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The Amphores "7 Lieux" is 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 are certified Biodynamic as well, bringing the quality even higher at this wonderful small estate. 50 - 60% de-stemmed, aged 50% in vat, 50% in 2 to 10 year-old demi-muid and foudre. The 2020 "7 Lieus" is a more subtle and earthy wine than the very ripe 2019, showing pretty aromas of violet, black raspberry, plum, a bit smoky and backed with blood and mineral notes. The palate shows a classic Northern Rhone backbone of iron and earth flavors with red currant, black raspberry and black olive. The finish shows firm acidity, mineral flavors and sappy, lingering olive and berry fruit. This will improve with time in the cellar, but is delicious now as well for its authentic and old-fashioned Syrah character. David Lillie
The 2018 Bonnefond "Les Rochains" is 100% Syrah (oldest 1955) from full south facing 1 hectare on schist, mica schist soils on Les Rochains. the wine shows "dark red. The bouquet is firm, airs of tart, baked bread, red cherry, herbal notes. It will round out and offer potentially large aromas, deep raspberry in the mix. The palate holds well entrenched content, has a beating heart, is solid, grounded with touches of mineral towards the finish. It sustains well, is nourishing, extended, a little scaled. It’s very complete, carries Pinot hints." (drinkrhone.com) Delicious as a young wine, this can be cellared for another 20 years.
100% Grenache (75 to 95 year-old vines) from yellow sand with a little clay on 1.7 hectares on Guigasse in the northeast of CDP near Pignan. Organic farming and old-school winemaking with 2-3 week whole bunch concrete vat vinification, natural yeasts only, minimal extraction, aged in 4-10 year-old 600-litre oak casks for 24 months, bottled unfined, unfiltered. "...full, dark robe; the bouquet carries weighted sweetness, a dense aroma of cooked black fruits, a blackberry jam resemblance. The palate is also ample, immediate on its fat roll of mulberry, large red berry fruited content, with flexible tannins adding a layer late on, the aftertaste gourmand, lip smacking. This reflects the sunny clime of the year more than the other two St Théodoric 2019s. The flavour is deeply set, persistent here, a real basket of abundance, mixed berries. It’s assertive, but just avoids over concentration, a line of menthol near the close helpful, with oak in the game there. From 2024, decant it, until 2044-46" drinkrhone.com
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! -EL
70% Grenache with Carignan, Syrah and Mourvèdre, grown in sandy soils near Gigondas, always farmed organically, hand harvested, whole-cluster wild yeast fermentation, aged in cement vat, un-fined, unfiltered. The 2019 shows a bright garnet/black color with aromas of plum and violet that segue into tart cherry and raspberry. The palate shows nice density of lovely cherry and berry fruits that are bright and lively but nicely ripe and concentrated as well. Serve cool with grilled foods this spring and summer or with a pork stew or Morrocan tagine. Delicious now but will benefit from 3 - 5 years of cellaring.
This blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mouvedre comes from old vines in “Le Planis,” planted just after the Second World War in the Southern Rhone. Creve Coeur’s Pablo Hocht created the Domaine in 2010, with a commitment to organic and Biodynamic farming. His recent vintages have been rich and ripe: just what one wants in Southern Rhone red. The wine undergoes a four-week whole-cluster vinification with wild yeasts followed by 12 months in used barrels. An inky delight in the glass, the aromatics are hedonistic and bold, full of black fruit, olive and smoke. The palate opens up to a generous gift of cassis, dried fruit, mint, and black pepper. The grippy tannins provide a good energy to the minerals at play, and it gives a peak into what this wine will look like in a few years’ time. Surprisingly structured so perfect with grilled meat, tagines, reblochon or other soft cheeses.
The young Pablo Hocht makes beautiful wines at his Biodynamic estate in Seguret (southern Rhone) - his "Rosé du Coucou" is a refreshing direct-press rosé made with old vines of 60% Grenache and 40% Cinsault. The 2021 shows a very pale rose skin color with floral aromas of raspberry, peach, citrus and stone. The palate is very light, silky and elegant with subtle raspberry fruit with hints of melon, orange rind, spice and earth, finishing with nice length of mineral flavors and refreshing acidity. This is a very lovely wine at a great price!
Fabrice Dodane is the winemaker and owner of Saint Pierre in the Jura. Les Dos d'Chat is his negoc project - and it's becoming very popular. Created in order to supplement dwindling Jura harvests (a result of climate change in the region), these wines are delicious and more available than the Saint Pierre wines... though still pretty rare. This GG is Gamay from the Beaujolais.
(Arrives 6/14) 2019 is a great vintage for the beautiful Ferrand Cuvée Antique - 90% Grenache from 85 year-old vines just outside Chateauneuf-du-Pape, with 5% Syrah, 2% Cinsault, 2% Mourvèdre, 1% Grenache blanc, Clairette blanche. From DrinkRhone: "dark red; the bouquet has a deep setting of plum fruit with a crushed nutshell air above, is locked up, plenty of potential on board to expand and diversify. The attack is well sturdy, agreeably thorough, covers the ground well, sustaining into a lingering close, the juice lasting well. The Grenache plum fruit has verve and a fluid intensity, does a really good job, while the tannins are fresh, too." This drinks like good CDP but at half the price, enjoy over the next ten to fifteen years.
The Gilles Cornas (Chaillot) is mostly from 40+ year-old vines on Les Grands Murs and Les Terrasses, both on Chaillot, plus older vines on Mazards and Saveaux, Practicing organic, whole-cluster fermentation, aging in old 400 liter and 600 liter casks. "bright dark red robe; intricate airs circulate on the nose, iodine, salting, red cherry, kummel, cassis, lead pencil – it’s a stimulating debut. The palate eases along with a textured stream of pure, clear small black fruits, runs most clearly and consecutively. This has good style, calm depth, is a serious Cornas full of stimuli, one for the patient Thinkers. The length is good, violets on the aftertaste with rocky, iron notes. Expect a discreet, gradual evolution, a gain in expression of its depth. It will stay under wraps a good while. “It’s very serious, concentrated, has a lot of complexity; the juice from the grapes was exceptional,” G Gilles. 13.5°. Drink from 2028 - 2052" (drinkrhone)
The 2015 Gour de Chaulé shows an attractive red robe, has lustre. The bouquet rests on an elegant offer of neat, fresh raspberry fruit, with blackberry touches behind, has a little smoky spice and menthol as well. It shows the coolness of Gigondas. The palate is still tight, but clearly defined. This serves a snappy glass, finesse over power. The Grenache is a pure contributor, and gives it its heart. The finish is dark, tarry still, with a little increase in depth from its cool tannins. This is a wine of terroir, authentic Gigondas that gives access to the feel of the place. The cool close invites a second glass. (DrinkRhone)
Isabelle and Arnaud Guicharde make this lovely Rhone red on their beautiful estate which is certified organic since 2008 and Biodynamic since 2013. Made from Grenache and Syrah, their style here is cool stylish fruit on the palate - blackberry with hints of prune, blueberry and Provencal spices. The finish is long with earthy red fruits and spicy acidity. This is a great value in a complex, balanced Rhone red.
The Les Pallieres "Racines" is 80-85% Grenache (average age 70 years), 5-7.5% Syrah & 5-7.5% Cinsault, 5% Clairette blanche from vineyards near the cellars at 250 metres, 80% destemmed, gentle crush, 30-35 day concrete, oak vat vinification, large oak vat aged 10 months, then large 60 hl barrel 7-9 months, unfined, unfiltered, Domaine Les Pallières is undeniably one of the greatest, longest-running properties of the Southern Rhône — outside the village of Gigondas, woven into the foothills of the beautiful and brooding Dentelles de Montmirail. The domaine had been a continuously running farm within the same family since the fifteenth century! From DrinkRhone: "full red robe; there’s real depth on the nose, beef, bulls blood, intense black berry jam, Southern/sudiste tones, black olives. The palate gives a constant surge attack, a very good wheel of rolling black fruits, is well together, ends with a fine note of stylish juice, precision from the tannins there. It’s both elegant and full, well extended, a very good bottle, has a real upholstered finish." Drink this beautiful Gigondas over the next 30 years.
A leading producer of traditional Cornas, Domaine Lionnet has modernized only slightly over the last 20 years with the wines losing their former "rustic" character, while retaining complexity and terroir expression, very much in the style of the Gonons in Saint-Joseph. Organic since 2007, whole-bunch fermentation with wild yeasts, aging in both 600 liter and 228 liter two to eight year-old oak casks. From 70 year-old vines on Combe, Chaillot and Pied la Vigne. Though the nose does show a touch of reduction upon opening, it lifted quickly with air, revealing dark blue and red fruit, white pepper, wild thyme and wet stones. Despite the warmth of the vintage, the fruit here feels quite pure and focused rather than sticky and there is good grip. The wine finishes cool and long and makes for rather a lovely wine when all is said and done. I like this quite a lot and I should add that it's the kind of Cornas that one could bear to drink next week, though it will certainly improve for many years. Sam Ehrlich
The grapes for the 2020 Chateau de Manissy "Belle Etoile" originate from organically certified vineyards owned by Ch. de Manissy wine-maker Florian André's mother. Covering an area of 1.5ha, this site is bathed by the sun and swept by the mistral on a flat plain that is rich in limestone with a clay subsoil. Entirely hand-harvested grapes, 50% Cinsault and 50% Grenache, that have a cold maceration before being pressed. Low temperature fermentation with indigenous yeasts, aged in stainless steel tank. The high percentage of Cinsault brings freshness and delicacy to the wine, with hints of raspberry and stone fruits, orange peel and melon that linger on the balanced, refreshing palate. Great by itself or served with salads, goat cheeses and light summer meals.
From 50-65% Grenache, 15-20% Syrah, 0-10% Carignan, 5-15% Mourvèdre from stony clay-limestone soils on Bois Lauzon & Coudoulet at Courthézon. The vines are on average 45 years old. The wine ages in concrete tank and old barrels, and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is an outstanding Côtes-du-Rhône Villages that shows "a bold, dark red, crimson-hued robe. Has a broad, panoramic bouquet, as usual well filled, really deeply set. Black cherry and licorice feature, a hint of fried herbs, thyme. This is a strong, mini-Châteauneuf-du-Pape red wine: it’s closely packed with grounded life force content, strengthening as it goes, ending in a charged manner. The juice is pretty pure within its cladding, its woven overcoat. It’s a big vintage wine, has local character with a strong sense of place, stone strewn vineyards, terroir in the glass. It goes well long. Take your time – very much so – drink from 2019 until 2028-30" (drinkrhone)
"Syrah 85% from the top of La Genale, plus part of the lower end, includes plenty of 1910 Syrah, 10-15% Tézier (1992), 80-85% whole bunch fermentation, 1 week cool maceration, 4 week vinification, wild yeasts, pumping overs, cap punching, aged 2-10 year oak casks 12-14 months, casks assembled 4 weeks before bottling, fined, unfiltered, The bouquet carries a floral-violet hover over some generous, sweet-noted, notably ripe black berry fruits. The palate is also well scented, combines that with a note of iron, and stewed black fruits, prunes on the table. This carries the warm rays of the year in its supple constitution, is a ripe Cornas with inner notes of complexity. It has good, lip smacking length, will drink young, given its ripeness. From spring 2021, but there’s more variety to come if you wait beyond that, obviously, drink until 2042." Drink Rhone (Note: This is from the first bottling, December 2019)
The lovely Vincent Paris Cornas "Granit 30" is all Syrah from approximately 30 year-old vines, includes 25% Saint-Pierre, destemmed, cool maceration, 20 day vinification, wild yeasts, twice daily pumping overs, 1-2 cap punchings, aged in 2-10 year oak casks for 12 months. The 2020 is a delicious Cornas for drinking now, showing "bright, dark robe. The nose is reserved, but there are floral, red fruit tones, promise, a gentle simplicity. The palate gives an overtly fruited, accessible Cornas, holds enjoyable fruit that is soft and tasty, the tannins very mild. It’s a good drinking, w.o.w. Cornas" drinkrhone.com (w.o.w. means "what one wants" i.e. really delicious for drinking now - and over the next 8 - 10 years.
963-68 Syrah, 90% from Champon, 10% Cognet, Le Plomb, all northern sector, 98% Syrah, 2% Viognier. Dark colour. Smoky, charcoal, black olives. There are airs of date, slight resin, a glimmer of flowers. The palate delivers an immediate punch via a mixed bag of dark black and blue fruits – fig jam, date – with a low-key minting, with The style is full, no holding back, is a traditional Côte-Rôtie, much more of a wine of the south than related to Burgundy, the north. There are floral flashes on the late stages.
1963-68 Syrah, 90% from Champon, 10% Cognet, Le Plomb, all northern sector, 98% Syrah, 2% Viognier. Dark red robe with black tints. Brambly fruit, smoky, dark berries airs on the nose along with sizzled bacon, a trace of violets. The palate gives butty fronted black fruit, black jam, all close-knit. It is smoky from its oak, and there is cool blueberry fruit at its heart. It shows the vintage crispness on the finish, the aftertaste very peppery. Drink until 2028
The 2014 Pichat Côte Rôtie Löss shows a dark robe. The bouquet produces an aroma of lamb stock, sweet herbs, a fine line of black berry fruit. The palate runs with an enjoyable, in the moment, berry fruit, with a gourmand, tasty flavour. The finish is marked by an increase in darkness from its tannins which have good cut. This is open, nicely sunny. Drink until 2028.
This an excellent Cote Rotie from Christophe Pichon, particularly good in the 2015 vintage. "shiny, very dark robe, with aromas of tight cassis-blueberry fruit with oak.... The palate produces savoury, rich content and ripe tannins. There is integration to be done, but the prime elements are in place. The fruit is very well struck and clear. This has proper structure, authority, excellent width. From 2020. Drick until 2033-36. drinkrhone (67% from Rozier, 33% from Le Plomb, both northern sector, 90-92% Syrah (2004-05-1959), 8-10% Viognier (mid-1990s from Rozier, Le Plomb)
(Pre-Arrival) The 2020 Pierre André Blanc is an extraordinary Châteauneuf-du-Pape from an extraordinary estate - organic since 1980 (one of the first in the AOC) and Biodynamic since 1992. The blend is now approximately 50-60% Bourboulenc and 40-50% old-vine Clairette (planted in the 1920s) grown on sandy soils in the lieu-dits of "Saint-Georges," "Etang" and "les Bédines," giving a wine that accentuates the beautiful minerality brought by the terroir and the superb farming. From drinkrhone: "fine yellow robe; the nose is going to be elegant, stylish, has a very trim aroma of pear, apricot, a hint of white pepper clarity. The palate is also right on the money in its finesse, backed by a poised level of gras, all in order. It finishes with notes of aniseed de Marseille, greengage plum, the definition good. It’s a superior Ch du Pape blanc, carries garrigue tones, very good à table. It’s delightful, genuine. There’s more to come, too. It should be decanted." Drink over the next 15 years.
"One of the top domains in the appellation and of a benchmark for cellar-worthy Vacqueyras. Comprised of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah , 10% Mourvèdre/Cinsault/Carignan from 17 ha of biodynamically farmed plots on the Plateau des Garrigues. Grapes are hand-harvested, destemmed, and fermented in concrete with native yeasts and aged in foudre. An old friend if ever there was one. A bottle of the 1995 Sang Des Cailloux enjoyed in 2010 taught me that one should really cellar at least a few of these every vintage. You expect Châteauneuf from a good producer to be humming along at 15 years of age, but Vacqueyras? But more than humming, that humble bottle sang (pun intended) with juicy black fruit, resolved tannins and a nose full of dried violets and garrigue. It was quite a wine and mustachioed vigneron Serge Férogoule (since retired) was quite a man. That bottle was enough to convince me to tuck away a few bottles of his wines nearly every subsequent vintage. And this is what I am urging you to do, as well. And the Sang des Cailloux 2019 Vacqueyras Cuvée Floureto is a cracking place to start. The robe is an inky purple hue to the rim of the glass. The nose is a bit circumspect upon opening, but a quick decant reveals aromas of crushed violets, wild blackberry, mulberry, and garrigue with hints toasted peppercorn and fennel seed. The palate is concentrated and firm just out of the bottle, but with a bit of coaxing reveals plummy rich black and blue fruit flavors. This shows a concentrated ripeness that nonetheless remains tethered to the deeply-pitched mineral core, ennobled by firm, but sophisticated, tannins and a mineral tang that speaks to the old vines and biodynamic farming. This is certainly young but displays exquisite potential in its “callow” youth. Lovely wine of terroir with oodles of upside. John McIlwain