Dard & Ribo is something I've been hoping to try for years. I finally got a mixed case to try and I opened a couple tonight. It was a pretty informal gathering, not a proper dinner, so it was just prosciutto and cheeses. But that kind of fat food always seems to work well with wines.
Dard & Ribo Crozes-Hermitage Blanc 2010
I see conflicting info as to whether this is 100% Roussanne or a blend of that and Marsanne. Does anyone know? My first reaction is to wonder if I had accidentally opened a white Musar. But then the lovely floral notes appear - and these aren't typical of Musar. Quite rich, but certainly not oversized (only 12,5% abv), pretty decent acidity for what I usually feel is (or perhaps in the plural) a notoriously low-acid grape. I like the combination of richness and liveliness coupled with such "natural wine" aromatics. I'm not often fond of white Rhônes but this one was lovely.
Dard & Ribo Crozes-Hermitage Rouge "C'est le printemps" 2011
Though I love many "natural" wines I have criticized some at the wilder end of the spectrum for being a bit samey: no matter where the vines are grown and no matter what the grape varieties are, they all taste a bit same. Often lovely, but still samey. And knowing that D&R are a bit on the extreme end of naturalness I was expecting something very tasty but not perhaps so obviously Northern Rhône. Yet this smelled of game bird's blood. I cannot think of a more N. Rhône Syrah smell than that. It has very slight effervescence and has fresh fruit and isn't so very tannic. So the smell is completely that of N. Rhône Syrah but the sensations on the palate might be criticized for being a bit more "natural"; but I don't care because I thought this was lovely. And it was typical enough that I can't think of where else this might have come from. And this is exactly why I persevere with the "naturalists" though I am a narrow-minded empiricist and science fetishist: at best these have typicity, and they are exciting and exotic.
Dard & Ribo St. Joseph Rouge 2011
The first couple sniffs and I was afraid that this was going to be just your average attractive "natural" wine without such strong typicity. But I left it in the glass for 15mins or so and then it was all tapenade and gamy blood. The palate, too, is more conventional than that of the Printemps with no spritz, fair levels of tannins and much primary fruit that I would love to see aged a bit longer.
I thought all three were varying degrees of awesome. But all had striking black plastic stoppers instead of screwcaps or DIAMs. What about D&R's Hermitages? I also bought samples of the 2010 red and white Hermitage - should I open those, too, soonish or do they have a smarter cork?