Tag Archives: Northern Rhone

Sunday Tasting Group – Northern Rhone wines

The Bentleigh Tasting Group has reconvened recently, and has also relocated thus necessitating a name-change. It’s been a while since I’ve joined this group of mostly sommeliers, so I’m a bit rusty on my blind tasting. It’s also been even longer since I’ve delved into the Northern Rhone Valley, not really since I was actually there in May of 2012. I found myself thinking back to my visits and tastings, considering the specifics of each appellation. But as always, the notes are from my blind tasting finishing with my guess as to the origin and vintage, and you can see how close I was. Some pretty amazing wines and a really interesting cross-section of styles in this one.

Doing it in style at The Point Albert Park

Doing it in style at The Point Albert Park

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Alain Voge – 28/05/2012

Harmonie Saint Peray 2010 (100% marsanne)

Floral white peach pear and apple aromas. Bright fresh and very tight acid structure, generous volume with bright freshness and crispness, textured salinity and minerality.

Terres Boisees Saint Peray 2010 (100% marsanne)

Honey cheese and citrus aromas with clear barrel fermented character reminiscent of white burgundy. Textural yet lifted finesse on the palate, a tad reductive and closed for now with some green fruit notes that will develop over time.

Fleur de Crussol Saint Peray 2010

Very tight mineral limestone notes, with flinty complexity and citrus green apricot fruits. Textural depth, concentration and density, very young and deserving of cellaring.

Saint Joseph 2009

Intense violet aromas with earth and spiced meat over black fruits. Very tight and focused on the palate, showing intensity but also finesse, youthful and exuberant.

Cornas Les Vielles Vignes 2008

A challenging wine from a challenging vintage. Spicy pepper, red cherries, pomegranates and dark floral notes on the nose. Gentle sweet tannins yet pure precise and linear, delicate integrity with finesse and length. Stunning.

Cornas Les Chailles 2009

Ruby juby and sweet dark fruit, red liquorice with sweet Indian spice on the nose. Bold broad but high on the palate, dense tannins with a slightly astringent finish from youth, quite forward and full, needs to settle in the bottle more.

Cornas Les Vielles Vignes 2009

More savoury red spice roasted notes aromatically, with elegant violets, dark fruits and chocolate. Gentle mellow and bright on the palate, juicy voluptuous tannins and elegant softens, approachable yet fine and bold.

Cornas Les Vielles Fontaines 2009

Very subtle black fruits, florals and some sweet oak aromas. Full accentuated expression, very warm and powerful in structure and tannins, dark and masculine, big and intense.

Cornas Les Vielles Vignes 2010 (barrel sample)

Youthful and exuberant, wonderful concentration and balance, powerful fruit expression that carries through the whole palate. Amazing potential for ageing, will live for at least 40 years.

Saint Peray Cremant

Bright peach and apple fruit aromas, very fresh and fine acids. Pleasant profile and bead.
Cornas tasting at Alain Voge

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M. Chapoutier – 28/05/2012

Les Meysonierres Crozes-Hermitage Blanc 2011 (100% marsanne)
Quite honeyed stone fruit citrus notes, subtle richness of oil and floral aromas. Generous and full on the palate, clean yet concentrated, with some nutty texture late on the palate, fresh but complete and complex.

Les Granilites Saint Joseph Blanc 2010 (100% marsanne)

More concentration and density of fruit, bolder riper honey and subtle spice aromas. Intense texture, very linear but will develop further over time.

Chante-Alouettes Hermitage Blanc 2010 (100% marsanne)

Quite closed and subtle, ripe and rich yet fresh and tight, with some shy green fruit notes. Wonderful persistence and balance, good length and intensity, with plenty of ageing potential considering the vintage.

Les Meysonnieres Crozes-Hermitage Rouge 2009

Delicate spice aromas nice to see for the vintage in this appellation, dark fruits floral and pepper. Very tight and intense on the palate, good integrity and approachability, not jammy or broad at all with freshness and depth.

Les Granilites Saint Josph Rouge 2010

Young subtle and delicate on the nose, expressing green pepper and thick skinned blackberries. Elegant restraint on the palate, spicy depth and approachably bold fruit, fine and tight tannins and generosity.

Sizeranne Hermitage 2009

Bright intense purple colour, juicy juby dark fruit forward nose. Very mellow and full on the palate, gentle and broad, a little too heavy in the extraction of tannin from the skins and oak, on the aggressive side.

Le Pavillon Ermitage 2008

A truly exceptional wine; beautifully aromatic yet subtle floral, red currants, wild cherry earth and mineral notes. Expressive density yet elegant and light, balanced intensity and savoury finesse, more like a burgundy in style but unmistakeably syrah.

Historic Chapoutier cellars

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Pierre Gaillard – 26/05/2012

Saint Joseph Blanc 2011

Quite tight mineralic lees notes on the nose, pear, peach apple and star fruit. Soft gentle and rich on the palate, pure and focused fruit with good approachable texture and depth.

Cotes-du-Rhone Blanc 2011 (technically Saint Joseph but includes viognier)

Very blossomy floral aromas, vibrant apricot freshness and some candied fruit notes aromatically. Great depth, vibrancy and volume, focus drive and fruit richness with a bit of creaminess on the back.

Condrieu 2011

Very delicate floral notes and sweet spice on the nose. Intensity richness and viscosity on the palate, focus drive and elegance but good restraint and balance, textural yet fine and structured.

L’Octroi Condrieu 2011

The best white wine by far, incredibly subtle yet intense, red mineral notes with some flinty granitic characters and bright golden delicious aromas. Expressive yet linear and confident, bold texture but not at all hot or fat, not at all creamy or blunt.

Asiaticus Vin des Pays 2007 (vineyard in Viennes)

Tight focused and very delicate in colour, intense small blueberry characters, very dry tannins, ripe broad and soft with violet floral aromas, but somewhat unsure of itself.

Saint Joseph Rouge 2010

Young delicate and fresh, very vibrant round and full-flavoured with good intensity and integrity. Fruit notes of raspberry and cherry spice.

Clos de Cuminaille Saint Joseph Rouge 2010

Earthier red fruits, less vibrant spice notes, more minerality on the nose. More mature expression on the palate, developed intensity and power, density of fruit and tannins with great depth and approachability.

Les Pierres Saint Joseph Rouge 2010

Wilder mushroom and dark earth aromas, quite perfumed blackcurrants and violets. Crunchy tannins and vibrant acids on the palate, bold and forward but somewhat overworked in terms of density and lacking subtlety somewhat.

Cote Rotie 2010

Purity of fruit, somewhat full on the palate, not heavy but very expressive, good balance of fruit and tannins but lacking in depth and extension on the palate.

Rose Pourpre Cote Rotie 2010

Insanely complex, complete mature aromatics, perfectly balanced intense and elegant, nothing stands out at all, a very rare complete wine. The best of the range.

Cornas 2010

Very closed, intense oak aromas, sweet very black fruits, full broad and generous on the palate with lively intensity ad softness.
Pierre Gaillard Condrieu

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Domaine Barge – 26/05/2012

Saint Joseph 2011 (barrel sample)

Dark spice pepper, dense chalky minerality. Elegant and approachable yet masculine and mature, great character for a wine of this appellation, good savoury notes and spicy game and earth.

Combard Cote Rotie 2011 (Old Francois Freres barrel sample)

Amazingly mature spice pepper, smoky toasty popcorn with blackberry fruit. Delicate and fine, fresh and bright, pure and generous with contemplative confidence and peppery tannins.

Combard Cote Rotie 2011 (new oak barrel sample)

Slightly more closed and toasty from the new oak, juicier fruit character and weight, creamier texture and extraction from the new oak tannins, slight vanilla element.

Combard Cote Rotie 2011 (one-year old Francois Freres barrel sample)

Same toast popcorn brittle character as the first sample, a more youthful expression of the fruit with more oak texture, fuller and more powerful but hiding the terroir a little.

Duplessy Cote Rotie 2011 (barrel sample)

Bold dark fruits, slight floral and reduced pepper spice, retaining maturity on the nose. Vibrant fruit and fresh acids on the palate, powerful mid-palate but with elegance, generous tannin structure.

Cote Brune 2011 (barrel sample)

Wild masculine nose of spices and balsamic, herbs and roasted elements. Powerful intense concentration, expressively complex and long, still approachable and not at all aggressive, subtle and supple tannins.

Duplessy 2010 (barrel sample)

Violets, black olives and balsamic notes surrounding blackcurrants and crushed dry pepper on the nose. Concentrated finesse and length on the palate, purity and liveliness with a core of liquorice, youthful expression and brightness.

Combard Cote Rotie 2007

Garnet, violets, very delicate black pepper spice, some red fruits and generous ripeness, but showing some development. Very closed at the moment, took a while to open up after some breathing, soft in tannins and structure but not yet velvety, compact and lean but the complete package.
Domaine Barge

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Delas Freres – 24/05/2012

Saint Joseph Blanc 2011 (>95% marsanne)

Quite grapey, orchard fruit with some subtle spice notes on the nose. Balanced and fresh on the palate, good fruit but a little simple and lacking personality.

Crozes-Hermitage Blanc 2010 (<90% marsanne)

More concentrated colour and aromas, richer lees notes and orchard fruits with some floral slightly candied notes. More texture and depth on the palate, good extension and finesse with terroir personality.

Clos Bouchier Condrieu 2010 (100% viognier)

Closed very subtle aromas, a little bit young and not yet expressing. Very warm on the back of the palate, also a little too oaky and lacking viscosity and fruit to balance the wine.

Cotes-du-Rhone Rouge 2010 (mostly syrah)

Quite spicy dark cherries on the nose, but little else. Tight focused and bold on the palate, very fresh and approachable, not at all jammy or broad, great value for the price.

Domaines Des Grands Chemins Crozes Hermitage 2009

Very deep and concentrated with some stinky old world aromas. Very bold yet light like a crozes-hermitage should be, savoury and spicy red fruit characters.

Saint Joseph Rouge 2009

Deep violet aromas combining with subtle earth spice bold and forward aromatically. Bold juicy and broad on the palate, plenty on offer now but won’t develop well.

Cornas 2009

Slightly wild intense dark fruit but a little closed. Generous and gentle on the palate, bold yet tight and focused, lacking a little structure.

Cote Rotie 2009

Deep dark seductive combination of violets, dark fruit and black pepper. Tight, driven and focused, but the 2009 vintage is too easy in all respects, not classy enough.

Domaine des Tourettes Hermitage 2009

Really massive dark colour, intense aromas of cassis black olives earth and funk. Powerfully expressive, juicy dark fruit and very bold tannins. Possibly a product of the vintage, but it is a very intense wine that looks a tad new-world Robert Parker style.
Delas Freres red wines

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Jean-Luc Colombo – 25/05/2012

La Redonne Cotes-du-Rhone Blanc 2011

Classic peach pear spice with delicate floral notes. Ripe banana tropical, quite textural and rich, very broad and short on the palate, very warm and a little dull.

La Belle de Mai Saint Peray 2009 (80% roussanne, 20% marsanne)

Concentrated lifted floral and white peach aromas. Creamy fat and broad on the palate, vanilla texture, generous and full-flavoured, but still a tad too warm.

Les Lauves Saint Joseph 2010

Tight closed and shy fruit spice on the nose. Elegant yet expressive on the palate, volume and concentration, generosity yet balance and good depth.

Terres Brulees Cornas 2009

Quite a dark fruit-sweet njose. Juicy bold and full yet light and fresh, mature tannins and fruit, depth and restraint.

Terres Brulees Cornas 2008

Spicier and more peppery intensity, violets and crushed herb notes on the nose. Deeper concentration and fruit precision, looking more youthful than the 2009.

Les Fees Brunes Crozes-Hermitage 2009

Fairly simple and inelegant, clean fruit and approachability but very light without any structure or focus.

Les Ruchets Cornas 2009

Complex spice notes aromatically, herbal sweetness and ripe blackcurrant. Very youthful, showing good structure and balance, concentrated and powerfully expressive, yet somehow hesitant and unsure of itself, not being taken to the logical conclusion.
Jean-Luc Colombo Les Ruchets Cornas 2009

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Guigal – 23/05/2012

Crozes-Hermitage Blanc 2010 (95% marsanne, 5% roussanne)

Nice blossom sweet white berry nose with some delicate spice. Very crisp and pure on the palate, expressing some minerality with focused bright and fresh fruit.

Condrieu 2010 (100% viognier)

Honeyed apricot blossom, oily and yet bright and floral. Very tight structure with volume and viscosity, some sweet fruit texture and richness and subtle oak complexity.

Hermitage Blanc 2007 (95% marsanne, 5% roussanne)

Much more expression of oak and malolactic characters on the nose but well integrated. Quite fat and broad, lacking a little focus, but relatively clean and pure with subtle oak notes.

Ex Voto Hermitage Blanc 2009 (100% new oak)

Newer oak hiding the richness of the malo, very oily honeyed peach notes with much more complexity aromatically. Ideal concentration of fruit for the winemaking style, good length and intensity, well balanced richness and breadth, ageing potential.

Saint Joseph 2009 (100% syrah)

Black pepper green spice, earthy meaty complexity on the nose. Pure clean and mineralic, some very late chocolate notes possibly from the oak, fruit not very expressive.

Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde 2007

Meaty spice but no pepper, finesse intensity and vibrancy on the nose. Silky tannins, focus and drive, mature stalk notes adding some brown spice, very deep and serious.

Hermitage 2005 (100% syrah)

Very prominent black liquorice and violet aromas, blackberry and raspberry cordial fruit. Bold and juicy tannins and fruit on the palate, generous depth and some mature toasty creamy texture.

Chateau d’Ampuis Cote Rotie 2007 (eight parcels)

Showing very smoky stalk notes, tight small dark berries, white pepper elegance. Soft velverty yet bright tannins, very young at the moment but still very approachable.

La Turque Cote Rotie 2008 (Single vineyard, 98% syrah, 2% viognier)

Very floral, unbelievably concentrated, violets spice and white pepper. Generous fruit, focused tannins, opulence and concentrated rich fruit, lively yet brooding but still very drinkable now.

Ex Voto Hermitage 2006 (100% syrah)

Noticable but subtle vegemite aromas, meaty spice elements. Generous and soft, juicy texture with good fruit, but very unfocused and broad, looking like its peaking, not as strong as the cote rotie wines.

Tasting at Guigal

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Tardieu-Laurent – 22/05/2012

Hermitage Blanc 2010 (75% marsanne, 25% roussanne)

Creamy nutty toasty apricots, vanilla lanolin and citrus concentration on the nose. Crunchy creamy texture, bold yet soft, complex and focused with two years to develop.

Cotes-du-Rhone Rouge 2010 (60% grenache, 40% syrah)

Bold floral juicy red fruits, blackberries mature spice aromas. On the palate, generous full-flavoured fruit, soft approachable tannins, concentration and depth for this type of wine.

Vacqueyras 2010 (80% grenache, 20% syrah)

Toastier and earthier stalky pepper notes, violets spice black cherry darkness aromas. Fresh light and tight on the palate, great lines and liveliness.

Gigondas Vielles Vignes 2010 (90% grenache, 5% syrah, 5% mouvedre)

Dark earthy meaty spice aromas, ruby blackcurrant and savoury plum concentration. Fresh pure and focused on the palate with tight tannin structure, still very closed.

Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010 (75% grenache, 15% syrah, 10% mouvedre)

intense dark colour, very bold and juicy in fruit on the nose, black fruits with some toasty nutty oak characters. Dense and full on the palate, warmth and texture but still clean and bright, albeit very intense.

Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010 Cuvee Special

Much meatier and earthier on the nose, concentrated savoury notes with wild feral spice unlike a chateauneuf wine. Concentrated spice and elegant tight structured tannins looks more like a Northern Rhone wine.

Crozes-Hermitage 2010 (100% syrah)

Gentle fresh, lively and intense with crisp red fruits and subtle white pepper. Red currants pomegranate and raspberry fruit on the palate, broad and mouth-filling but light and approachable.

Cornas 2010 (100% syrah)

Strong aromas of wild game and red cherry, complex tight nose. On the palate very velvety opulent tannins, long finish and purity with vibrant acids keeping things fresh.

Cornas Vielles Vignes 2010 (100% syrah)

Incredibly seductive nose, dense floral stalky spice notes, slightly feral with blackcurrants. Juicy, juby and concentrated on the palate, bold and expressive dark fruits and tannins.

Cote Rotie 2010 (100% syrah)

Very tight, concentrated yet bright aromas, lean and mineralic with subtle focussed fruit. Extremely austere, and also very closed at the moment so a more challenging wine to approach this soon, needs more time.

Hermitage 2010 (100% syrah)

Intense earthy savoury fruit nose, very red and bold. Full-flavoured yet generous, bold texture and grainy tannins, well structure intense fruit that needs time to balance before bottling.

Tardieu-Laurent Cote Rotie 2011 barrel

Click here to read the original post about my visit to the winery.

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