Jean Gonon

Rhône Rumpus! New Arrivals From Domaine Pierre Gonon, Barou, Balthazar and Clape!

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New arrivals from Jean and Pierre Gonon are alway cause for excitement! The brothers Gonon seem to be doing everything right, from their amazing organic vineyard work, mostly by hand and by horse (the horse is getting a new barn this winter) to their impeccable vinifications and aging in 2 to 10 year-old barrels. They're delightful people whose pride in their work shows up in the character and quality of their wines. Arriving Wednesday are the  Vin de Pays "les Iles Feray" (actually all from vines in the St Joseph AOC), their superb Saint-Joseph Blanc "les Oliviers", one of the most distinctive whites of the Northern Rhône, and, for the first time, a Vin de France Chasselas (!), made from 80 year-old vines in the Trollat parcel.

In the same container are the 2011 Saint-Joseph and Vin de Pays Syrah "les Vernes" from Emmanuel and Marie-Agnes Barou. This traditional estate was converted to organic farming back in 1975 - their thoughtful vineyard work promotes living soils which contributes to the complexity of fruit and balance of their wines. A more "forward" style of winemaking than at Domaine Gonon gives a remarkably flamboyant and delicious Saint-Joseph that will drink well young and over the next 6 to 8 years. The Syrah Vin de Pays is particulary good in 2011 and is a sensational value!

Other Northern Rhône arrivals include: An insanely delicious Vin de Pays Syrah Sans Soufre from Franck Balthazar, one of the finest producers of traditional Cornas; tiny allocations from Auguste Clape (not inexpensive but 2010 is a great vintage for Cornas and the CDR and VDP 2011s are soft and delicious); and, a few bottles of 2009 Rostaing Cote Blonde, which is superb in this vintage...

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Barou 2011 Saint-Joseph

From 2 hectares of 15 to 40 year-old vines, mostly in Limony on decomposed granite. The Barou Saint-Joseph is lovely again in 2011 a fairly forward style much appreciated for drinking over the next five to ten years. Ripe blackberry and cherry-liqueur aromas with hints of smoky fat; the palate is soft and round with lush fruits that linger, with adequate, if not strong acidity. This is a traditional mixed-use farm, with cherries and apricots on the plateau, all of which are tended organically since 1975. There is fine work in the vineyards here with a special type of light plowing in order to preserve the life of the soil. The wines have an added dimension of fruit and mineral acids, giving them a bit of lift and freshness. The Barous are nice people quietly doing great work, making delicious wines at affordable prices.

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  • $18.99

Barou 2011 Vin de Pays Syrah Cuvèe des Vernes

From 40 year-old vines on plateau and slopes in Charnas. De-stemmed, aged in 4 and 5 year-old barrels. The 2011 is soft and supple and more forward than usual. The aromas are really lovely, black and blueberry fruit with floral and earthy notes. The palate is lush with round red fruits, but is balanced and light on its feet. Beautiful palate coating fruit on the finish, a simply delightful everyday red that's a sensational value – serve cool and enjoy! (The estate is certified organic since 1975!)

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  • $12.99

Balthazar 2011 Cotes-du-Rhône Sans Soufre

From young vines on decomposed granite just outside the Cornas AOC, organic methods, wild yeast fermentations. Franck Balthazar, who joined his father in 2002, is making beautful traditional wines in Cornas and has begun making a small quantity of delicious Cotes du Rhône Syrah. This is the bottling without added SO2 and it's a knockout! Beautful, quite complex aromas of crushed blackberry, with floral hints and a bit of earth. The palate is supple, quite velvety with ripe berrry fruits and a bit of spritzy CO2 to protect against oxidation. On the second day, this wine is really singing, with pure black fruits lifted by good acidity. This is completely delicious and highly recommended! (The "regular" cuvee, with 20mg/L of SO2 arrives later in December.)

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Rostaing 2009 Cote-Rotie Cote Blonde

“I am very happy – there is very belle structure and beaux tannins that are fine – a sublime expression of the Blonde,” R.Rostaing. Indeed, this is a great Côte-Rôtie, despite the extra weight in other wines of this vintage. Wait 5 years at least, drink until 2035...

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  • $157.99