Fine Rhône, North and South, in early maturity.
2009 Ch. de Beaucastel, Ch-neuf du Pape
2008 Dom. Cros de la Mure Le Bois Pointu, Ch-neuf du Pape
2010 Cornas Les Ruchets (Jean Luc Colombo)
2012 Cornas Billes Noires (Dom. du Coulet)
2005 Cornas Billes Noires (Dom. du Coulet)
1999 Côte Rôtie (Jasmin)
1999 Côte Rôtie (Jamet)
1999 Hermitage (Chave)
8 Wines, with cheeses ................. £139.00
Two southern Rhône (Châteauneuf du Pape), six northern Rhône. The two Châteauneufs are both vinified ‘traditionally’, without new oak that is, but they represent very different styles, and traditions. Beaucastel is a substantial property whose winemaking history goes back to the early nineteenth century; it is, typically, based on 30% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre and represents a benchmark, classic example of the region. Cros de la Mure is very small, very young, a property in the process of development, with a wine that is based on a notably high proportion of Grenache, over 90%, but whose quality suggests a very bright future.
The three northern Rhône appellations of Cornas, Côte Rôtie and Hermitage represent the region’s quality peak, the producers here are amongst the best in their respective communes, and the vintages are amongst the finest of the last twenty years, 1999 in particular. As with the two southern Rhône wines we have here the a mix of the old and the new: Chave is as traditional as they come, producing year in, year out, the most outstanding, powerful yet refined and fragrant Hermitage; Jamet, especially, and Jasmin regularly represent some of the finest examples of classic Côte Rôtie; all three are long standing producers in the region.
With a few notable exceptions, Cornas was for a long time a relative backwater compared to Hermitage and Côte Rôtie, but we have here two producers that exemplify Cornas’ new face, and remind us that its finest wines can comfortably vie with the best from Côte Rôtie and Hermitage. Jean-Luc Colombo stirred up the appellation in the late 1980’s by ageing his wines in 100% new oak, and bottling them in Bordeaux bottles! If, early on, his wines tasted almost as much of wood as wine, his (and his daughter’s) approach is now less extreme and the wines are splendid examples of modern Cornas, with Les Ruchets being one of his top cuvées. Domaine du Coulet is practically brand new, 2005 being its first vintage, but Mathieu Barret is clearly a gifted winemaker, traditional in approach, producing particularly polished wines. Billes Noires is the estate’s top wine, from its highest vines, and lowest yields, and we will taste two of the best vintages to date.
The wines range in price from around £50 to £250 retail.