Les Crêtes: Wine from a French family in Italy
I am now writing from the new house which we moved into this past Friday. Despite immediately unpacking a good portion of the kitchen, we were too tired to cook so we ordered Peruvian chicken for dinner. Not wanting to open anything precious and having no desire to write down any notes, I popped open a bottle of NV Patrick Bottex, La Cueille, Bugey-Cerdon to drink in the living room. Its generous fruit made it appropriate for one glass. After dinner Lou came over bearing a bottle of 2012 Ar.Pe.Pe, Rosso di Valtellina made from old Chiavennasca or Nebbiolo vines located near the Italian-Swiss border. Let’s just say it was delicious and deserves to be re-tasted! I opened a pair of inexpensive Cotes du Rhone red wines that proved to be very different in style. The 2012 Eric Texier, Chat Fou, Cotes du Rhone was quite complex and more ethereal in nature. A must try. The 2012 Domaine de la Janasse, Reserve, Cotes du Rhone has darker, concentrated flavors and an aura of strength. You really should drink the former while the later ages for a few years. I will follow up on these wines at some point in the future. Despite mostly drinking the same wines during this transition period, I have continued to taste with enough variety, that I brought boxes of empty bottles to the new house. I will eventually work through my backlog of tasting notes, tastings, and historical work. Just bear with me. I feel like I have finally regained my energy.
Amongst the first tasting notes taken at the new house are this pair of Les Crêtes. Produced by the French Charrère family, this estate is actually located in northwest Italy. The family moved into the area in the 1700s but it was not until 1955 that they planted their first vines with the estate proper developed in 1989. The vineyards are located at elevations of 500 – 1000m which extends the harvest dates. It also makes for a pair of lovely wines. The 2013 Les Crêtes, Pinot Noir, Valle d’Aosta showed its best on the second night at which point it was aromatic and lively with orange accented fruit. I really liked it but suspect it will show its proper best this fall or winter. The 2012 Les Crêtes, Syrah, Coteau la Tour, Valle d’Aosta tasted great on both nights. What grabbed my attention was the racy, mineral aspects that existed from the start. It is the more forward of the pair so it currently shows the best. I do think there are some wood notes that should continue to integrate through the winter. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2013 Les Crêtes, Pinot Noir, Valle d’Aosta – $19
Imported by Monsieur Touton. This wine is 100% Pinot Noir which was fermented in stainless steel then aged for six months in stainless steel barrels. Alcohol 12.5%. The nose opened up on the second night to offer fresh red berries. In the mouth the varietal flavor was lively on the tongue tip. It revealed an orange hint that developed into a proper citrus infused middle that matched the riper yet precise flavors. There was watering acidity. This was really quite pretty with attractive floral notes. **(*) 2016-2019.
2012 Les Crêtes, Syrah, Coteau la Tour, Valle d’Aosta – $26
Imported by Monsieur Touton. This wine is 100% Syrah which was fermented in stainless steel then aged for 12 months in 300 liter French barrels. Alcohol 14%. There was an attractive, rather focused racy bit of flavor enveloped by cranberry red fruit. There was nice texture as the wine left lingering red and black flavors on the gums. There were some oak and leather notes. **(*) Now-2019.