Wine Focus for September: Rhone and Rhone-style reds

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Wine Focus for September: Rhone and Rhone-style reds

Postby Robin Garr » Mon Sep 01, 2014 5:41 pm

Syrah in the style of the Northern Rhone or GSM+ blends in the style of the Southern Rhone. We'll take 'em all this mongh!
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Rhone and Rhone-style reds

Postby David M. Bueker » Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:18 pm

Sipping on a 2011 Anthill Farms Sonoma Coast Syrah right now, and sadly it is not doing it for me. It has weight but little flavor, and just seems lifeless.

I have had a number of poor experiences with Anthill of late, and so have dropped them from my mailing list queue. Of course I added two more in their place, so it's really not any better.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Rhone and Rhone-style reds

Postby Rahsaan » Mon Sep 01, 2014 11:05 pm

I recently did a slew of 2011 syrah wines. A couple of bottles of 2011 Texier St-Julien en St-Alban Vieille Serine were delicious, silky, elegant, but not as compelling, deep and layered as in the spring so I think I'm going to let the rest of the bottles rest. Similarly, the 2011 ESJ Fenaughty Syrah was gorgeously meaty and bright at the same time, but I know even better things will come to those who wait on this wine.

And I think I may have posted but a 2011 Arnot Roberts Clary Ranch Syrah was just so damned herbal. Everytime I thought it would become silky or seductive, the herbaciousness kicked right back in. I did find elements of this enjoyable, but not enough to keep buying (at least in this vintage).
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Rhone and Rhone-style reds

Postby Tim York » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:15 am

Opened with last night's shoulder of lamb and lentils and a very good pairing too-

2011 Château de Beaucastel Côtes du Rhône Coudoulet de Beaucastel - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône (9/1/2014)
I have been in the habit of treating Coudoulet as a CndP and of ageing it for around 10 years so this was a novel experience. I was surprised by how little primary fruit there was both on the nose and palate just a little dark fruit with a bramble touch. On the other hand there was a wealth of herbal, spice, liquorice and chocolate flavours which asserted themselves easily on the vigorous, dark complexioned and full bodied palate building up to a crescendo on the long finish. In my experience Coudoulet ages well but this three year old shows different facets which encourages me to buy more bottles for opening much sooner in the future. Very good.

Posted from CellarTracker

The varietal composition of this Coudoulet is Cinsault 10%, Grenache 40%, Mourvèdre 30%, Syrah 20% and the price was >€20. This is expensive for a Côtes du Rhône but cheap for a surrogate CndP. At present some of the finest QPR in France lies IMO in Côtes du Rhône and Villages. For example, I don't think that the CDRV Laudun Ch.de Courac 2010 costing <€7 at a local supermarket is markedly inferior at present to this Coudoulet, although it may not age so well.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Rhone and Rhone-style reds

Postby Carl Eppig » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:43 am

2008 Tobin James, Silver Reserve, Paso Robles, Syrah. Admittedly quite a bit more than what you would call a "Rhone Style" wine; but very tasty anyway with a ton or two of fruit, spicy and smooth in the middle, and a lovely finish. We matched it with lamburgers and eggplant salad.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Rhone and Rhone-style reds

Postby JC (NC) » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:05 am

I've enjoyed the Beaucastel Coudoulet in the past. I will see if I can locate some in my area. I have two Edmunds St. John Syrahs to open this month if I can find them.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Rhone and Rhone-style reds

Postby Tim York » Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:17 pm

2005 Pierre Gonon St. Joseph - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, St. Joseph (9/3/2014)
Given Gonon's reputation as well as my experience of other vintages, I was expecting this to sing more eloquently. Colour was still primary with no signs of bricking in the rather dim light of my dining room. Aromas on the nose and on the palate were subdued with the usual N.Rhône notes of metallic sour cherry and grilled meat. The palate was quite full bodied with depth and intensity of fruit, marked non-astringent acidity, good backbone and adequate length. I can't help feeling that even in its 9th year there is unfinished business here, if the aromas open up. Good with ?++ potential.

Posted from CellarTracker

This red St.Joseph (all?) is made from 100% Syrah and current vintages cost c.€25. There are many producers whose St.Joseph cost less and our local supermarket offers one from les Caves de Tain for c.€10, but with much less intensity, of course.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Rhone and Rhone-style reds

Postby Carl Eppig » Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:37 pm

2013 Domaine de la Damase Grenache, Vaucluse, Provence ($13.99 U.S. at Whole Foods, Alcohol level: 14.5%). What a surprise! This is a 100% Grenache at a very reasonable price. It also had a very light color which was another surprise! This isn’t the case with a Grenache apparently. When you first smell it you get some great floral notes, it is fresh and healthy. At first you get that freshness again, then the flavors open up and there are some delicious berry notes, leaving off with a smooth vanilla finish.

We matched it with lamb chops grilled over charcoal and pecan chips; along with nuked green and yellow zucchini with onion, spices and herbs; and a salad of three kinds of lettuce, cucumber and cherry tomatoes all from our garden (as was the yellow zucchini). Fantastic!
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Rhone and Rhone-style reds

Postby Tim York » Mon Sep 08, 2014 6:27 am

Carl Eppig wrote:2013 Domaine de la Damase Grenache, Vaucluse, Provence ($13.99 U.S. at Whole Foods, Alcohol level: 14.5%). What a surprise! This is a 100% Grenache at a very reasonable price. It also had a very light color which was another surprise!


Carl, in my experience Château Rayas which is reputedly 100% Grenache has a very light colour, especially for a CndP.

Now two recent beauties.

The first was 100% Syrah from the heart of N.Rhône and the second was a blend of some Rhône varieties from Languedoc, namely Carignan, Mourvèdre, Syrah and, as far as my research goes, Grenache in some vintages; but, based on the taste profile, I would be prepared to believe that there was none of the last in the 2000 blend.

1997 Domaine Auguste Clape Cornas - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas (6/28/2014)
In spite of a crumbly cork which left a layer of cork dust, too fine for my filter, over my first glass, this wine was excellent. With one spectacular exception I have been lucky with N.Rhône and Burgundy from unfashionable 1997. This bottle seemed fuller and deeper than my memory, backed by TNs, of previous bottles which I described as less full bodied but more elegant than I expect from Cornas. Colour was still quite primary and deep. The nose showed rich cherry and mineral aromatics which continued onto the quite full palate where they were enhanced by a velvet texture, peppery notes and a finish supported by ripe tannins. My last bottle unfortunately but I don't think that there is much further improvement potential. Excellent.

2000 Mas Jullien Coteaux du Languedoc - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Coteaux du Languedoc (9/4/2014)
Mas Jullien is a Languedoc classic and this bottle thoroughly justified its reputation. Colour still quite deep. The nose was not big but was very expressive with floral notes (rose), Mediterranean herbs, anise and hints of oil, liquorice and pebbles. The palate was medium bodied and linear in shape playing variations on the aromas from the nose and showed secondary forest floor flavours and a very slight subliminal sweet sensation balanced by smooth acidity and still noticeable backbone. There is no attempt here at spectacular effects from heavy extraction and oaking with the result that the wine shows harmony and elegance which are remarkable for so far south in France together with generosity which is less unusual. Excellent.

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Re: Wine Focus for September: Rhone and Rhone-style reds

Postby Brian K Miller » Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:19 pm

2013 Broc Cellars Counoise (Mendocino County). Soft, floral, and herbal red. Very fragrant. Earthy, low alcohol, some acidity despite the softness. A very interesting plummy fruit character came out.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Rhone and Rhone-style reds

Postby Brian K Miller » Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:23 pm

I guess Counoise doesn't quite meet the criteria for the month! :mrgreen:
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Rhone and Rhone-style reds

Postby Jenise » Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:51 pm

Opened an 09 Domaine La Garrique CdR last night, a perennial great deal of a rich rhone blend. It was a tiny bit fizzy from some secondary fermentation but the flavor wasn't off so we served it. This is the third fizzbomb in a row, but the other two were a bit cabbage-y as well. I bought a case back when expecting these to have a better shelf life than this. Will probably end up throwing the rest away. Crap!
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Rhone and Rhone-style reds

Postby Tim York » Sat Sep 13, 2014 4:36 pm

Here are two more mature wines from Languedoc drunk on successive evenings. The first was much fresher than the second.

1999 Domaine d'Aupilhac Coteaux du Languedoc Montpeyroux - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Coteaux du Languedoc Montpeyroux (9/12/2014)
Conventional wisdom would have it that at 15 years a Coteaux du Languedoc should be well over the hill but this estate's wines have the knack of ageing gracefully. It is made from the usual regional cocktail of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Carignan, and really sings. Deep colour and medium plus body, good length and very harmonious showing still fresh and quite primary fruit with sweet cherry and strawberry notes, traces of wet leather and lively acidity together with secondary aromas of tar and garrigue. There were no signs of decline. The 1998 was showing equally well at a similar age. Very good.

1995 Prieuré Saint-Jean de Bébian Coteaux du Languedoc - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Coteaux du Languedoc (9/13/2014)
This estate, like Mas Jullien and Aupilhac, is a Languedocien classic, but, unlike the other two, has gone through ownership changes which affect consistency. Varietal composition is Mourvèdre, Syrah and Grenache. I had a great experience with an '89 and a bottle of this '95, made by the second owner, was still very good 3 years ago, if not on the level of the '89. I wrote in my TN that it showed no signs of incipient decline but, on the evidence of this bottle, I was wrong. Colour was still very deep but the nose, after a promising moment when I thought I detected CndP-like complexity, stayed subdued and veered towards the metallic. Compared with my memory and TN of the bottle 3 years ago, this one seemed to have lost weight, flesh and length although there remained enough dark fruit, Mediterranean herbs, forest floor and tar for overcoming the metallic streak and for the experience to be enjoyable. Still quite good and an interesting insight into Mediterranean complexity, albeit somewhat senile.

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Re: Wine Focus for September: Rhone and Rhone-style reds

Postby ChaimShraga » Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:05 am

Thierry Allemand, Cornas, Les Chailliots, 2011

The nose shows manure at first, then aged meat over black fruit. I'm struck by how the terrifically juicy fruit shows such great focus and depth. And what length! This has the weight of Hermitage with the clean purity of a juicy Saint Joseph, and, although outrageously young, is already very complex and elegant due to its fine tannins.

Thierry Allemand, Cornas, Les Reynards, 2011

This cuvee is sourced from old vines, up to 90 years old, whereas the Les Chaiiliots comes from younger vines, 5 to 40 years old (still fairly mature at the extreme of the range), and as is usually the case, the older vines offer more of everything. Thus, this is more reserved, more tanninc, longer by at least a leg length, and overall feels more 'serious' and moody. As well, it's more refined and the meat aromas are tempered by black pepper. In both cases, I am struck by the purity. These are classics that will likely carve in a niche in your heart.

Alain Graillot, Saint Joseph, 2011

Graillot is back in Israel, with a 30% price increase, alas. The last vintage for the Saint Joseph was 2007, so we missed the great 2010 vintage here in Israel. I love the way this exhibits the Graillot style: ripe, languid fruit livened up by very juicy acidity, creating a savory, crunchy effect. Not only that, it has that textbook Saint Joseph black pepper and raw meat signature. As well, the soft tannins as usual make for a velvety mouth feel and early drinkability. So yeah, too expensive right now, from a historic perspective, but still a damn fine drink at a price competitive with, these days, a Cru Bourgeois or a generic Barbaresco.Which leads me to two conclusion: prices are crazy in general and we don't get enough Saint Josephs in Israel. I have also drawn a third conclusion. As much as I've always admired Graillot, this is actually at least a small step up from the 2007 (even though I sense 2007 is rated higher in the North Rhone), and I suspect will age longer.
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Re: Wine Focus for September: Rhone and Rhone-style reds

Postby Brian K Miller » Mon Sep 15, 2014 4:34 pm

ENO Wines

2010 The Outcome (Mendocino County). This was a lovely blackberry and clove and cherry-scented Rhone blend, more of a "GSC" than a GSM (36% Grenache; 34% Syrah; 30% Counoise). A delicious hint of earthy funk provides some further interest. Quite nice stuff!

http://enowines.com/wine/red-rhone-blen ... int-ranch/

I quite like the Sasha Verhage wines. A little higher in alcohol than Broc Cellars or even Donkey and Goat, but they follow the same school of "naturalistic" wines and show quite a bit of AFWE :roll: character. Sasha shares his Camelia Street space with another fine naturalistic winery, LUSU Cellars, which made a stellar Sangiovese, and with our very own Steve Edmounds!
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