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This is a great Cornas and certainly one of the best wines of this very good vintage in the Northern Rhône. Franck Balthazar is one of the few truly organic and natural producers in the region and, like the Gonons, he practices whole-cluster fermentations with wild yeasts and ages in old (5 years and older) large barrels. The "Chaillot" cuvée is from vines planted in 1914, with a small percentage from "Mazards" planted in 1960. There is an approximately 18 month elevage and the wine is bottle unfined and unfiltered with a small dosage of SO2. The 2015 shows old-vine intensity and terroir expression along with the beautiful ripeness of the vintage. The wine is a very deep red/black color with elegant aromas of blackberry and red currant liqueur with violet, pepper, roast meat and earth, The palate is intense and densely structured with mineral and black fruit flavors, black olive, graphite and licorice. Very elegant with perfect acidity and firm tannins with slightly bitter black fruits and mineral flavors in the long finish. This is a classic, unforced, unspoofilated Cornas that will age beautifully, best perhaps 2025 to 2040. Highly recommended. David Lillie The 2015 Chaillot from Balthazar displays the ripeness of the vintage, with pure black fruit and violet aromas, with hints of Malabar peppercorn, garrigue, and game. The densely-fruited palate offers flavors of blackberry, ripe plum, and cassis, with savory notes of meat and granitic spice enveloping a vibrant core of minerality. The interplay of pure fruit, bright acidity, and firm, ripe tannins bodes well for long aging. This should be magnificent with 7-10 years in the cellar. A truly beautiful Cornas! John McIlwain
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 abd 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
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
This wine is delicious and easy to drink, but it seems clear that it’s a baby, and will have a lot more to offer after a few more years in bottle. I’ve tasted it twice in recent months – the first time probably too soon after it had been shipped; last Friday it was much more open, complex, and appealing. We had last-minute guests, and I grilled butterflied lamb – the Champet was perfect with it (and the wine wowed our friends). It’s quite intensely aromatic – a fine combo of dark fruits and savory and stony scents. This all follows through on the palate, which is rich but not at all heavy. There’s a bit more tannin than in some modern examples (fermentation is with whole clusters), but there is also plenty of material to balance the tannin. The wine is not fined or filtered, and has just the right texture and sense of purity to underline this. It’s a very classic, old-school Côte Rôtie, not rustic, but certainly not polished or slicked-up with new wood. Champet is one of the only fundamentally unchanged domaines in the Northern Rhone, where apparently much is as it was when Emile Champet first bottled his Côte Rôtie in 1967. I think it’s a very cool thing that such a wine is still being made, and that we get to try it! Jamie Wolff
I don't normally think of Chateauneuf-du-Pape on Thanksgiving, but this elegant, relatively light-bodied version would be a brilliant choice for your hoilday meal. "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 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!
Aromas of night-blooming jasmine, almond flower, pear skin on the nose. Reine Claude, green almond, white honey on the medium rich palate. There's a good balance on minerality, freshness, and gras to the long supple finish. A lovely Condrieu! Drink and hold. John McIlwain
From vineyards below the magical hills of Condrieu, this is a balanced and graceful Syrah, made with a gentle extraction, and no new wood. It provides all the characteristics of classic northern Rhone Syrah, but without too much power or concentrated fruit. Perfectly medium bodied and great for fall meals.
This is a special red from Clos des Boutes, made from 100% Carignan. Medium bodied, with bright crushed berry fruit, and a touch of herbs/spice characteristic of Carignan. Served slighlty chilled, this is a lip-smacking and very fun wine to drink! Eben Lillie
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
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!
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
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
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.
Since its inception in 1992, Philippe and Véronique Grenier have practiced organic farming on their tiny estate in Chavanay, in the AOC Saint-Joseph just south of Condrieu. Their 2015 "Altitude 300" is a beautiful white Saint-Joseph made from 80% Roussanne and 20% Marsanne. The lovely aromas show the Roussanne, with hay, stone, pear, almond, brown spice and lime-flower. The palate is ripe, round and balanced showing stone, peach, apricot, citrus and dried herbs — really pretty, with saline acidity and white fruits lingering in the finish. This is an outstanding northern Rhone white to drink over the next 5 to 8 years and a superb value!
"Detour" is made from a blend of Roussane, Marsanne and Clairette from the Northern Rhone. The aromas are layered with white peach, nectarine and a hint of baking spice. The palate is supple and round with ample flavors of peach skin, ripe apricot, and zesty citrus balanced by a wonderful brightness and mineral quality from the Clairette. This wine was still delicious after being open for three days - not that we expect there to be too many half-finished bottles this vintage! Amanda Bowman
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
(From young vines, planted in the 90's, always organic, and from parcels of old vines, converted to organic, in Chavanay, below Condrieu) Philippe and Veronique Grenier have always farmed organically and now they have added biodynamic methods as well, bringing the quality even higher at this wonderful small estate. The 2015 Saint-Joseph shows a lovely melange of blackberry, black cherry and blueberry aromas with violet, rose, roast meat and earth. The palate is dense and complex with earth and mineral notes framing ripe black fruits with licorice citrus and spice. The finish is long with earthy black fruits and mineral flavors. This is a lovely combination of ripe complex fruits with earth and minerals, making it a superb food wine with a variety of grilled and roast meats, North African cuisine and full-flavored cheeses, not to mention "Caillottes." Along with Domaine Barou, winner of the 2015 CSW Best Value in Saint-Joseph!
"Les Mesanges" is a cuvée of Saint-Joseph made from organic grapes grown on the best terroir at Domaine des Amphores in Chavanay, aged 18 months in 600 liter barrels. The 2015 shows a deep black/red color that coats the glass with aromas of black raspberry liqueur, quite ripe, with violet, spice, black olive and bitter chocolate. The palate is lush and supple with black fruit liqueur, menthol, spice, earth and mineral flavors, quite intense but very bright, lifted by firm acidity and quite balanced at 12.5% alcohol. This is a pure and delicious Syrah, showing the great organic and biodynamic farming of Philippe and Veronique Grenier. Please decant or open well in advance if drinking now, best probably 2020 - 2025. David Lillie
"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.
A great Beaumes-de-Venise from Guy and Thomas Julien at La Ferme Saint-Martin. The estate has been working with organic methods for many years, with natural fermentations and minimal use of sulfur. The Costancia 2015 is from old vines of Grenache and Syrah grown at 1,500 ft in Suzette, on limestone/clay soils. Deep red/black color. Blackberry aromas with red currant, earth and bitter chocolate lifted with cool menthol and floral notes. The palate is deep and ripe with blackberry, coca, citrus and earth with firm acidity and ripe tannins. This is a beautiful Rhône red to serve now with grilled foods, stews and tagines - or hold for 5 years then drink until 2032, as this will age beautifully. A fantastic value and highly recommended. David Lillie
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 grilled. 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. "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
Guy Jullien at the Ferme Saint-Martin is one of the pioneers of organic and natural winemaking in the southern Rhône, and his great work continues under his son Thomas. Made from hand-harvested young vines of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault, the 2016 "Romanins" has deep, complex aromas of crushed blackberries with red currant, violet, licorice and spice. The palate shows dense red and black fruits, with strawberry, earth and mineral notes - more structured than the 2015, but remains balanced and pretty, with bright acidity, good length and lovely fruit lingering in the finish. This lovely, great value Côtes-du-Rhône will be perfect with a stew or steak, or anything grilled. Serve slightly chilled. (Bottled with minimal SO2, not fined or filtered.)
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!
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
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.
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
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
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
This is a lovely expression of pure Roussanne from our friend Jean-Pierre Monier in Saint-Joseph. The aromas are delicate and complex, showing green tea, mint, hay, citrus and apricot/peach fruit. The palate is pure and stony with citrus, hay, quince and pear with a smoky, mineral hint at the finish.This is a lovely aperitif or serve with fish in sauce, goat cheeses, mild Asian foods. DL
This delicious Rhone red from the biodynamic Oratoire Saint-Martin is mostly Grenache and Syrah, with Mourvedre, Counoise, Cinsault, Vaccarese, Musacadin and Terret Noir grown on limestone/clay soils. The wine shows a pretty melange of raspberry and cherry aromas with hints of licorice and brown spice. The palate is bright and balanced with tart cherry and berry fruits, with surprising depth, in a lively refreshing frame. Simply delicioius! Serve cool with pork and chicken dishes, charcuterie and mild cheeses.
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.
Jacqueline André made another superb Châteauneuf-du-Pape in 2013, more enjoyable as a young wine than the firmer-structured 2010, but the wine will age beautifully as well. The aromas are typically ripe and complex, showing berry liqueur, smoke, garrigue, cassis, earth and stone. The palate shows deep, round black fruits, earth, tobacco, spice and citrus notes with tannins that are firm and round. This is a lovely CDP to drink now, with aeration, that shows the great farming and traditional winemaking of the André family and is highly recommended. Hold for ten to twenty years for a mature experience. (Organic since 1980 (one of the first in the AOC) and Biodynamic since 1992. The blend 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.) 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
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
Viticulture in Brezeme, on the primarily limestone marl south facing steep hillsides, dates back to Roman times. Records from the early 1800's indicate plantings of Syrah from vines in Hermitage and Cornas. Eric Texier has been instrumental in reviving the vineyards, especially with his Domaine du Pergaud Vieilles Vignes and this lovely Syrah from younger vines. The 2015 Cotes du Rhone Brezeme is a big, well structured wine that retains the freshness and lively character always present in this cuvee. The wine was vinified naturally, without added sulfur. The wine shows vivid aromas of blackberry and black cherry with hints of musk, blueberry, earth and citrus. The palate is deep and textured with earthy black fruits, bitter chocolate and mineral flavors, quite pure and long. Serve now, slightly chilled, with grilled meats, tagines and full-flavored cheeses, or cellar fo five to ten years or more. (As Eric notes below, open the day before, taste, recork, for best results if drinking now.) Lovely wine! DL Notes from Eric Texier: "The 2015 Brezeme is as expected. Tannic, more vintage than terroir driven, needs time. Very similar to 2005 in my book. I still find the later a bit young and closed right now. I hope people will give it a chance to age a bit. At least until this fall, to recover from the mise. Or open it the day before drinking. Bottles open the day before show much better than at opening. Huge potential of ageing."