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Posts Tagged ‘condrieu’

This past Saturday marked the official kick off to the 2009-2010 season of the MPA Wine Club.  Fellow MPAer Sophie and boyfriend Ben were kind enough to host at their lovely house in the 7th arrondissement.  At one point we were 24 people strong but ultimately 20 of us participated in the tasting.  The attendees and individual ratings are listed at the bottom.  The format was a blind horizontal tasting of the Northern Rhone with the exception of one Vin de Pays from the Southern Rhone.  The three reds were from the 2006 vintage and the two whites were from the 2007 vintage.  As usual we had tons of fun and plenty of laughs!  And it is very interesting to note that after tallying up the MPA average ratings, the first place went to a 15 euro bio-organic certified wine and second place went to the Vin de Pays.  The 30 euro Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu were shamed with fourth and fifth place.  TAKE THAT WINE SNOBS! (all in good fun of course, haha)

Congratulations to our Gold Medalists Christian, Puja, Sabine, and Sheila for correctly picking three out of five appellations.

A quick overview of the vintages and appellations …

Northern Rhone 2006 Vintage: (Wine Spectator 92 Rating) “Drink or hold. Ripe, fresh reds with open-knit structures and fine balance; whites are classics, combining best of 2005 and 2004”

Northern Rhone 2007 Vintage: (Wine Spectator 88-91 Rating) “Not yet ready to drink. Difficult growing season, with a hot, early start followed by a cool, wet July and August; some high yields. Perfect September saved the harvest. Reds and whites fresh, aromatic and forward in style; similar to 2001”

Southern Rhone 2007 Vintage: (Wine Spectator 94-97 Rating) “Not ready to drink. Ripe, rich, powerful reds thanks to long Indian summer during harvest time. Grenache is heady and rich, so Mourvèdre and Cinsault key for balance. Best wines are classic hedonist delights, some over the top but superb”

Côte-Rôtie (230 hectares) produces only red wine. Sryah is the main varietal, however, up to 20% of Viognier is allowed in the blend.  The wine tends to be full-bodied, complex, with firm tannins, and flavors of roasted berry fruit, violets, lilacs, peppercorns, earth, bacon.

Saint-Joseph (1,200 hectares) produces predominantly red wine with a limited production, about 10%, of white wine.  Syrah is the main varietal, however, up to 10% of Marsanne and Roussanne are allowed in the blend.  The wine is generally considered to a step up in quality from Crozes-Hermitage with more structure but sharing the fruitiness and pepper notes.

Crozes-Hermitage (1,400 hectares) produces mostly Syrah-dominated red wine, with up up to 15% of Marsanne and Roussanne allowed in the blend.  However, there is also a small production, around 8%, of white wine made from Marsanne and Roussanne blends.  The wine is characteristically similar to Hermitage but less rich and complex, with a medium to full-body mouth feel and flavors of plumy fruit, blackberries, black pepper and minerals.

Condrieu (100 hectares) produces only white wine, stricly from the Viognier grape.  The wine is characteristically full-bodied and aromatic with flavors of dried and fresh apricot, pear, almonds, and violets in bloom.

Vin de Pays de Vaucluse is nearly 200 kilometers south of Condrieu, within the Southern Rhone Valley. Over 75% of the production is red wine with the remaining split between white and rosé.

A quick run down of the wines and our tasting notes …

FIRST PLACE (14.2/20 MPA rating)
2006 CROZES-HERMITAGE | Domaine Combier (Bio)
Blend: 100% Syrah
Price: 16€50 @ La Grande Epicerie du Bon Marché
Tidbits: 25-year vines, yield 40 hectoliters per hectare, 25-day maceration, aged 80% in oak barrel and 20% in stainless steel vats
Kenny’s Tasting Notes: (14/20 rating) Complex and expressive earthy and minerally aromas on the nose, reminiscent of walking through an old musky wine cellar, but in a very good way.  In the mouth this wine was less intriguing, although still pleasant, expressing good balance between the acidity and tannic structure.  There are flavors of blackberries and dark chocolate.

The MPA speaks out …
Sophie, “poorly done peppercorn sauce; blackberry gummy candy filling”
Bianca, “soil”
Raghu, “burnt tire”
Sheila, “expensive”
Sabine, “mud, oysters”
Ben, “shellfish”

SECOND PLACE (13.5/20 MPA Rating)
2007 VIN DE PAYS DE VAUCLUSE | Domaine du Tix “Cuvée des Grande Pointes”
Blend: 100% Viognier
Tidbits: grapes pressed direct, aged in oak
Price: 16€ @ La Grande Epicerie du Bon Marché
Kenny’s Tasting Notes: (12/20 rating) An alcoholic nose that overall is a little closed, with aromas of mineral, fleshy white fruit, and violets.  This wine is acidic, bitter and fleshy in the mouth with flavors of citric fruit and apple.

The MPA speaks out …
Sophie, “crisp, clean, laundry”
Bianca, “vitamins”
Sheila, “acidic and prickly when I swish it around”
Haitao, “a little sweet, sour and salty”
Ben, “champagne”
Sabine, “Stachelbeere (gooseberries)”

THIRD PLACE (12.3/20 MPA Rating)
2006 SAINT JOSEPH | Ferraton Père et Fils “La Source”
Blend: 100% Syrah
Price: 15€05 @ La Grande Epicerie du Bon Marché
Tidbits: 20-day maceration, daily pumping over and punching down, aged 12 months in oak
Kenny’s Tasting Notes: (14/20 rating) The nose is rather complex with notes of mineral, black pepper, oak and an overall herbalness, suggestive of spice box and graham crackers.  Good balance and acidity in the mouth, this wine is fruity with flavors of black cherry and black pepper.

The MPA speaks out …
Roopa, “brick”
Sabine, “boring”
Sheila, “hint of licorice”
Raghu, “marzipan, forest mushrooms”
Rajul, “chocolate-dipped peppercorn”
Sophie, “aged goat cheese”

FOURTH PLACE (12/20 MPA Rating)
2006 COTE-ROTIE | Domaine Stéphane Pichat “Le Champon”
Blend: 100% Syrah
Price: 33€ @ La Grande Epicerie du Bon Marché
Tidbits: Aged 24 months in oak
Kenny’s Tasting Notes: (13/20 rating) A complex nose of cheese, bacon, pepper, oak and black fruits.  In the mouth a little more straightforward with medium tannins, good acidity and an overall fruitiness, especially plum and cherry, accompanied by dark chocolate.

The MPA speaks out …
Clint, “smoky, whiskey, good with spicy food”
Christian, “very oaky, oaky”

FIFTH PLACE (11.7/20 MPA Rating)
2007 CONDRIEU | Jean Michel Gerin “La Loye”
Blend: 100% Viognier
Price: 31€30 @ La Grande Epicerie du Bon Marché
Tidbits: 20-year vines, yield 30 hectoliters per hectare, aged 12 months 70% in oak, weekly stirring of lees, and 30% in stainless steel vats
Kenny’s Tasting Notes: (13/20 rating) Not too aromatic nose with notes of mineral and apple.  In the mouth this wine is full-bodied, dry but fruity and acidic with a spicy, prickly mouth feel, although at the same time there’s a countering smooth and creamy balance.  The flavors are slightly bitter with notes of apple and grapefruit.

The MPA speaks out …
Valerie, “eau de toilette”
Ben, “bourbon whiskey
Rajul, “acid with a side of nail polish thinner”

MPAers individual ratings broken down …

MPA individial ratings

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Miki San and I attended an In Vino Veritas tasting on Thursday the 15th.  Winemaker Pierre-Jean Villa led us through nine of his bottlings from Les Vins de Vienne, which is located in the town of the same name in the Northern Rhone Valley.  I was quite impressed with this Domaine.  Phil from In Vino Veritas picked this domaine as his favorite producer for the second year in a row from Le Grand Tasting in Paris.  My two fav’s were the 1998 Sotanum and the 2005 Taburnum, and frankly the only bottling that didn’t impress me was the 2007 L’Élouède.

Les Vins de VienneHere’s a quick tid bit on the terroir and the producer…

For centuries, the vineyards of Seyssuel and the wines from Vienne have been closely linked.  During the Roman Empire, Vienne was the capital of Allobrogia, and the vineyards of Seyssuel were already known for the quality of their wines. Pliny the Elder wrote that a plant with black grapes, known as Vitis allobrogica, grown in the area of Vienne, produces 3 crus: Sotanum, Taburnum and Heluicum.

Gaillard, Villa, Cuilleron et VillardIn 1996, three friends, passionate and established winemakers from the right bank of the Rhone, started a great venture — the renaissance of the ancient vineyard of Seyssuel.  Yves Cuilleron, Pierre Gaillard and François Villard were the original three.  However, in 2003, Pierre-Jean Villa joined the group, taking charge of the domaine’s operations.  Today, the domaine consists of 18 hectares.

(Source: http://www.vinsdevienne.com/)

In order of tasting…

2006 Les Barcillants Cornas2006 Les Barcillants
Appellation: Cornas, North Rhone
Varietal: 100% syrah
Price: $60
Tasting Notes: Beautiful violet in the glass.  Aromas of pepper, black cherry, blueberry and Christmas potpourri.  A smooth, acidic, robust wine with flavors of dark chocolate, blueberries and black cherries.  600 cases produced.
Rating: 14+/20

Wine Spectator 90: A fresh, bright, modern Cornas, with ripe, clean raspberry and black cherry fruit that races along, with hints of mineral, olive and violet in the background. Drink now through 2011. –JM

2006 Les Archevêques Saint-Joseph2006 Les Archevêques
Appellation: Saint-Joseph, North Rhone
Varietal: 100% syrah
Price: Approx. $30
Tasting Notes: Beautiful violet in the glass.  An immediate subtle attack of manure (not unpleasant I promise) that later diminished, leaving lasting aromas of strong earth and black fruits, followed by plum and prunes.  An acidic and slightly bitter wine with controlled tannins and black cherries on the palate.
Rating: 14/20

2006 Sotanum2006 Sotanum
Appellation: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes
Varietal: 100% syrah
Price: $68
Tasting Notes: Beautiful violet in the glass.  At first a subtle, not too expressive nose with hints of plum, that opened up within minutes to pepper, barnyard and black fruit.  A very fruit forward, easy drinking wine with controlled tannins.  There are flavors of plum and a very mild hint of grapefruit peel, followed by a long finish of prunes.  1,250 cases produced.
Rating: 15/20

Wine Spectator 92: Supple in texture, but with nice drive to the raspberry ganache, lavender, mineral and sweet spice flavors. The very long, silky finish has latent richness and fine, embedded acidity. Should flesh out nicely in the cellar.. Best from 2009 through 2014. –JM

2006 Les Essartailles Cote-Rotie2006 Les Essartailles
Appellation: Côte-Rôtie, North Rhone
Varietal: 100% syrah
Price: $77
Tasting Notes: Beautiful violet in the glass.  Similar very subtle manure attack as the Saint-Joseph but more lasting, which is actually interesting and complex and not at all a turn off.  The nose is complimented very well with aromas of plum, pepper and raspberry.  Light tannins and a smooth texture in the mouth with flavors of cedar and brambleberry.  1,100 cases produced.
Rating: 14+/20

Wine Spectator 93: A very juicy, modern style, with sweet spice, raspberry and graphite notes on top of sweet tobacco, iron and macerated olive hints, which keep this grounded in its appellation. Best from 2009 through 2017. –JM

1998 Sotanum
Appellation: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes
Varietal: 100% syrah
Price: Approx. $30
Tasting Notes: A very expressive, calming and integrated nose.  There are aromas of raspberry, blackberry, you-name-it-berry, and barn, followed by hints of flowers, roses and minerality.  A very fruit forward wine with very subtle and smooth tannins.  Just slightly too sour but still well balanced.  There’s a strong plum flavor as well as currants and sour cherry and a very distant raisiny finish.
Rating: 16+/20 (My favorite wine of the tasting)
Note: Domaine’s first vintage

2007 La Chambée Condrieu2007 La Chambée
Appellation: Condrieu, North Rhone
Varietal: 100% viognier
Price: Approx. $70
Tasting Notes: Light straw in the glass.  Citric aromas of mandarine and apricot.  A tight palate with flavors coming out of pear, apricot, and light lime and peach peel.  600 cases produced.
Rating: 14+/20

Wine Spectator 93 (2006 vintage): Shows a hint of matchstick before quickly giving way to soft, creamy-textured Cavaillon melon, lemon zest and pear notes, all backed by a lingering, quartz-filled finish. Still a touch tight, but very long and pure. Drink now through 2011. –JM

2007 L'Élouède Saint-Joseph2007 L’Élouède
Appellation: Saint-Joseph, North Rhone
Blend: 60% marsanne, 40% roussanne
Price: $36
Tasting Notes: Very light honey yellow in the glass.  Aromas of cream, melon, apple, wet rock and mild spice.  Strong minerality in the mouth, as well as apples.  500 cases produced.
Rating: 13/20 (Least favorite in the tasting)

Wine Spectator 91 (2006 vintage): Very rich up front, with dried melon, tangerine, clementine and blanched almond notes laid over an almost oily frame, but then mouthwatering acidity and a bright minerality come in to help define and extend the finish. Drink now through 2009. –JM

2005 Taburnum Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes2005 Taburnum
Appellation: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes
Varietal: 100% viognier
Price: $55
Tasting Notes: Golden honey in the glass.  A beautiful bouquet right off the bat, like honey drizzled over white peaches, flowers and polished rocks.  This wine smells sweet but it’s dry in the mouth, full-bodied and balanced.  There’s a vibrant acidity and minerality with flavors of apple, mandarine, pear, and peach, leaving an apple sauce finish.  A very expressive and complex wine.  500 cases produced.
Rating: 15+/20 (Second favorite wine of the tasting)

Wine Spectator 93: Bold, with white peach, green fig, blanched almond and persimmon notes. The long, creamy finish really glides nicely, with buried minerality stretching it all out. Brings you back for more. Drink now through 2011. –JM

2007 Cépées Caties Condrieu2007 Cépées Caties
Appellation: Condrieu, North Rhone
Varietal: 100% viognier
Price: Approx. $50
Tasting Notes: Golden in the glass.  Very interesting nose with noble rotish, car factory aromas, as well as spicy white raisins and a light sherry flor nuance.  A very sweet and low acidity wine with a syrupy texture.  There are flavors of honey, baked apple, stewed prunes and a very long and lingering finish of raisins.  The finish followed me for over 15 minutes!  1,300 cases produced.
Rating: 14/20

Wine Spectator 92 (2004 vintage): Maple syrup in color, with a green edge, this exotic stickie sports intense date, green tea, clove and chocolate covered orange peel flavors and a long, vibrant finish. Almost Sherry-like in the end. Try with blue cheese and salted almonds. Drink now through 2010. –JM

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