Posted: July 16, 2012 By James Molesworth
Posted: July 13, 2012 By James Molesworth
As if being privileged to taste through 20 vintages of Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage the other day wasn't enough, I headed back over to the domaine in Mauves this morning to focus on the 2010 and 2011 vintages. I then headed over to Delas to check out the new wines with Jacques Grange and Claire Darnaud-McKerrow. Here are my reviews.
Posted: July 11, 2012 By James Molesworth
Today was a white wine day, with stops at Château-Grillet and then Georges Vernay, two domaines where the Viognier grape reigns. I also tasted the latest efforts from Pierre-Jean Villa. Here are my notes.
Posted: July 9, 2012 By James Molesworth
Since my trips tend to be long—upwards of two weeks—I invariably have a weekend to fill on my schedule. But I don't take time off while I'm here, so I need to fill them with work, and not play. Sundays can be tough though, as many domaines are family-run and Sundays are sort of sacred in France. So, in recent years I've often taken the opportunity to use Sunday as a time to taste through verticals of wines or horizontals of vintages, with samples provided by the domaines. I keep working, and they get me out of their hair for a day.
On this quiet Sunday, I was particularly grateful for the the opportunity to taste through 20 vintages of Hermitage from Jean-Louis Chave, a complete set from 2009 back to 1990. But a quiet Sunday turned into a family affair. For the tasting, I was joined not only by Jean-Louis Chave, but his father, Gérard, and Jean-Louis' wife, Erin, as well as Chave's cellar hands and vineyard manager. Jean-Louis admitted he had never opened 20 vintages of his wine for a single tasting before, so he wanted to share the experience with his team.
Posted: July 2, 2012 By James Molesworth
Cornas and Côte-Rôtie: same grape, same region, but two totally different wines. Cornas is all about controlled rusticity, with olive, bramble and chalk notes that need to be massaged into a core of fruit. Few producers manage to do it well, but at its best, it's arguably the Northern Rhône's most distinctive wine.
In Côte-Rôtie, it's about controlling amplitude of fruit to find balance. Letting the sanguine and mineral notes edge out from a ripe blackberry and plum core, as well as a sometimes-exuberant new oak élevage employed by a few vignerons, is key.
Put the two together, and Cornas and Côte-Rôtie are the yin and yang of Northern Rhône Syrah. Today I visited A. Clape and Stéphane Ogier.
Posted: June 30, 2012 By James Molesworth
Posted: June 29, 2012 By James Molesworth
On my fifth day in France's Rhône Valley, I visited Château de St.-Cosme in Gigondas, then headed north to Paul Jaboulet Aîné. Here are my tasting notes on the 2010 Northern Rhônes at both domaines, and much more.
Posted: June 27, 2012 By James Molesworth
On my fourth day in France's Rhône Valley, I made one last stop in Châteauneuf-du-Pape at the new La Consonniere domaine, then headed up into the hills to Séguret, where I checked out the family-run operation at Domaine de Mourchon. Here are my tasting notes on the 2010 Châteauneufs at both domaines, and much more.
Posted: June 25, 2012 By James Molesworth
On my third day in France's Rhône Valley, I visited a few benchmarks of the south, starting with Château de Beaucastel. After that I visited Isabel Ferrando at Domaine St.-Préfert, followed by a trip to Château Cabrières. Here are my tasting notes on the 2010 Châteauneuf-du-Papes and more.
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