Posts Tagged ‘Cornas’

A Pair of Wines from Vincent Paris

The wines of Vincent Paris are new to the shelves in Washington, DC.  Vincent first made wine under his uncle Robert Michel.  Having produced his first wine in 2007 he went out on his own renting winemaking facilities while he builds a new one.  He sources fruit from some eight hectares of vineyards, including one hectare of 90+ year old vines inherited from his grandfather and rented from his uncle.  He has also planted Viognier and Roussanne on north-facing slopes in Cornas.  His holdings in Saint-Joseph amount to 1.5 hectares with 4.7 hectares in Cornas.  He does not use any chemical in the vineyards and prunes to four bunches per vine.  He ferments his wine at low temperatures and ages them for 12 months in oak barrels.

We tasted both of these wines over the course of four evenings.  They both have pure, clean flavors, acidity which is present, and supportive structure.  The Saint-Joseph remained the most accessible of the pair but it should still be cellared for a few years.  There are many enjoyable aspects to this wine and at the price it is worth laying several bottles down.  It is a crime to drink Cornas at such a young age but it is still important for me to try such wines for experience.   This bottle remained unapologetically tight but it still revealed the potential for an interesting future.  I am confident that it will develop with age but to what extent I cannot yet tell.  It is well priced for Cornas so why not stash at least one bottle in your cellar?  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.


2010 Vincent Paris Selection, Saint-Joseph – $22
Imported by Potomac Selections.  This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from 10 and 20-year-old vines on granite soils at 300 meters.  The fruit is fermented in 66% barrel and 33% tank then aged for 12 months in oak barrels.  Alcohol 13%.  The color was a light to medium grapey, ruby.  The light nose had purple fruit aromas, pepper, and eventually a touch of smoke and meat.  In the mouth the flavors were focused with clean and pure fruit along with black minerals.  There was firm acidity on the tongue and fine grapey tannins.  The flavors became a little savory, taking on some weight, and expanding a bit.  Young.  **(*) 2015-2026.


2011 Domaine Vincent Paris, Granit 30, Cornas – $33
This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from 30-year-old vines on granite soils at a 30 degree slope at 300 meters.  The fruit is destemmed then fermented with indigenous yeast in concrete tank and aged for 12 months in used barrels.  Alcohol 13%.  The light nose was very finely scented with a touch of lees then perfume.  In the mouth there was focused and firm flavors of tart red and black fruit, with hints of good flavors yet to come.  There was little, expansive burst of flavor in the finish.  There were very fine, grapey and drying tannins which stuck to the lips.  With extended air there were more tart red fruit and citric tannins.  Young.  **(**) 2016-2030.

A Pair of 2003 Northern Rhone Wines

One year ago we tried a bottle of 2003 Domaine Michel Ogier, La Rosine and found that bottle to be cracking up. Since then a few others have enjoyed this wine so I decided to give it another go.  This time we paired it with the 2003 Jean Luc Colombo, Les Ruchets which was on the dump stack.  This second bottle of La Rosine showed so much better with attractive smoke, earth, and roast on the nose followed by meat and wood box in the mouth.  It projected personality.  The Les Ruchets saw a higher percentage of new oak for a longer period of time.  Despite using fruit from vines planted in the 1920s I perceived less personality from the flavors and more from the structure of the wine.  I suspect it will live for quite some time but I think it best drunk over the near term.  While I was glad to have paid the discounted dump-bin price rather than twice as much I recommend you stick with the La Rosine.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.


2003 Domaine Michel Ogier, La Rosine, Vdp Collines Rhodaniennes – $20
Imported by Robert Kacher.  This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from vines planted in 1988 and the later 1990s.  The wine receives 14 months with 10% new oak and 90% in 2-year-old barrels which raised Cote-Rotie.  Alcohol 12%.  The nose was light to medium with smoke, earth, and roast.  In the mouth there was tart red fruit to start along with black acidity on the tongue.  There was a gentle weight with slightly flavors of meat and wood box in the finish.  The fruit was quite clean with light black and red fruits mixing with minerals.  The acidity was clean as well.  *** Now-2018.


2003 Jean Luc Colombo, Les Ruchets, Cornas – $20
Imported by Palm Bay Imports.  This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from 90+ year old vines from the 1.6 hectare Chaillot parcel.  The fruit was destemmed, fermented in stainless steel then aged for 18 months in 70% new oak barrels.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There was a light, meaty nose with the slightest hint of fresh pepper.  The mouth brought black and red fruit, pepper, acidity, and fine ripe tannins.  The flavors turned drier in the finish which was textured rather than flavorful.  With air acidity enlivened red fruit came out midpalate along with more roundness and balance.  ** Now – 2018.


A Lovely Evening of Northern Rhone Wine

January 8, 2013 2 comments

This past weekend a small group gathered in my dining room for a casual wine tasting.  Present were Lou, Phil, Roland, Andy, and myself.  Though the theme of Northern Rhone was picked just 24 hours in advance we ended up with a range of wines from 1995 to 2011 representing France, Washington, and Maryland.  Of the Northern Rhone wines there were four wines from Cote-Rotie, two from Cornas, one from Hermitage, one from Crozes-Hermitage, one from Saint-Joseph, and one from the Ardeche.  Two ringers in the form of Cayuse Vineyards and Black Ankle Vineyards were included.  All of the wines were served blind.

It was a fun evening.  Every person has a deeply set love for wine and a noticeable curiosity about what is in their glass.  I believe all enjoyed the wines for the conversation kept weaving back to the wines and regions amongst noises of approval.  I honestly prefer tasting wines when the people I am with and their remarks keep drawing me away from my notes.  Wine is a social beverage and is best drunk when the people you are with are just as much of a draw as the wines themselves.

I started off the tasting by serving the 2011 Syncline, Grenache Blanc blind.  This was one of the only white Rhone inspired white wines in my basement.  I have become curious to try Washington State Grenache Blanc so I thought it would be a fun start.  New World was concluded with Washington and Oregon narrowed down based on my travels.


Starter – 2011 Syncline, Grenache Blanc, Boushey Vineyard, Yakima Valley
This wine is 100% Grenache Blanc which was whole-cluster pressed, fermented with indigeneous yeasts, racked into older French oak, no malolactic fermentation, and aged on the lees for roughly five months.  Alcohol 14.1%.  The nose was lighter and brighter with focused white fruit and tree fruit.  In the mouth there was fresh, acidity driven fruit, a little hint of toast, and a citric finish.  It has a bit of grip, along with some tartness and leaves the overall impression of youth and freshness.  On the second night there was a core of grippy white fruit, tart green apple flavors, and enjoyable tannins in the aftertaste.  I was surprised by the quality of the acidity.  *** Now-2015.


The red wines were tasted in flights of three.  In retrospect I could have grouped these by age but being more interested in not know what we were tasting I automatically mixed them up.  I do not think this harmed any perspectives.  Unfortunately the 1996 Paul Jaboulet Aine, Hermitage La Chapelle was not drinkable and the 1995 Chapoutier, La Mordoree, Cote-Rotie was only made somewhat drinkable by additional decanting.  The 2008 Barret, Brise Cailloux, Cornas was an oddity and I think showing too many flaws.  Shame.

There was a lovely glass to be found in the 2008 Cayuse, Syrah, Armada.  Perfumed, effortless, and elegant it was easy to grasp why this was one of two bottles to be finished.  The only other finished bottle was the 2010 Champet, La Vialliere, Cote-Rotie.  While young there is strong attraction to this old-school wine which should develop quite nicely.  The 1998 Ogier, Cote-Rotie stood out with its striking nose.  The flavors could not quite keep up but it was a beautiful wine overall.  Perhaps the biggest surprise came from the 1998 Tardieu-Laurent, Crozes-Hermitage.  Tardieu-Laurent’s northern Rhone wines do very well with the Syrah easily absorbing all of the new oak.  This bottle had been kicked about the shop floor a bit but despite the figurative footprints the wine inside was a treat.

The 2003 Durand, Cornas is hybrid between the old with its earth and vintage perfume and the new with forward, ripe fruit.  A bit of an oddity in that combination but this drank great on the second night and should develop for some time.  The 1999 J. Vidal-Fleury, Brune et Blonde, Cote-Rotie is perfectly mature and complete in what it is, which provides for a good glass.  The 2003 Corbis, Les Royes, Saint-Joseph is a very solid glass of wine and while it drank well on the second night, it may not gain much more complexity so I would drink it now.  The 2007 Black Ankle, Leaf Stone Syrah stood out with its candy and sweetness but it was a great start for the second night.  I doubt anyone guessed Maryland.  Ed said the 2007 is more New World and the 2008 is Old World.  I should like to try the 2008.  Lastly the 2011 Gonnon, Les Iles Feray which was literally and figuratively the youngest of all the red wines.  Produced from vineyards located right next to Saint-Joseph this showed unique flavors and worthy of seeking out for the cellar or wine fridge.


1 – 1996 Paul Jaboulet Aine, La Chapelle, Hermitage
Imported by Frederick Wildman and Sons.  This wine is 100% Syrah sourced primarily from Meal, Bessards, and Greffieux.  All of the fruit is destemmed and crushed with fermentation in a mix of concrete and steel vats.  It is aged between 13-17 months in some to no new oak.  Alcohol 13.5%.  Double-decanted right before tasting.  The color was a tired, medium tawny garnet.  There was a firm nose which smelled old. In the mouth the firmer palate was tired, perhaps a touch of ripe fruit, but showing past prime.  Not Rated.


2 – 2010 Domaine Joel Champet, La Vialliere, Cote-Rotie
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from the three hectare vineyard of La Vialliere which was fully planted in 1999.  The fruit is not destalked, fermentation is in concrete vats followed by 18 months of age in < 10% new foudres.  Alcohol 12.5%.  Opened right before tasting.  There was a lovely nose of young fruit and pepper.  In the mouth there was tarter, focused black fruit which took on weighty, ripe red fruit.  There was fine grip, old-school personality, and fine drying tannins.  A powerful, balanced wine which is young with a very strong future ahead.  ***(*) 2018-2028.


3 – 2003 Domaine Corbis, Les Royes, Saint Joseph
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from 12 hectares of vineyards on Les Royes with soils of limestone and clay.  The fruit is destemmed, undergoes punch downs, pump overs, and emptying/refilling.  It is aged for one year in 33% new, 33% one year, and 33% two year old casks.  Alcohol 14%.  Double-decanted half an hour prior to tasting.  The color was a light to medium garnet.  The light nose was tight with dark, earthy aromas.  In the mouth there was red, weighty fruit, some vanilla, a little red candy, and tart acidity.  There was a  fine wood box flavor and good density to the fruit which had a sexy personality.  On the second night the nose became more restrained.  In the mouth the black and red fruit was dense with a light, creamy feel.  There was subtle black fruit, minerals.  The acidity and flavors were fresh, almost Eucalyptus like.  There were fine polish and drying tannins in the aftertaste which stuck to the gums.  Should last for some time but might be best now.  Better on first night. *** Now-2018.


4 – 2008 Cayuse Vineyards, Syrah, Armada, Walla Walla Valley
This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from the Armada Vineyard planted in 2001.  It was aged for 22 months in puncheons.  Alcohol 14.2%.  Decanted for two hours prior to tasting.  The color was a medium, garnet ruby.  There was a beautiful, effortless nose of perfumed fruit.  In the mouth there was lovely weight to the fruit which bore gentle power and subtle creaminess.  There was black fruit in the finish along with a minerally bit.  Well integrated all around.  With air it took on an orange peel note.  This should age well.  Elegant!  **** Now-2023.


5 – 1998 Tardieu-Laurent, Crozes-Hermitage
Imported by Bacchus Importers.  Alcohol %.  Double-decanted half an hour prior to tasting.  The color was a light to medium garnet.  The nose has more old wood and a touch of smoke.  In the mouth it was an interesting wine with dark red fruit, minerals, and a more upright personality than #4.  There was a youthful core of fruit which matched a good structure.  On the second night this was still drinking well and took on elegance.  **** Now-2023.


6 – 2007 Black Ankle Vineyards, Leaf Stone Syrah, Frederick County
This wine is 91% Syrah, 4% Pinot Noir, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Merlot which was aged for 18 months in 100% new French oak.  Alcohol 14.6%.  Double-decanted half an hour prior to tasting.  The light nose revealed more candy aromas with ripe fruit and a barrel note.  In the mouth the riper fruit has good weight, sweetness, and a forward personality.  It was mouthfilling with a touch of powder.  On the second night the good weight continued with cool black cherry fruit, a creamy texture, and some raciness towards the finish.  There was a bit of black licorice and some barrel sweetness.  *** Now-2020.


7 – 2003 Eric & Joel Durand, Cornas
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from three hectares in Chaillot, Champelrose, Sauman, and Tezier.  The fruit is destemmed, fermented in regulated vats then undergoes malolactic fermentation in oak casks where it is aged for 12 months in 10-15% new oak casks.  Alcohol 14%.  Opened one hour prior to tasting.  The red nose offered up some candy aromas.  In the mouth there were flavors of red candy and strawberry with some ripeness.  There was a tang on the sides of the tongue followed by very fine, drying tannins.  On the second night the weighty fruit showed more complexity with minerality, black flavors, structure in the middle, and good acidity.  Then there were earthy and vintage perfume notes.  A nice wine which continued to drink with confidence on the second night.  ***(*) Now-2028.


8 – 1995 M. Chapoutier, La Mordoree, Cote Rotie
Imported by Paterno Imports.  This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from the oldest vineyards in Brune and Blonde which date back to the 1940s.  The fruit is destemmed, fermented in open wood vessels then aged for 15-20 months in 50% new oak casks.  Alcohol 12.8%.  Double-decanted right before tasting.  The color was a light to medium tawny garnet.  The light nose was tight with older aromas.  Decanting certainly helped but older, drying fruit remained.  There was firm black fruit, tartness, acidity, and a general lack of giving up anything. * Now.


9 – 1998 Domaine Michel Ogier, Cote-Rotie
This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from lieux-dits Lancement (1979), Cote Rozier (1950s), Champon (early 1990s), and But de Mont (1988).  which is aged for 18 months in 30% new oak casks.  Opened right before tasting.  The nose was striking and stood out with smoke, vintage perfume, and pepper.  The flavors were tart on the tip of the tongue.  This salty wine slowly expanded in the mouth and does show some age.  At first the mouth was not as good as the nose but with air it eventually opened up.  There were lots of red fruit, a little citrus, and on the second night an earthy and bloody aspect.  **** Now-2023.


10 – 1999 J Vidal-Fleury, Brune et Blonde, Cote Rotie
Imported by W. J. Deutsch & Sons.  This wine is 95-97% Syrah and 3-5% Viognier sourced only from estate vineyards averaging 40 years of age.  It is aged up to three years in 50 hl barrels. Alcohol 13%.  Opened right before tasting.  The color was a medium garnet.  The nose bore older, ripe aromas with a fine quality and perhaps a touch of veg.  In the mouth the fruit bore riper weight, expansive in the mouth, and a younger personality compared to the nose.  There was a little cedar note and black fruit in the finish.  On the second night the wine was softer with gentle red fruit, wood box notes, and some puckering acidity.  There was a little earthy component.  Despite the good level of maturity the fruit had a youthful nature.  I would still drink this up.  *** Now-2018.


11 – 2008 Matthieu Barret, Brise Cailloux, Cornas
This wine is 100% Syrah which is farmed organically and biodynamically.  It is sourced from almost 10 hectares of vines .  Between half and all of the fruit is destalked, the cap punched, then aged for 18 months in used casks.  Very little sulphur is used.  Decanted for two hours prior to tasting.  There was a nose of pepper and pine.  In the mouth the fruit was very tart with citric red fruit flavors.  There were drying tannins and a hint of yeast in the aftertaste.  On the second night the yeasty flavors continued with red grapefruit in the aftertaste.  Not enough sulphur? * Now.


12 – 2011 Pierre Gonon, Les Iles Feray, Ardeche
Imported by.  This wine is 100% Syrah which was fermented with indigenous yeast then aged for 13-15 months in 600 liter casks which are 1 to 40 years old.  Decanted for one hour prior to tasting.  The color was a medium grapey ruby.  At first there was a strange nose with some mixed ripe berries.  With air the nose became muted with aromas of fresh berries.    In the mouth there was blacker fruit, a serious attitude, gentle weight to the unique and good flavors.  On the second night there were flavors of tart black fruit, berries, and minerals.  There was salivating acidity and a brighter finish where firm, drying, and somewhat grapey tannins came out.  The wine stands out and should be cellared for the short-term.  *** 2015-2025.


Another Wine from 2000

October 29, 2012 Leave a comment

I am often confused by the Southern Rhone Tardieu-Laurent wines for they seem suspended in youth.  This characteristic does make me willing to try any older vintages because even the simplest of cuvees will drink well.  This Cuvee Coteaux from Cornas is still youthful but is taking on some maturity.  This bottle showed attractive spices and wood notes, making for a good Fall drink.   I always wondered why these wines see 100% new oak.  Perhaps the Northern Rhone Syrah reacts well to the wood regime.  I finally found the answer in “The Wines of the Northern Rhone” by John Livingstone-Learmonth.  According to Michel Tardieu the new wood is a good anti-oxidant which allows him to work without sulphur.  This wine was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

2000 Tardieu-Laurent, Cuvee Coteaux, Cornas –
Imported by Bacchus Importers.  This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from parcels in Chaillot owned by two or three suppliers.  These parcels were planted in the 1950s.  It was aged for at leat 15 months in 100% new oak then bottled with very little sulphur.  Alcohol 13%.  The color was a medium garnet showing some age.  The light to medium strength nose is taking on mature aromas but still has a young core.  With air polished wood scents come out.  In the mouth this medium bodied wine has tart blue fruit, lots of spices, and a ripe surrounding of red fruit.  The finish leaves sweet spice on the tongue and some meaty flavors.  There is an attractive softness to this wine.  *** Now-2018.

Old Rhone Tasting Notes

December 10, 2007 2 comments

I personally enjoy reading old tasting notes.  These are from wines I bought at MacArthur’s and tasted during October-December of 2007.

1999 Chateau du Mourre du Tendre, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
A strong, complex nose of earth, dark berries, spices that reminds one of some age.  There are good flavors in the mouth but weaker compared to the nose.  Not the most mouth-filling or longest lasting finish thus somewhat disappointing.  Definitely fun to smell.

1997 Michael Perraud, Le Vignon, Cornas
Too much toasty, new oak that overpowered the fruit, not my style so I stopped drinking it.  The second Patrick Lesec wine that I did not like.

2000 Domaine les Aphillanthes, Cuvee 3 Cepages, Cotes du Rhone Villages
This too was outstanding but I slightly preferred the Cros right now.  It was a tad less overt.  A blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre.  Perhaps it needs more time in the bottle.  I bought more.

2000 Domaine les Aphillanthes, Cuvee du Cros, Cotes du Rhone Villages
Wow, right out of the bottle a concentration of youthful dark berry flavors.  After 3-4 hours the nose opened and the finish fleshed out.  The last glass in the bottle was almost as good the next day.   This one is 100% syrah.  This will age for a while.  I bought more.

2000 Domaine du Trapadis, Les Adres, Cotes du Rhone Villages Rasteau
A bit of earth and spice on the nose, followed by pleasant but short finish.  Similar impression on the second night.  There are better wines for this price.

1998 Domaine de la Pinede, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
I preferred this over the Trapadis.  There were sweet red and blue berries framed by noticeable tannins.  On the second day the nose was very muted but it still left a youthful, enjoyable impression.  A similar quality to the Palestor in that it is a rather affordable 1998 Chateauneuf you can age.

2000 Domaine du Grand Tinel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Pleasant but for a few bucks more there are better wines.  I would not buy again.

2001 Patrick Lesec, Marquis, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
This was badly corked.

1998 Domaine de Palestor, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
An estate near Beaucastel.  Drunk from a magnum this opened up as the hours went buy and was a pleasure to drink by the roaring fire.  It needs more age.

2001 Domaine de Ferrand, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Rather good, well structured and still youthful, needs time.

1999 Domaine de Pere Pape, La Crau de ma Mere, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
I found this light, simple, and not really to my liking.  I would not buy again.

2000 Raymond Usseglio, Cuvee Girard, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
An overall pleasing wine, that has a little bit of everything to offer.  I bought more.

2000 Bosquet du Papes, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Tasty, rustic, and traditional.  Can be drunk now for its strength or aged longer.  I bought more.

2000 Grand Tinel, Cuvee Alexis Establet, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
This was just OK and I did not bother to finish the bottle. I think I preferred the regular bottling over this.  Perhaps this was under performing.

1998 Domaine Saint Benoit, Cuvee Grande Garde, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Earthy, stinky, and thin when first opened.  After several hours the earth, berries, and minerals came through on the nose and it started to flesh out in the mouth.  Much more agreeable in the end and probably in an awkward stage.

2000 Cuvee du Vatican, Chateaneuf-du-Pape
Fine but not thrilling.  You could drink as a starter before moving on to something more interesting.

1999 Marcoux, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
No nose or finish but had a pretty cinnamon, brown-sugar flavors to it.  Definitely sweet (not from residual sugar) and short.

1999 Des Bosquets, Cuvee Preference, Gigondas
This had brighter fruit and cleaner flavors to me, more of a modern style that I didn’t like.  It was a decent wine but I prefer the Brusset.

1999 Domaine Le Bouissiere, Gigondas
I enjoyed its chunky, rusticity that matches the fall weather.  I bought more.

2000 Les Pallieres, Gigondas
Wow, powerful stuff here.  An intensely aromatic nose of dark berries and earth with matching flavors in the mouth.  Probably a polarizing wine.

1998 Domaine deFont-Sane, Cuvee Futee, Gigondas
I rather liked the dark-berry brawniness it had.  Good stuff with some minerals.   I bought more.

1998 Daniel Brusset, Le Grand Montmirail, Gigondas
After being open for 3-4 hours it developed a strong, pure nose of white pepper which complemented the lighter red berry flavors.  I think it had peaked on the second night but it was still humming along on the third night.  My wife really liked the pepper nose.  I bought more.

1999 Le Bosquet des Papes, Chante Le Merle, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Corked.  It slowly developed an earthy nose but was still tight in the mouth so I tried it again the next night.  The first night it had earthy, stinky nose with muted flavors then second night the stink blew off and the high-pitched corked smell came through followed by sour flavors in the mouth

1998 Domaine de Cassan, Gigondas
For me it was simply wonderful and appetizing.  It had that Gigondas power with a mineral line and is still able to age.  I would buy again.

1998 Chateau du Trignon, Gigondas
It was not to my liking.  It seemed more of a modern style and a bit tired compared to the Cassan.  I think this was an off bottle.  I have one more which I will try later.

1999 Tardieu-Laurent, Gigondas
It surprised me with its youthful, primary flavors and but I wonder if it will develop more complexity and aroma.  

1998 Louis Clermont Tonneree, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Drunk alone it surprised me as after several hours it became a pretty wine on the nose and in the mouth.