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stirring the lees with james molesworth

Tasting the La La Wines and Other Côte-Rôties

Photo by: David Yellen

Posted: Nov 6, 2006 4:01pm ET

Sigh. Just another day in Côte-Rôtie.

I started at one of my favorite domaines, R. Rostaing. And for the first time, I actually preferred the Côte Blonde cuvée to La Landonne—in the 2004 vintage). René Rostaing threw up his hands in relief. I’ve always preferred the La Landonne bottling, though the Côte Blonde, with its bigger structure, has always been Rostaing’s preference.

Alas, when we tasted Rostaing’s ’05s, I went back to my old favorite, the La Landonne, which was supersilky and refined, and very, very long.

My visit was brief, as it usually is there. Which is fine, since it left me the time I needed to stop in at E. Guigal, where I always have a marathon tasting. Philippe Guigal and I went through a few dozen wines, both in bottle and from barrel. The ’04s have progressed nicely here, and the young ’05s are formidable.

Perhaps of most interest, though, is the anticipated release of Guigal’s ’03 La La wines. I’ve tasted these wines every year for three years now, as they went through their typically long élevages. This tasting was the best yet. The wines have knit together, and they now show their structure and terroir, along with the vintage’s exotic fruit, which had dominated them in my previous tastings. Of course, the crop is 40 percent smaller than usual, and Philippe says orders arrive with a "fill in the price" amount. I suspect the distributors and retailers will take an absurd markup on these wines, as they did with Chave’s ’03.

My last stop was up the hill of Côte-Rôtie at Jamet, where Jean-Paul Jamet ran me through a number of barrels of ’06s and ’05s, along with the finished ’04. This small domaine produces a distinct Côte-Rôtie, with piercing mineral and floral aromas to go with a rich, racy palate. The ’03 here rocked (I rated it 96 points officially), and we tried it again to see how it was doing. I can safely say, it’s doing just fine ….

I finally got a few minutes to post some unofficial notes on older Rhônes I’ve had while here, in the Tasting Notes section of our Forums.

It’s getting a bit colder here every day, and freezing at night. But the air remains crisp and fresh. It’s football weather for sure. (Can someone give me a Jets score?)

I’ve actually got an early night tonight, for a change. But my day commences early tomorrow, with two stops in Condrieu and two more in Côte-Rôtie.

Hoyt Hill Jr
Nashville, TN —  November 7, 2006 9:08am ET
James,There are still some ethical retailers around. I sold my 11 six-bottle cases of 2003 Chave Hermitage for $1,782 per six.Hoyt Hill
Jason Carey
willow, ny usa —  November 7, 2006 11:22am ET
James, have you ever tried the Cote Roti Of Lafoy et Gasse?I like them, they are different though.I have only had them in France, They don't seem to be availible here in the USA.
James Molesworth
November 7, 2006 4:47pm ET
Hoyt: Thanks for holding the line. Send me your catalogue!

Jason: Correct, the wines of Lafoy and Gasse don't make it to the U.S., so I haven't tasted them.

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