) 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. The 2016 is another beautiful Gigondas from the Clos du Joncuas, perhaps with less fat and density than the 2015 but quite elegant and more Burgundian in style. The aromas sing of black cherry liqueur, licorice, black olive and garrigue; the palate is dense and focused with blackberry, cherry, black olive, bitter chocolate and earth with nice sappy length with firm acidity. Drinking well now, decant if possible, or hold for five years, then drink until about 2035. David Lillie
Clos du Joncuas 2019 Gigondas Rosé
This is a beautiful Gigondas Rosé from our organic friends at Clos du Joncuas. Pretty bright pink/orange color, aromas of raspberry, tart cherry, blood orange, peach skin and rose. Full palate with silky raspberry, peach, citrus and mineral flavors and firm acidity, beatifully balanced and refreshing. Long finish with tart cherry, peach, earth, and citrusy acids. This gorgeous rosé is still young – it should open up nicely over the next two to three years. It's elegant and delicious now and very food-friendly – serve with grilled fish and white meats, salade nicoise, vegetarian dishes and Provençal foods. A great rosé to enjoy all year-round!
Clos du Joncuas 2020 Vacqueyras La Font de Papier (4/18)
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 2020, more elegant than the opulent 2019 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, stews and tagines and will develop nicely over the next 10 - 15 years. Highly recommended and a great value! David Lillie
Clos du Joncuas 2021 Côtes-du-Rhône Villages Séguret Blanc
(50% Clairette, with Roussanne and Marsanne, always organically farmed, wild yeast fermentation, aged in enamel vat.) This unique Rhone white shows subtle aromas of dried pear, peach, citrus and stone. The palate is dense and well-structured with flavors of citrus peel, white fruits, stone, hay and almond, a hint of anise. This has nice brightness, is not as heavy as the previous few vintages. This will accompany a bouillabaisse, full-flavored fish dishes, squid, octopus, roast chicken with herbs, full-flavored cheeses and patés. With aeration the wine becomes more aromatic, really lovely! This is a fabulous value and highly recommended...
Clos du Joncuas 2021 Gigondas Rosé
This is a beautiful Gigondas Rosé from our organic friends at Clos du Joncuas. Pretty bright pink/orange color, aromas of raspberry, tart cherry, blood orange, peach skin and rose, a bit fresher and brighter than the last two vintages. Full, crisp palate with pretty red fruits and firm acidity. Long finish with tart cherry, peach, earth and citrusy acids. A bit lighter and better balanced than the 2019 and 2020, and very young - it should open up nicely over the next two years. It's delicious now though, and very food-friendly – serve with grilled fish and white meats, salade nicoise, vegetarian dishes and Provençal foods. A great rosé to enjoy all year-round!
Gripa 2011 Saint-Peray Les Figuiers
This little-known wine from Bernard and Fabrice Gripa is one of the most delicious and fascinating wines of the Northern Rhône. From 50 to 60 yeal-old vines in Saint-Peray, 60% Roussanne and 40% Marsanne. "Fine yellow robe. Aniseed and hazelnut tally well together on the front nose; peach and acacia flowers are present, with a typical Saint-Péray tang of saltiness. The palate offers an intricate mix of fruit and more substantial, nutted flavours. It expands steadily on the later palate, has good length and gives a tickle of late acidity. It needs time to fuse – is not an obvious wine. Has something of a red wine in its make-up and late grounding." Livingston-Learmonth in DrinkRhône Tasted May 25, 2023 at CSW: The wine is showing beautifully, with secondary aromas joining the fresh white and yellow fruits. Perfect acidity, silky texture, very mineral and long. A great match for a full-bodied fish or poultry dish, just delicious. Drink over the next 3 - 5 years.
Jaboulet 2018 Hermitage La Chapelle
This wine is a 100% Syrah grape. Hermitage La Chapelle is a blend of terroirs, including the prestigious hillsides of Meal and Bessards. Each one provides its own aromatic characteristics. 40-60+ year old vines from the granite soils of Les Bessards and the limestone of Le Méal on the Hermitage hill – a magical combination of terroir. Completely converted to biodynamics in 2006. Incredibly low yields of 15-20 hl/ha. Aged in French oak (20% new)
Levet, Bernard 2020 Côte-Rôtie Journaries
The beautiful 2020 Levet "Journaries" is 60% from 70 to 80 year-old vines on the west part of La Landonne, 40% younger vines from Côte Brune, Côte Blonde, Côte Rozier. "...full, attractive robe; the nose is well poised, carries a discreet perfume, an air of black cherry, with oak touches, ground coffee beans. The palate gives ripe blue fruit, immediately engages, while the smooth tannins help its flow and length. This is serene flow wine, nothing hurried. It accumulates depth into the finish, with a compact depth on the aftertaste, the tannins within there. It is a freer run, more lithe wine than the Chavaroche." (drinkrhone)
Lionnet 2020 Cornas Terre Brulée
From 1960s Syrah on Mazards, 1940s Syrah on Combe, also Chaillot, Pied la Vigne, Chataignier/Saint Pierre, 2-3 week whole bunch fermentation. Aged 50% 600-litre, 50% 228-litre 2-8 year oak casks for 15-16 months. "...dark robe; the nose is sweet toned, comes with blackberries, herbs, smoke, licorice. The palate is marked by coffee-mocha, is blue-fruited, with kick late on, from within, iron a-plenty. Its suave tendencies are very typical of 2020, it has coated tones, agreeable, squeezy gras, pings of licorice-salt through it, southern links, black olives, late crunch. It’s very genuine Cornas, its juice running well on a zig zag late on, lively tones, zip, a good do. “It’s less muscled than 2019,” Ludovic Izérable. (drinkrhone)
Manissy 2021 Tavel Tête de Cuvée Rosé
Produced since 1915 this is the historic cuvée of Chateau de Manissy, retaining the ancient label and the ancient methods of production, now enhanced by Biodynamic farming. Similar in style to the Tavel 'Vintage" at Domane L'Anglore, the wine is a blend of Grenache, Clairette and Cinsault that undergoes a 24 to 48 hour maceration on the skins and then a cool fermentation with wild yeasts for about 2 weeks. The wine ages in old barrels for 9 to 12 months. This is a true Rosé of gastronomy that will drink beautifully for ten years or more. Showing a slightly darker hue than the 2020 vintage, it exudes bright aromas of pomegranate, red flowers and spice with a silky, cool palate and a light red wine feel, with flavors of red currant, tart cherry and saline minerals. "Can live 10 to 20 years if well cellared, drink with melon & cured ham salad, grilled meats, magret de canard (duck breasts), veal meatballs, white meats, chicken breast, guinea fowl with mushrooms & chestnuts" says the estate, or just sip by itself on a summer evening...
Pierre André 2019 Châteauneuf-du-Pape
(CSW Price $49.99!) The superb 2019 Pierre André CDP Rouge is 90% Grenache with Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Vaccarèse, Counoise, Muscadin and Picpoul. Some parcels are over 100 years old, with the average vine age around 65 years. From drinkrhone: "handsome dark red robe; the nose has depth from within, a really inviting aroma of finely sweet plums, with some cedar, gently perfumed notes around them. It’s a very good start. The palate runs with a stately roll of red stone fruits, lovely engagement thanks to its stylish gras, its spherical shape most appealing. The balance is good. This is Châteauneuf of terroir, no make-up added, is a very bonny Grenache-inspired wine, has smoky, tobacco, menthol tones late on. Much harmony here, not sure what else one could demand from it - way to go, Jacqueline!" Drink 2025 - 2050.
Pierre Andre 2019 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Magnum
The superb 2019 Pierre André CDP Rouge is 90% Grenache with Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Vaccarèse, Counoise, Muscadin and Picpoul. Some parcels are over 100 years old, with the average vine age around 65 years. From drinkrhone: "handsome dark red robe; the nose has depth from within, a really inviting aroma of finely sweet plums, with some cedar, gently perfumed notes around them. It’s a very good start. The palate runs with a stately roll of red stone fruits, lovely engagement thanks to its stylish gras, its spherical shape most appealing. The balance is good. This is Châteauneuf of terroir, no make-up added, is a very bonny Grenache-inspired wine, has smoky, tobacco, menthol tones late on. Much harmony here, not sure what else one could demand from it - way to go, Jacqueline!" Drink 2025 - 2050.
Pierre Andre 2020 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Magnum
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, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Vaccarèse, Counoise, Muscadin and Picpoul. Some parcels are over 100 years old, with the average vine age around 65 years. Tasted with Jacqueline in January, the wine was quite remarkable, showing a relatively light red/garnet color with lovely aromas of tart cherry, red currant, rose and violet. The plate was supple, not heavy, with complex red fruits, earth and minerals with silky fresh tannins, finishing with terrific length of red currant and berries. "Un gourmandise" said Jacqueline and we couldn't agree more - but obviously built to age as well. David Lillie
The 2021 Rousset Saint-Joseph is from a one-half hectare parcel of 35 to 70 year-old vines in "Les Rivoires" on the lower slope in Tournon, a cool, very steep, late-ripening terroir with clay, sand and stones over firm granite. Aged 12 months, 30% foudre, 70% 1 to 5 year-old barrels.This is prime Saint-Joseph terroir (the Gonons have vines in "Rivoires" as well) giving a dense well-structured wine that is enjoyable young, as most of the grapes are de-stemmed, and that will drink well over the next ten+ years. The 2021 vintage has produced a brighter more floral style than the 2020, with a nicely balanced 13% alcohol. We love the review in drinkrhone: "quite a dark red; this has a country style aroma, wild blackberry, licorice, black pepper, is genuine. The palate gives a cool stream of black cherry fruit, is tasty and natural, with appealing purity, feels hand made, and is silky, elegant on the finish. It’s very fine, very bonny, aromatic St Jo, the balance good - most joli it is." Yes, most joli it is - quite delicious now, but put a few away to drink in 8 to 10 years as well. David Lillie
Rousset 2021 Crôzes-Hermitage Marsanne Vieilles Vignes
This is an oustanding Marsanne from vines planted in 1933 and 1965, aged in 10% new, 90% 1 - 3 year-old 400 liter barrels, 8 months on the lees, no batonnage. The 2021 Vieilles Vignes is an outstanding wine showing elegant aromas of white peach and plum, lemon zest, stone and oak; the palate is beautifully structured with the density, mineral flavors and firm acidity of the low yielding 2021 vintage. The finish is lovely with stone, white and yellow fruits, citrus zest, long and very elegant, really showing the old vines. Open well in advance or cellar 3 to 5 years, allowing the oak to fully integrate, then enjoy until 2035. (About 80 cases made) Pair this beautiful wine with full-flavored fish and chicken dishes and goat cheeses, or as the Roussets suggest, with rock fish, veal marengo and mushroom risotto! David Lillie