Les Picaudieres in winter.

Restocking the Northern Rhône...

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Lost during the epic struggle of the holidays, new shipments arrived from two of our favorite northern Rhône producers, Domaine Rousset in Crozes-Hermitage and Domaine Barou in Saint-Joseph. We've finally gotten all the wines into the store and on the shelves and we're happy to report that there is some fabulous drinking to be found - and at very reasonable prices - among the new arrivals from these two relatively unknown, but over-achieving estates.

We first visited Robert and Stephane Rousset a few years ago at the suggestion of Jean Gonon who felt that they were the most "traditional" producer in Crozes. We had a chance to tromp through their vineyards last winter and can personally attest to the steep granite hillsides and the quality of the Rousset's vineyard work. The Rousset's parcels are in Erome, Gervans and Crozes and are all hillsides, predominantly granite, with some limestone. These are wines of terroir that bear more relation to Hermitage than to most modern Crozes coming from the flatlands. The 2011s are lovely wines that are drinking well in their youth and we urge you to try them.

We have been working with Marie-Agnès and Emmanuel Barou for many years now - they are lovely people and their vineyard work - organic since 1975 - is extraordinary. Their Vin de Pays are among the best values in everyday drinking on the planet, and their Condrieu and Saint-Joseph have superb purity of fruit and great mineral character due to their careful work in the vineyard. We especially recommend the 2012 Vin de Pays Syrah Cuvée des Vernes, from 35 year-old vines in Charnas - it has lush fruit balanced by bright acidity, just plain delicious!

Also note of few of our favorites from Levet, Texier and Garon that may soon disappear...

No Longer Available

Rousset 2012 Crozes-Hermitage Blanc

100% Marsanne from 50 to 90 year old vines, mainly on steep granite slopes in Erome ("Les Vedias" and "Tout"). This is an excellent vintage for the Crozes-Hermitage Blanc which shows subtle aromas of yellow fruits, citrus and stone. The palate is quite dense and a bit closed in its' youth — very mineral and saline with pear, citrus and stone. Elegant now but probably best in three to five years, serve with scallops, full flavored fish and chicken dishes, Asian foods. A real wine of terroir showing the acidity and density of granite and clay soils, and it's a great value!

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $18.99

Rousset 2011 Crozes-Hermitage Arrives 1/20

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 has beautiful aromas of blackberry and red currant, quite bright and deep with earth and hints of roast meats, really lovely. The palate is round and deep with blackberry, ripe cherry and bitter chocolate with earth and animal notes. Lovely red fruits linger in the long finish. This is quite different from most "modern" Crozes-Hermitage, and has real terroir character due to the granite vineyards that the Roussets have always plowed, by horse or tractor. A "serious" and delicious wine at a great price!

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $18.99

Rousset 2011 Crozes-Hermitage Les Picaudières

Les Picaudières is 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 Picaudieres is "certainly better" than many Hermitage from the eastern part of the hill.) The 2011 is much more approachable than the superb 2009, showing ethereal aromas of black fruits, spice, bitter chocolate, violet and tobacco. The palate is quite deep and structured with elegant black fruits, earth, meat and garrigue flavors. Long, somewhat tannic finish. This is a beautifully old-fashioned Syrah that will drink best at 4 to 10 years of age but will drink well young with time open or decanting. Highly recommended!

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $25.99

Rousset 2011 Saint-Joseph

From 60 year-old vines in "Les Rivoires" on the lower slope in Tournon, granite soils. Aged 12 months, 30% foudre, 70% 2 to 5 year-old barrels. Gorgeous, cool blackberry and blueberry fruit, very elegant with hints of musk and menthol. Really pretty. The palate is medium-bodied with good acidity and length, red and balck fruits with citrus and earth. This wine will be superb served quite cool this summer, or hold for 5 to 8 years for a mature experience.

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $24.99

Barou 2012 Vin de Pays Colline Rhodanienn Viognier

From 15 year-old Viognier vines in Charnas, just outside the Condrieu AOC, always tended organically. Pale gold color, fabulous aromas of spice cake, tea, honeysuckle, apricot, lemon and caramel. The palate is full and ripe, but balanced with good acidity and mineral flavors. Great complexity of white and yellow fruits, spice and citrus with terrific length of citrus, tea, white fruits and stone. Forget those flabby Vin de Pays Viogniers from the south of France or (gasp) California, this is a serious wine that's insanely delicious and incredilbly cheap for the quality!

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $17.99

Barou 2012 Vin de Pays Syrah Cuvèe des Vernes

From 40 year-old Syrah vines in Charnay, just outside the Saint-Joseph AOC, always tended organically. A great success in 2012, the Cuvée des Vernes is simply delicious and much too easy to drink! Lovely Syrah aromas of blackberry and blueberry liqueur with hints of stone, citrus and smoke. The palate is supple, balanced and refreshing, with good acidity balancing the berry fruits in the finish. The Barou's great work in the vineyard really shows in this outstanding Vin de Pays. DL

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $13.99

Barou 2012 Saint-Joseph

Domaine Barou has been organic since the 1970s and also produces cherries, apricots and peaches. The Saint-Joseph vines are in Limony, on thin granit 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 2012 Saint-Joseph is a young wine that will benefit from decanting, or a day or two re-corked in the fridge. Deep red black color, minty blackberry fruit with pepper, bacon fat and blueberry emerging. The palate is well-structured, a bit tight, with blackberry, game and earthy flavors. This will need a few years to drink at its best and should develop nicely through 2023. But as always with Barou, the wine is delicious young and it's a steal at $20!

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $14.99

Texier 2010 Brezeme Domaine Pergaud Vieille Serine

Black/red color, aromas of black cherry, blackberry, violets, crushed stone, smoke and musk. Really quite elegant and intriguing. The palate is tight and mineral, dense but not at all heavy, with a great finish of chalky black fruits and slightly bitter acids. My guess is that this will need about 5 years to really open and should drink beautifully until at least 2030, when it will be an interesting comparison to the Gonon 2010 Saint-Joseph. Highly recommended!

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $34.99

Levet 2010 Côte-Rôtie La Chavaroche

Deep red/black color. Bright, very perfumed black fruits, violet, musk, citrus and menthol, with great purity and persistence. Ethereal and powerful. The palate is deep and firm with black fruit liqueur, raspberry, violet and saline minerals. Exceptionally long and firm in the finish, quite bright and focused. Enjoyable now for its youthful exuberance, best after 8 to 10 years. DL

"This is a vin de garde, a keeping wine, par excellence — it has the nobility of that. Tannins are well present and offer steel to the wine. From 2018. STGT (terroir) wine — lovely harmony in mid-palate. Drink until 2034-36" DrinkRhone.com

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $64.99

Garon 2011 Côte-Rôtie La Sybarine

From 25 year-old vines in Goutay and Mollard on the lower slopes of the Côte Blonde. Granite sub-soil with clay and pebbly sand topsoil. Aged 18 months in old barriques. La Sybarine, on 100% granite soils, is the most forward and open of the Garon Côte-Roties. This has lovely cherry and blackberry liqueur aromas with hints of spice and violets. The palate is ripe but with good acidity and lift, and with good underlying mineral character. A bit tight right now, but already quite delicious with lovely sweet fruit in the finish, this should open up nicely over the next few years and drink well until 2022. Great value! (Last 24 bottles, don't delay!)

 

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $36.99