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Views from the Cellar: Stunning Syrah of the Northern Rhone


For 15 years now, some incredibly generous friends and I have had this monthly dinner and tasting group. It morphed into a thematic dinner tasting too, but it was always a themed tasting of 6 wines, of some of the most renown names from well known wine regions tasted among 9 friends, that just love the food and wine experience. Here's a non-linear retrospective series of what we tasted, in crib-note form, that I'm calling...Views from the Cellar.


Pre-pours:

#1...1996 Gimmonet Blanc de Blanc

#2...2011 Chat. d'Arlay Chardonnay 'La Rienne'

#3...2002 Leroy Meursault

(2005 Dauvissat Foret, 2002 Dauvissat Sechet were sadly premox'd)


Themed Flight...Nothern Rhone - Côte Rôtie/Hermitage/Cornas (March 2018)


A...and in 2nd place: 2008 J.L. Chave Hermitage

Marion berry and blood orange rind, really strong coffee grounds and roasted notes, almost cherry cola in midpalate, but blood orange and blackberry in the finsh

B...and in 4th place: 2013 Voge Cornas 'Les Chailles'

More blackfruited nose, then blueberries, and a meaty, almost sausage-meaty nose. Some coffee, with a bit of mintiness. Brooding and tight...but lots of blueberries on the finish.

C...and in 3rd place: 1998 Jamet Côte Rôtie

Worn leather and boysenberry. bright fruit, but then also a BBQ sauce component. Loads of smokiness, bloody/ferrous, almost like grilled olives in a lengthy finish.

D...and in 6th place: 2010 Dom. Courbis Cornas 'Champelrose'

I has that stewed dusty fruit that warm vintages can get. orange/berry marmelade, but then has that hint of tire, almost like old Beaucastel would get. lactic in the finish. Blahg!

E...and in 1st place (most enjoyed): 1998 J. L. Chave Hermitage

Bright and crisp mix of red and black fruits. BBQ and precooked lardon/belly. More pronounced cherry and raspberry notes, but also with fresh coffee grounds. Minty, more eucalyptus then orange acid, esp rind or zest (not sweet). Regal! Guessed this has to be Chave, right?

F...and in 5th place (least enjoyed): 2011 Gilles Barge Côte Rôtie Côte Brune

Plush, more fruity, saucy and sweet warm fruit compate in palate, seems be the youngest here, riping acidity, lemon and kumquat acid, tight as all get out and not opening. Baby, and a little disjointed at this point.


Post-Pours:

#1...2007 Nigl Riesling Privat


Dessert Flight:

#1...2006 Chat de Juchepie Coteaux du Layon-Faye 'Les Churnelles'

#2...2005 Schafer-Frohlich Riesling BA Bocknauer Felseneck

#3...1995 Dom. Weinbach Tokay-Pinot Gris SGN


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