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2009 Bastide St. Dominique, Cuvee Jules Rochebonne, Cotes du Rhone Villages

April 28, 2011 Comments off

Like the 2009 Les Argiles Rouge the 2009 vintage of Jules Rochebonne is an excellent followup to the 2007 vintage.  This vintage sports a new label that is contemporary and dark. The wine is blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache.  The Syrah comes from vineyards in Champovin and Bois Lauzon that are 15-35 years of age.  The vineyards are located on north and south oriented hill sides of stony soil.  It aged 18 months in vats for the Grenache and barrel for the Syrah.

2009 Bastide St. Dominique, Cuvee Jules Rochebonne, Cotes du Rhone Villages
After a few hours of air it becomes relatively open.  There is a nose of earth and dark fruits.  In the mouth there are slightly earthy, dark blue fruits, and herbs.  There are some coarse tannins followed by dark red fruit in the finish.  The aftertaste sports slightly tart, complex flavors.  Consistent in profile with previous vintages, it is best to cellar this for a few years.  ***(*) Now-2019.

Recent French Wines

November 7, 2016 Leave a comment


The time I spend on research continues unabated but I am still tasting wine every day. Here is a group of tasting notes from the most recently consumed French wines.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2014 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Cuvee Jules Rochebonne, Cotes du Rhone – $18
Imported by Simon N’ Cellars. This wine is a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache.  The former was aged for 18 months in stainless steel tanks and the later for 18 months in oak barrels. Alcohol 14.5%.  There is a complex, meaty, black fruited nose which takes on a tobacco and smoke hint.  In the mouth are some bitter black fruit, coarser, spaced-out tannins, and that ethereal flavor consistent with this cuvee.  There is the meaty Syrah component but the wine tightens up with air.  Might rate higher with age.  *** 2018-2023.

2015 Camille Cayran, L’Elegante, Cairanne – $15
Imported by G & B Importers.  This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Carignan, and 20% Mourvedre.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose sports good perfume, violets, and pepper hints.  In the mouth it is still a bit tight with focused blue and black fruit.  There is a dense, citrus, and powdery flavored middle.  It softens a touch with an inky finish and some fine pencil notes.  This still needs a year to relax the drying tannins.  *** 2017-2020.

2014 Olga Raffault, Les Barnabes, Chinon – $18
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  Alcohol 13%.  The floral, leaning towards vegetal nose makes way to black fruit flavors in the mouth.  Saline flavors give a sense of weight but tart, vegetal black fruit comes out.  This salty wine has edge acidity and is more for short term drinking.  ** Now – 2018.

2015 Herve Souhaut, Syrah, Vin de France -$27
Imported by Williams Corner Wine.  Alcohol 13%.  There are gentle, attractive flavors of violets and orange flavored fruit.  The dry structure is apparent from the start as is the moderately watery and juicy acidity which carries through the dry flavors of graphite in the finish.  The wine does come across with some vibrancy and with air shows that it needs time to develop.  ***(*) 2018-2023.

2015 Domaine de la Voute des Crozes, Cotes de Brouilly – $17
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose is subtle yet bright.  The tart red fruited entry does build weight into the linear, citric acidity infused middle.  There is a touch of ethereal, ripe powdery flavors but that tart start never leaves one’s mind.  It finishes with salivating acidity and a ripe hint of citric fruit and tannins left on the gum. **(*) 2017-2020.

A group of mostly red Rhones

The 2013 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Cuvee Jules Rochebonne, Cotes du Rhone is the latest vintage of a cuvee I have long liked.  The flavors will evoke previous vintages but this 2013 offering is a bit firm with less intensity.  It is still a wine worthing drinking for its flavor.  A sound value in black, minerally Gigondas is the 2012 Domaine Le Clos des Cazaux, La Tour Sarrasine, Gigondas.  This is quite tight with a does of tannins typical of Gigondas so give it a few years in the cellar.  I was not prepared for the beautiful nose and flavors of the 2014 Domaine de Coste Chaude, Cuvee Madrigal, Cotes du Rhone Villages Visan.  This floral wine already shows good complexity all around but should please for several more years to come.  If you want to drink liquid rocks then look no further than the 2013 Lafage, Tessellae, Cotes Catalanes.  This lovely value should hit its stride later this year.  Priced at $12 the 2013 Kermit Lynch, Cypress Cuvee, Cotes du Rhone will provide a bit of everything you may want from a Cotes du Rhone.   Drink this gentle wine by the case.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.


2013 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Cuvee Jules Rochebonne, Cotes du Rhone – $18
Imported by Simon N’ Cellars. This wine is a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache.  The former was aged for 18 months in stainless steel tanks and the later for 18 months in oak barrels. Alcohol 14.5%. The good nose smells of perfumed young fruit. In the mouth this wine is definitely firm with a dose of tannins. The flavors are lighter but true to the cuvee. It wraps up with another dose of structure, some vanilla, and a bit of roughness. **(*) 2017-2023.


2012 Domaine Le Clos des Cazaux, La Tour Sarrasine, Gigondas – $20
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils. This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre sourced from vines averaging 50 years of age. Alcohol 14.5%. There is a dark start before red and eventually black, mineral flavors come out. There is a touch of inky lipstick. This is a rather mineral wine with dry flavors. Clearly young, this leaves very fine tannins on the gums. ***(*) 2018-2023.


2014 Domaine de Coste Chaude, Cuvee Madrigal, Cotes du Rhone Villages Visan – $15
Imported by DS Trading Company. This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, and 30% Syrah. Alcohol 14.5%. The nose is floral with young spiced fruit. Actually, it is quite beautiful. The purple and black fruited flavors are dry with a persistant floral quality. The flavors build in ripeness yet there is a dry texture through the finish. The acidity, though integrated, is very much present. With air the wine takes on more weight with minerals and a very dry, firm, bitter flavored finish. *** Now – 2020.


2013 Lafage, Tessellae, Cotes Catalanes – $15
Imported by Eric Solomon/ European Cellars.  This wine is 100% old-vine Carignan sourced from schist soils.  Alcohol 14.5%. The bright, yet firm black and red fruit took some some black, ripe flavors by the finish. The wine tastes as if sourced from stone soils with watering acidity and a building intensity of minerals and stones. Needs a wee bit of age to open up. **(*) 2016-2020.


2013 Kermit Lynch, Cypress Cuvee, Cotes du Rhone – $12
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This blend of mostly Grenache with Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvedre is sourced from vines averaging 40 years of age.  It was fermented and aged in cement tanks.  Alcohol 13.5 %. The linear black fruit flavors have a ripeness matched by the coarse tannins. The wine becomes gentler towards the finish with a light amount of structure and watering acidity suitable for a wee bit of age. I just wish the fruit intensity stepped up at the end. ** 2016-2019.


Two More 2010 Cotes du Rhone

For the second vintage in a row the La Grange de Piaugier is in the top group of my favorite affordable wines.  While it is an appealing wine for weekly drinking or big parties, it certainly stands up to more serious scrutiny.  Starting with the 2005 vintage the Cuvee Jules Rochebonne has been a standout wine for me.  It always evoked earthy, dark, old school flavors.  The 2010 vintage shows traits of these earlier vintages but this bottle was really shutdown.  It should be retasted in several years.  The Piaugier is currently available at MacArthur Beverages.

Sophie Autran of Domaine de Piaugier kindly answered some of my questions.  Thank you!  The La Grange de Piaugier is produced from 15-year-old Grenache vines in Sablet, 15-year-old Syrah vines, and 40-year-old Carignan and Cinsault planted by Jean-Marc’s father.  Indeed this cuvee is the only one which incorporates the Carignan and Cinsault.  The varietals are co-fermented with indigenous yeasts for 10 days in concrete vats before aging for 8 months in concrete vats.

2010 Domaine de Piaugier, La Grange de Piaugier, Cotes du Rhone – $12
Imported by DS Trading. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault, and Syrah sourced from 15-45-year-old vines. It was aged in tank.  The color is almost a medium, purple ruby.  Drunk over two nights it delivers a good scented nose which is fresh and framed with red and black fruit along with ripe floral notes.  The mouth follows the nose with good acidity and a touch spicy tannins.  Quite appealing. *** Now-2017.

2010 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Cuvee Jules Rochebonne, Cotes du Rhone – $18
Imported by Simon N” Cellars.  The wine is blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache sourced from 15-35 year old vines.  It was aged 18 months in vats for the Grenache and barrel for the Syrah.  The tight nose lets escape bright red fruit than seen in previous vintages.    This is at most a medium-bodied wine with old-school Syrah notes.  The wine is both restrained and rather young.  There are notes of pencil, fine tannins which coat the lips, and watering acidity.  With a lot of air some black berries and spice come out.  Definitely cellar this for several years before trying again.  **(*) 2015-2022.

2007s From La Bastide Saint Dominique

January 17, 2012 Leave a comment

As promised we tasted the 2007 La Bastide Saint Dominique Les Argiles Rouge and Cuvee Jules Rochebonne over the weekend.  Always well-priced, these two cuvees work well as daily or weekly selections.  I find they are approachable from release and last for several years.  The Les Argiles Rouge is more forward whereas the Cuvee Jules Rochebonne reveals old-school flavors from the greater percentage of Syrah.  These wines were purchased from MacArthurs.

2007 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Les Argiles Rouge, Vieilles Vignes, Cotes du Rhone – $15
Imported by Simon “N” Cellars.  This sports a grittier nose than the Cuvee Jules Rochebonne.  The flamboyant beginning shows up-front sweet, ripe fruit.  The flavors turn towards black fruits in the finish as a grainy texture comes out.  On the second night, the finely textured fruit develops spices and the slightest hint of stones.  A good drink.

2007 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Cuvee Jules Rochebonne, Cotes du Rhone – $18
Imported by Simon “N” Cellars.  This wine is a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache with the Syrah sourced from the best parcels in Champovin and Bois Lauzan.  The wine is aged 18 months in oak barrels for the Syrah and vat for the Grenache.  The nose reveals mixed berries.  In the mouth the flavors are youthful, focused and while not particularly complex they show great depth.  The flavors are ripe in the middle with subtle spice notes.  The long aftertaste builds with time.  Will develop over the short-term.

Three Selections From the Rhone

January 14, 2012 Leave a comment

These three wines were originally drunk a month or so ago.  I forgot we had tasted Reserve Saint Dominique and Domaine Pelaquie  so I recently purchased them again. Though I try to drink as diversely as possible, I certainly do drink additional bottles which are particularly enjoyable.  My tasting notes are typically revised over two nights so trying another bottle helps account for bottle variations.  I am a big fan of La Bastide Saint Dominique with a particular soft spot for the Cuvee Jules Rochebonne and Les Argiles Rouge but we did not enjoy this 2010 Vacqueyras.  In searching this blog I realize I have not yet posted on the 2007 vintages of Cuvee Jules Rochebonne and Les Argiles Rouge, I will do so this week, I have loved each and every bottle we have drunk.  The 2010 Domaine Pelaquie is a solid buy, there is good vigor for a cold winter’s night but also the ability to develop for a few years.    Having now drunk three selections from Hecht & Bannier from the 2007 vintage, I find that the 2007 Hecht & Bannier, Minervois hits a sweet spot in terms of aroma, flavor, and price.  While the this Languedoc will remind you of sunny southern-France it is best to spend the extra $5 on the Minervois.

2010 Reserve Saint Dominique, Vacqueyras – $18
Imported by Simon “N” Cellars. There is a subtle, youthful nose with underlying hints of blackberries and some sweet, blackcurrant. There are black and red fruit flavors, some creamy character, and  a large amount of fine, very drying tannins.  Lots of acidity. There were some berry and floral flavors in the aftertaste.   Plain and boring on the second night with tart fruit.  In the end, this remained restrained in flavors and heavily tannic.  It certainly needs several years of age.

2010 Domaine Pelaquie, Lirac – $15
Imported by Oslo Enterprise.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Mourvedre sourced from 25-year-old vines.  There is a light grapey nose with delicate berries.  In the mouth the hard red fruit mixes with herbs and gravelly fruits.  There are cranberry notes as acidity comes ou in the back of the mouth.  It wraps up with dusty tannins.  On the second night Jenn found flavors of “black licorice”.  It certainly starts off with riper fruit before taking a wild character with a wee bit of heat in the finish.  Drink now for vigor or cellar for the short-term.

2007 Hecht & Bannier, Languedoc – $12
Imported by Frederick Wildman and Sons.  This wine is 80% Syrah, 10% Grenache, and 10% Carignan.  This was a fresh and sunny wine with grapier red fruit and some minerals.  The flavors turned bluer midpalate as plenty of acidity came out.  This is an easy-going wine.

2009 Chateauneuf du Pape and 2009 Coteaux Languedoc

November 22, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m a huge fan of the La Bastide Saint Dominique, Cuvee Jules Rochebonne so it was exciting to try the Chateauneuf du Pape.  It is surprisingly accessible with enjoyable, clean fruit that will appeal to many.  The Mas des Dames shows more structure and will reward a few years of cellaring.  The La Bastide Saint Dominique is imported by Simon “N” Cellars and available for $30 at MacArthurs.  The Mas des Dames is imported by Vintage ’59 Imports and available for $17.  I do not have enough experience with Chateauneuf du Pape from the 2009 vintage but it seems to be an affordable introduction.  The Mas des Dames could be cellared while you drink the La Bastide Saint Dominique.

2009 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Chateauneuf du Pape
This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Cinsault sourced from vines 25-80 years old and aged for 18 months.  This wine starts off with amazingly pure aromas and flavors of blueberries.  Then with air it develops into jammy red and blue fruit that gains complexity.  There is a good powdery feel in this easy to drink, textured, balanced wine.  There is a wee bit of heat. **(**) 2015-2020.

2009 Mas des Dames, La Dame, Coteaux Languedoc
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Carignan, and 20% Syrah.  There is a light nose of berries, floral notes, and fresh herbs.  In the mouth the red fruit is medium bodied with immediate flavors of dried herbs.  There is a slightly piercing acidity with light but vigorous tannins.  It is structured with stones.  The fruit puts on some weight in the mouth before it becomes a little woodsy with drying tannins in the finish.  I would cellar this for a few years. **(*) 2015-2020.

2009 Lirac and Tavel from Domaine de la Mordoree

Mordoree, Image from Kysela Pere et Fils

Christopher Delorme’s father was a huntsman so named his estate after the local name for woodcock, MordoreeLa Dame Rousse translates as “The Redheaded Lady” and La Reine de Bois as the “Queen of the Woods.”  This is a relatively young estate created in 1986.  He started with 5 hecateres in Chateauneuf du Pape and has now expanded to 60 hectares in eight districts.  Last year he began the 3-year process for biologic certification.

Geological profile of Lirac, Image from Mordoree

The domaine attemps to be as natural as possible.  To encourage natural bacteria, worms, and insects they incorporate wood and plant debris, and straw.  Nothing is divulged on how the wines are vinified.  It is purposefully kept a secret.

Geological profile of Tavel, Image from Mordoree

The wines of Mordoree are imported by Kysela Pere et Fils and are readily available at Calvert-Woodley and MacArthurs.  The Lirac is $18 and the Tavel is normally $22 but I bought the final bottle from last year’s vintage for $10!  I’ll have to try the current vintage to see if I made a good purchase.  Normally I would not recommend buying a one year old rose but this Tavel is more like a very light red wine.

2009 Domaine de la Mordoree, La Dame Rousse, Tavel
This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, and 10% Clairette from 40 year old vines.  The vineyard  soil is comprise of clay and chalk mixed with sand and pebble stones.  The grapes are harvested by hand.  This bottle was drunk over two nights.  It has a very vibrant, cranberry color in the bottle.  It is very, very light with a tinge of garnet.  There is a light+ nose with lots of tight, sharp red aromas, cherries, and minerals.  In the mouth it is a medium-bodied wine with some sweet, creamy red flavors, gobs of minerals, and a bit of heat.  It is definitely robust for a rose.  It drank well over two nights and is certainly a good value at $10.  ** Now.

2009 Mordoree, La Dame Rousse, Lirac

2009 Domaine de la Mordoree, La Dame Rousse, Lirac
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah from 50 year old vines.  The vineyard soil is comprised of clay, chalk with clay, and limestone and sand with pebble stones.  The grapes are harvested by hand.  This is a dark wine.  The nose shows primary, dark red fruit.  In the mouth there are more dark fruits in this dense wine.  It is a modern style, very tight and ungiving.  There are plenty of new tannins.  With several hours of air gritty, purple fruit flavors develop and some inkiness.  This seriously needs to be aged.  For similar cost I prefer the 2009 Bastide St. Dominique, Jules Rochebonne which is showing more complexity in its youth. **(*) 2017-2022.

Five Tasty Wines From the Rhone, All Below $21.

June 10, 2008 1 comment

Good afternoon,

I’m plowing through as many affordable Rhone wines that Jenn and I can. Even with the weak dollar there are many tasty, affordable new releases out there. Jenn and I liked all five wines listed below. We really liked the Roubine and are going to re-taste it against some other Vacqueyras this week. I’m always happy when I come across a syrah that is dark and earthy like the Bastide St. Dominique. I’d personally pony up the extra $2 to get the St. Damien CdR over the Montirius CdR. If you throw in the St. Cosme, Little James’ Basket Press you can get 4 qpr wines in the $10-$12 range. That’s great! The first four wines can certainly benefit from some aging.

2005 Domaine la Roubine, Vacqueyras – $20
The La Roubine vineyards have been around for decades but they first made and bottled their own vintage in 2000. They currently use half of their grapes for their wines. They were initially inspired by St Cosme and La Bouissiere. This wine is 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre. The Grenache and Mourvedre vines are 50-80 years old and the Syrah vines are 10-15 years old. It is fermented in concrete tanks with wild yeasts. It is aged for 12 months, half of the wine is aged in small barrels (15% new and the rest 1-6 yeras old) and the other half in concrete tank. This wine is rather opaque, with a youthful ruby with purple color. There is a light nose of perfurmed blue fruits. In the mouth the perfumed blue fruits appear, almost violet in flavor, with a slight inkiness and minerality. The very fine tannins expand from the beginning coating the cheeks. The wine finishes with a coating of tannins, somewhat round fruit, and a good depth of flavor. This is a very good Vacqueyras that can be drunk now if you decant it for several hours but it is best to age it.

2005 La Bastide St-Dominique, Cuvee Jules Rochebonne, Cotes du Rhone – $21
This cuvee is 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache. Light to medium opaque in the glass. There is a light nose that Jenn described as, “everything-bagel toasted with butter.” It is a round wine, tilting towards cool, dark fruits, earthiness, and some minerals. There are fine tannins in the finish and a long, dark, inky aftertaste. It is in an old-school style that I love.

2006 Domaine St. Damien, Vieilles Vignes, Cotes du Rhone – $12
This wine is 90% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre and Carignan. These 50 year old vines are located on the Plan de Dieu. A light nose of more structured red fruit, with an almost peppery, spiced nose. The color is purple-garnet, more purple than the St. Cosme Little James’ Basket Press. In the mouth there is redder fruit in this structured wine then some mid-palate acidity. There are good, fine tannins throughout. Blue fruits and softness developed on the second day. I was a big fan of the 2004 and am a big fan of this one as well.

2006 Domaine La Garrigue, Cuvee Romaine, Cotes du Rhone – $12
This wine needs no introduction as it is always mentioned on the board. It is a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah much of which is from Vacqueyras. This vintage has a light nose of red and dark fruit. There is dark red fruit in the mouth with darker fruit in the middle. The wine is close to medium bodied with very fine tannins throughout. There are young tannins at the finish. It drank great on the second day.

2006 Domaine Montirius, Cotes du Rhone – $10
The domaine has made Vacqueyras and Gigondas cuvees in the past but have recently introduced a Cotes du Rhone. This wine is a blend of 73% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre. I didn’t jot down any notes but it is an affordable wine worth trying. It has a bit less complexity than the St. Damien and La Garrigue and won’t last as long. It is certainly worth the $10.