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From young vines in Les Côtes & La Lègre, whole bunch 2-week fermentation, wild yeasts, manual cap punching, aged in 7-8 year 600-litre casks for 14 months, unfined, unfiltered. Dark black red color; aromas of very ripe blackberry/blueberry liqueur with a deep earthy center, violet, citrus and animal notes as well. Black fruits on the palate, with earth, licorice and mineral flavors framed in firm acidity and round tannins, quite deep, pure and long. This is fascinating and delicious now, perhaps best 2020-2025.
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 2014 Saint-Joseph "Un Autre Monde" is astonishingly pretty with lush, deep aromas of blackberry liqueur, dark chocolate, blueberry and raspberry, warm earth and musk - you get the idea! The palate shows black fruits, firm acidity and mineral flavors with hints of cocoa, licorice and mint, supple and cool with a lovely finish of black fruits and minerals. Perhaps the best Saint-Joseph yet from Emmanuel and Marie-Agnes Barou - drink over the next three to five years, simply delicious!
The Barou family family makes delicious wines, and grows cherries and apricots on their mixed-use organic estate in Charnas, in the northern section of the AOC Saint-Joseph. Their 2015 Vin de Pays Marsanne is a simply superb everyday wine! Light bronze/gold color. Aromas of almond, lime-flower, honeysuckle, lemon peel and hay, really quite pretty. Ripe stone fruits on the palate, primarily peach and dried pear with lemon, spice and saline mineral flavors with good balancing acidity in the long finish. Serve this lovely wine with chicken, full-flavored fish, mild cheeses and Asian foods. This is a unique and delicious wine and an extraordinary value - highly recommended!
From 40 year-old Syrah vines in Charnay, just outside the Saint-Joseph AOC, on living soils tended organically for forty years by Marie-Agnès and Emmanuel Barou. Plowing by tractor or weeding by hand on the steep slopes. Hand-harvested, wild-yeast fermentations, aging one year in 4 to 5 year-old barrels. The 2015 Cuvée des Vernes is simply sensational and one of the best values in the store! The wine shows deep black/red color with lush aromas of blackberry liqueur, licorice, blueberry and musk with cool minty notes - really lovely! The palate shows cool dense black fruits with dark chocolate, blueberry, earth, smoke and citrus with a beautiful, refreshing finish of minerals and fruit. This is an outstanding Syrah, better than many Saint-Josephs and simply delicious for current drinking. Serve a bit cool with almost anything from roast chicken to pork, rabbit, charcuterie and lamb, or just enjoy by itself. Highly recommended! DL
(98% Grenache with Cinsault, Clairette, Bourboulenc, 60 to 90 years old, picked late. 50% de-stemmed, aged in large barrels, casks and vats) As the name suggests, this is old-school CDP, almost all Grenache, not over-extracted or softened with Syrah and Mourvedre. "Bright ruby. Musky, expansive aromas of raspberry, strawberry compote and fresh flowers. Accentuated by a penetrating quality and impressive grip to the black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors. Finishes with alluring perfume and mounting tannins." JR Drink from 2014 to 2027.
Mostly from 80 to 100 year-old Grenache vines, with Syrah and Mourvedre. Whole-cluster fermentation, aged in a combination of old and young barrels (no new) and concrete vat. A great Chateauneuf, showing ripe, supple black fruits, spice, earth and licorice. Quite elegant and balanced. Really beggining to drink well now, and will improve over the next ten years. Look no further for a special bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape...
Mostly from 80 to 100 year-old Grenache vines, with Syrah and Mourvedre. Whole-cluster fermentation, aged in a combination of old and young barrels (no new) and concrete vat. A great Chateauneuf, showing ripe, supple black fruits, spice, earth and licorice. Quite elegant and balanced. Really beginning to drink well now, and will improve over the next ten years. Look no further for a special bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape...
This is Gigondas at its finest! 100% Grenache from old vines, fermented in cement, and aged in large oak vats before being bottled unfined and unfiltered with minimal added sulphur. It gives you that classic Grenache mustiness – like blackberries and blueberries smashed onto the forest floor – but also more fresh and delicate notes of nutmeg and strawberries. Hints of grapefruit peel, vine tomato and pine offer added depth. Given its age, it is still incredibly energetic on the palate with wonderfully resolved tannins and ripe black berry fruit. Truly a complex and delicious wine with a long life ahead of it! Tim Gagnon
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. Although we love this beautifully old-fashioned, organic wine in every vintage, Dany and Carole Chastan have made perhaps their best wine ever in 2015! The wine shows deep aromas of blackberry, dark chocolate, prune, garrigue, musk and citrus, quite focused and elegant. The palate is pure, supple and balanced, even at 15% alcohol, with dense blackberry, tart cherry, red currant, spice, earth and minerals, with tart red fruits, minerals and citrus in the very long finish. This is a superb Gigondas that can be enjoyed immensely now with a steak, pork or lamb chops, Morrocan tagines and full-flavored cheeses. Cellar 10 to 15 years for a mature experience. This is a superb wine and a great value - thanks to Carole and Dany for their great farming and traditional winemaking!
This is a big, beautiful, full-bodied rosé from Dany and Carole Chastan, made from Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah, always farmed organically. Lovely deep pink color, very pretty aromas of strawberry, red currant, peach, blood orange and stone. The palate is elegant and complex with creamy tart cherry and red currant fruit with citrus and floral notes and a long refreshing mineral finish. This is a superb, well-structured rosé that will drink beautifully over the next three years - serve with grilled tuna, chicken, grilled pork, salade Niçoise, mild cheeses. 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
From 100% Syrah in Chvanay, 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.
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 this winter and anything from the grill next summer. 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. "Le Blanc" 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. The 2015 shows soft aromas of tangerine, lime flower, almond butter, and anise along with deeper notes of exotic tropical melon. The palate is broad and textured with a melange of fruit reminiscent of white peach, pineapple, mandarin orange, and apricot balanced by a gentle acidity and the most subtle suggestion of tannin. This would be fantastic with rich fish dishes, pork, and poultry of all kinds. Tim Gagnon
From one of the few organic estates in Crozes Hermitage. The vines are 25 to 75 years old, most in Erome and Gervans on slopes of decomposed granite, some in Pont d'Isere on sand and gravel. No SO2 during vinification, aged in vat and in 2 - 5 year-old small barrels. The 2015 Habrard is a lovely wine, showing a bright red/black color; lovely aromas of ripe black cherry, blackberry and blueberry with hints of roast meat, mint and dark chocolate, quite pure and elegant. The palate shows dense, supple blackberry fruit with earth, smoke, black olive and licorice, nicely balanced with citrus and spice and finishing with terrific length of berry fruits, saline minerals and cool acidity. Lovely wine! Delicious now, served cool, or hold for 5 to 8 years. DL
The 2011 vintage in Cote-Rotie was marked by uneven weather - a warm spring followed by swings of hot and cold and some rain in September, which produced wines lacking the perfect balance and structure of 2010 but which show good ripeness and rounder structure - wines that will drink well young but with surprising ability to age as well. The Levet 2011 Chavaroche shows deep black fruits, a bit riper and more open than 2010 or 2012, with floral, spice and meat aromas - less elegant perhaps but riper and more extravagant. The palate has fine mineral character underlying the ripe fruits with some light touches of plum, citrus and herbs over the dense fruit. The finish is long and complex showing a good future for this wine despite the more ripe and forward style. Drink soon and until 2025 to 2030.
Mostly from Petite Serine planted in the 1950s on Chavaroche, a superb parcel of granite and schist soils with clay and sand (just west of Cote Brune) a very warm terraced plot sheltered from the north wind. Whole-bunch fermentation, aged one year in old barrels, one year in 15% new, 85% old casks. The 2009 Chavaroche is a magnificent Côte-Rôtie with surprising structure and acidity for the vintage - in fact Nicole Levet suggests drinking the 2010 before the 2009. Superb, elegant nose of deep black fruits, stone and game with hints of cocoa. (Albert Dervieux-Thaise once told me that a good Côte-Rôtie should smell like "le ventre d'un lièvre chaud" - the gut of a warm hare.) This is not that rustic, but definitely has distinctive aromas. The palate is bursting with stony blackberry fruit, with brown spice, citrus, smoke and licorice. This seems softer than the 2010 to me but there is ample lifting acidity and freshness to carry the wine into old age. This is a big, gorgeous Côte-Rôtie that will be a joy to drink over the next 15 to 20 years! David Lillie
Jacqueline André made another superb Chatauneuf-du-Pape in 2011, much 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 soft and round. This is a lovely CDP to drink now, that shows the great farming and traditional winemaking of the André family and is highly recommended. Hold for ten to fifteen years for a mature experience. (Organic since 1980 (the first in the AOC) and Biodynamic since 1992. The red 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.)
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
The Richaud 2014 Cairanne is a gorgeous wine made from Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvedre, partly made with carbonic maceration. The aromas are ripe and vivid with black cherry, red currant and floral notes backed by earth and dark chocolate. The palate shows lush, bright fruit - a beautiful and intense melange of berries lifted by cool acidity and mineral flavors with fabulous length. Three days later the wine is showing beautifully with a bit more spice in the aromas and fabulous minty black fruits on the palate, very long and complex. Bravo to Marcel Richaud! Serve this lovely wine quite cool with just about anything!
From a one-half hectare parcel of 60 year-old vines in "Les Rivoires" on the lower slope in Tournon, sandy granite soils. Aged 12 months, 30% foudre, 70% 2 to 5 year-old barrels. This "serious" Saint-Joseph shows lush, bright aromas of blackberry liqueur, with blueberry, violet, citrus, spice and roast meats. The palate is a bit tight and quite elegant with red currant, blackberry and blueberry fruit with firm acidity and mineral flavors. This is an elegant, earthy and well-structured Saint-Joseph that will age beautifully - best probably 2021 to 2030, decant if drinking now.
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. The 2014 is aromatically beautiful with complex aromas of red currant, blueberry, violet, musk and citrus. The palate is softer than in the very structured 2013 vintage, showing red and black fruit liqueur lifted by citrusy acids and finishing with nice mineral flavors, floral notes and supple fruit. This is a very pretty Crozes to drink over the next 5 years, and a great value!
Made primarily from 80 to 90 year-old vines of Serine, generally regarded as an old version of Syrah (which evolved from Mondeuse Blanc and Dureza) with smaller berries which survived through massale selection, principally in Cote Rotie. Serine gives a more aromatic and elegant wine that the larger berried modern Syrah. "From our first day of harvest, 2013 is one of our favorite vintages. The younger vines, which proved austère in the months after bottling, are now showing the remarkable definition that each terroir has gifted to both wines: generosity and smokiness from Saint-Julien’s granits, depth and definition from Brézème. The 30 months of aging in 2500 litre foudres have rendered both cuvées surprisingly approachable for such a classic vintage. The aging potential is exceptional for both wines, and the Brézème is probably the best expression we’ve obtained from this terroir…and at less than 12% alcohol! 2632 bottles, 120 magnums and 10 jéroboams" Eric Texier
"The Corps de Loup vineyard has not ceased to surprise us for the elegance and finesse of the wines it produces. It’s hard to imagine a more ethereal and delicate expression of Syrah than this 2014 Côte-Rotie. Don’t be fooled: if the subtleness of the tannins make it an approachable wine today, 10 to 15 years will bring it to new horizons of minerality and salinity. It might be like the wines of Albert Dervieux Theize, so tender in their youth that no one pays attention. But, as a recently drank 1985 proved, his Côte-Roties age remarkably. Aged 18 months in Burgundian barrels of 5 wines, total SO2 equals 25 mg/l at bottling. 12.5%. – 540 bottles and 12 magnums. " - Eric Texier
The 2014 Brézème from Eric Texier is a playful Syrah showing a nice balance between fruit and savory characteristics without being overbearing. The nose is a little tight upon opening but after an hour rich red berries and red raspberries peak out with orange zest, woody herbs and a touch of sweet spice. The palate is quite full with light but grippy tannins and serious acidity. Showing more peppery and earthy on the palate but driven by dark red fruit with a slight floral tone on the finish. Fresh but not delicate, this wine would pair well with shepherd's pie, lamb sausage, or chicken fried steak with plenty of gravy. Andy Paynter
"As with all our 2015 whites, Adèle is the polar opposite of what we expected from the vintage: bright, balanced, not heavy and with all the finesse of the Northern Rhône’s Clairettes. Native yeasts, aged in concrete vats, 30 mg/l of SO2 at bottling. – 4000 bottles." - Eric Texier. Tasted 10/12/16, the 2015 Adèle is a lovely and very versatile wine showing subtle aromas of almond, lime-flower, pear, citrus pith and stone. The palate is round and balanced with silky white fruits, citrus and stone with a hint of anise, with a long refreshing finish. Lovely wine - serve with anything from grilled fish to pork chops! DL