Archives du mot-clé vinsobre














































CHATEAU PARADIS  coteaux d’aix blanc 2011   15/20


DOMAINE GRAND TINEL CH9 blc 2011 15/20

CH9 2010 rouge 14,5/20

VIGNOBLES MAYARD Clos du calvaire ch9 rouge 2010 15/20

DOMAINE DES BOSQUET DES PAPES CH9 tradition 2010 14,5/20

CHATEAU CABRIERES le grand rocasson 2008   ch9 rouge 14,5/20

DOMAINE GALUVAL    ch9 2009  14,5/20


costieres  joseph torres 2009 rouge  16/20

costieres  Nostre pais 2010 rouge 15/20

DOMAINE MABY   CDR 2010 14,5

TAVEL 2011  prima dona  14/20

CHATEAU DE RUTH  CDR 2010  14/20

cdr village 2009   14,5/20


vacqueyras 2011  rouge


vinsobre 2009   15/20


CDR village laudun   rg 2010  14/20

GIGONDAS 2010  14/20


rasteau  les esqueyrons 2009  16/20

rasteau vieilles vignes 2010   15/20


rasteau la ponce RG 2010   15/20

rasteau vdn blanc et rose 2011  15,5/20


rasteau reserve 2010 14,5/20





2010 and 2009 Cotes du Rhone Wines Josh Raynolds


ISSUE 10095, MAY 2012

The benevolent conditions that produced the generally superb 2010s and 2009s in the Rhone Valley were obviously beneficial to the « little » wines of the region as well, although that fact has been obscured by the frenzy over the marquee bottlings.  The great news is that many of the best non-trophy wines–the ones that can be enjoyed on an everyday basis–are still widely available or yet to arrive in the U.S. marketplace.  And in many instances, these are wines at a quality level close to those from loftier appellations; many of them are actually built to age just as long as the big names.


Anyone who has been a Rhone wine lover for the last few decades knows that pricing has gotten way out of whack.  In the good old days one would expect to pay 30% to 50% more than the cost of a Cotes du Rhone to get a decent Chateauneuf du Pape.  Now, that ratio is routinely 100% to 200%, and sometimes much higher.  And we’re talking about wines from the same producers!  This bifurcated pricing struck Bordeaux and Burgundy a while ago and now, unfortunately, is affecting the Rhone.


As economic reality and rising prices for blue chip wines sink in, savvy wine buyers have been trading down.  Instead of Chateauneuf du Pape, they’re buying Gigondas; rather than Gigondas, they’re opting for Cairanne; instead of Cairanne, Cotes du Rhone.  This does not necessarily involve a commensurate trade-off in quality, as so many of the wines I tasted for this report attest. 


It’s good to keep in mind a couple of facts when it comes to shopping for wines from the appellations covered here.  First, a number of talented growers and winemakers simply got the short end of the stick in the inheritance game.  Instead of genetically waltzing into, say, Chateauneuf du Pape, they were « unfortunate » to come into vineyards in, say, Cairanne, Sablet or Ventoux.  Second, many of these wines are made by the same men and women who are responsible for running some of the most prestigious wineries in the Rhone.  If you’ve been priced out of their most sought-after wines, check out their entry-level bottlings:  these wines frequently deliver plenty of their more exalted siblings’ character at far gentler prices but without the prestige or cachet of a big-name region.  These are wines for true wine lovers, not name droppers.


Broadly speaking, the 2009s from the Rhone Valley, both north and south, are weightier, richer wines with more obvious tannins and darker fruit profiles than the 2010s.  While the ’10s show plenty of depth and flavor impact, most of them display brighter personalities than the ’09s, and that’s not just a function of the wines being a year younger.  Two thousand nine was a hot year and many vineyards had to be harvested before their sugars ran too high and acids dropped to dangerously low levels, so the grape skins were often thick, which could mean hard or even bitter tannins.  In 2010, by contrast, the harvest began a full three weeks later than the previous year so the tannins were usually softer and sweeter, and it shows in the wines.


The far-flung range of wines featured in this article include those that I tasted this winter that didn’t come from any of the appellations covered in the IWC’s annual features, which means Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas and Vacqueyras (all covered in Issue 160) in the south and the major northern Rhone regions of Cote-Rotie, Condrieu, Saint Joseph, Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Cornas and Saint-Peray, which are reviewed in the current issue, 161.  I also put the emerging Seyssuel region into that article as I believe that these wines fall comfortably under the umbrella of the Cote-Rotie producers who make almost all of those wines.

syrah and carignan):  Deep ruby.  Aromas of black raspberry, spicecake and musky herbs, with a peppery topnote.  Densely packed and lively, with spicy dark berry flavors accented by cracked pepper and a touch of menthol.  Tannins build on the peppery finish, which shows refreshing bitterness and a touch of herbacity.

Domaine Les Aphillanthes

2010 Vin De Pays De Vaucluse($13) Bright violet color.  Cherry and redcurrant aromas are complemented by a suggestion of musky herbs.  Light-bodied and precise, with good clarity and bite to its red berry and bitter cherry flavors.  Finishes with good focus and a slightly jammy quality, the cherry note repeating.  This would make a fantastic everyday wine or a by-the-glass pour at a French bistro. 87

2009 Cotes Du Rhone Villages Cuvee Trois Cepages($23) (a blend of equal parts grenache, syrah and mourvedre):  Dark purple.  Mulberry, cherry compote and dark chocolate on the nose, with notes of tobacco and licorice adding complexity.  Sweet blackberry and mocha flavors turn spicier in the mid-palate and show no rough edges.  Velvety tannins add gentle grip to the sappy, smoky finish.  This is ready to drink.  88

2009 Cotes Du Rhone Villages Les Galets Plan De Dieu($19) (60% grenache and 20% each mourvedre and syrah, from yields that reportedly hover around 20 hectoliters per hectare, which would be low even for Chateauneuf du Pape):  Opaque ruby.  Spice-accented dark berries, licorice and olive on the nose, with a floral quality gaining strength with air.  Fleshy and seamless on the palate, offering sweet boysenberry and cherry flavors and a touch of bitter chocolate.  Shows very good intensity on the floral- and spice-accented finish. 90

2009 L’Ancestrale Du Puits Vignes Centenaires Cairanne Cotes Du Rhone Villages($27) (90% grenache and 10% mourvedre, from vines that were reportedly planted over a century ago):  Deep ruby color.  An expansive bouquet displays scents of dark berry liqueur, roasted cherry, licorice and star anise, plus a hint of violet.  Lush, broad and palate-staining, with a seamless texture and sweet blackberry and blueberry flavors lifted by gentle acidity.  Closes with excellent cling and a resonating note of candied dark berries.  91

2009 Cotes Du Rhone Villages Le Cros($24) (100% syrah, made from yields that are reportedly around 18 hectoliters per hectare):  Dark purple.  Aromas of blackberry, plum and cherry compote, with violet and licorice overtones.  Ripe and palate-coating, offering intense, densely packed dark fruit preserve flavors and a touch of dark chocolate.  Finishes with impressive power and cling, leaving a note of bitter cherry behind.  90

(Weygandt-Metzler Importing,

bright on the palate, offering fresh red and dark berry flavors and a seamless texture.  Finishes on a nervy mineral note, with very good focus and length.  89

(Domaine de la Becassonne

2010 Cotes Du Rhone Blanc($16) (50% roussanne, 30% grenache blanc and 20% clairette):  Pale gold.  Lemon zest, apple and beeswax on the floral- and spice-accented nose.  A juicy, refreshing lightweight with good energy to its tangy citrus and orchard fruit character.  Closes clean and nervy, with lingering pear skin and honey nuances.  87

(Robert Kacher Selections,


Domaine Nicolas Boiron

2010 Cotes Du Rhone($17) (80% grenache and 10% each of cinsault and syrah):  Bright purple.  Vibrant, high-pitched aromas of black and blue fruits and herbs.  Deeply pitched, juicy and fruit-driven, offering gently sweet blackberry and mulberry flavors lifted by a spicy quality.  Finishes warm and smooth, with good clarity and punch. 88

2009 Cotes Du Rhone($16) Dark purple.  A richer, more powerful wine than the 2009, offering scents and flavors of dark berries, bitter cherry and licorice.  Round, fleshy and broad, with good closing grip, lingering smokiness and a touch of roasted herbs. 87

(Wines of France,

Domaine Boisson

2010 Cotes Du Rhone Villages Cairanne Rose($17) (30% each clairette and roussanne, 20% grenache blanc, 10% bourboulenc and 10% viognier):  Pale, green-tinged yellow.  High-pitched aromas of lemon curd, white pepper and minerals, with an iodine topnote.  Shows good depth and a waxy character to its bitter citrus and pear flavors.  Finishes with firm grip and length, leaving a dusty lemon pith note behind.  Pretty grown-up in style. 88

2010 Cotes Du Rhone($12) (60% grenache, 20% syrah, 10% carignan and 5% each cinsault and mourvedre):  Bright purple.  Fresh raspberry and cherry on the nose.  Juicy and broad on entry, then tighter in the middle, offering lively red berry flavors and a tangy note of orange zest.  Finishes with good spicy persistence and a late note of candied rose. 88

2010 Cotes Du Rhone Villages Cairanne Rose($18) (50% grenache, 20% each syrah and mourvedre, and 10% carignan):  Vivid purple.  Ripe dark berries and licorice on the fragrant nose.  Broad and fleshy, with deep, ripe blackberry and cherry flavors; in fact, this wine seems more like an ’09 than a ’10 to me.  Finishes with good length and lingering smoke and dark fruit qualities. 89

2010 Cotes Du Rhone Village Clos De La Brussiere Massif D’Uchaux($22) (60% grenache, 30% mourvedre and 10% carignan):  Bright purple.  Ripe cherry and black raspberry aromas are complemented by lavender and herb nuances.  Lush and expansive, offering sweet dark fruit flavors and a supple texture.  Closes smooth and sweet, with resonating spiciness and very good length. 90

2010 Cotes Du Rhone Village Cairanne L’Exigence($26) (70% grenache, 20% syrah and 10% mourvedre):  Glass-staining ruby.  Sexy, highly perfumed bouquet evokes candied red fruits, potpourri and anise, with a spicy topnote.  Bright and focused on the palate, but with a seamless texture to its sweet raspberry, cherry and lavender pastille flavors.  In a very suave style, with excellent finishing clarity and persistent florality. 91

(Wines of France,

Famille Brechet

2010 Lirac Plateau Des Chenes(60% syrah and 40% grenache):  Inky ruby.  Potent aromas of candied dark berries, cherry and violet, with a spicy topnote.  Lush and creamy in texture, offering intense bitter cherry and blackberry flavors lifted by tangy acidity.  Supple tannins give shape to the long, smoky, spice-accented finish. 89-91

2010 Lirac Moulin Des Chenes($17) (60% syrah and 40% grenache):  Opaque ruby.  Pungent aromas of cherry pit and dark berries, with smoke and musky herb accents.  Bitter cherry and cassis flavors stain the palate, with suave floral and spice notes providing lift.  Shows good intensity on the finish, which lingers with appealing spiciness and florality. 89

(Sussex Wine Merchants,; Eric Solomon Selections,

Andre Brunel

2010 Grenache Vin De Pays De Vaucluse($10) Bright ruby.  Red and dark berry aromas and flavors show a distinct but appealing jammy character.  Very fruity grenache with good finishing cling and a touch of spiciness on the back.  This wine is extremely easy to drink and would make a great inexpensive by-the-glass pour. 87

2009 Cotes Du Rhone Villages Cuvee Sabrine($16) (heavily grenache, with syrah and mourvedre):  Bright violet color.  Pungent dark berry and cherry pit aromas are complicated by notes of licorice and dried flowers.  Sappy, focused and deep in dark fruit flavors, nicely braced by zesty acidity.  Finishes with firm grip and a sneaky note of cracked pepper that adds back-end bite. 89

(Robert Kacher Selections,

Domaine Calendal

2009 Cotes Du Rhone Villages Plan De Dieu($33) Deep ruby.  Wild, pungent bouquet evokes black and blue fruits, Indian spices, lavender and rose.  Sappy and precise, offering seamless black raspberry and boysenberry flavors that are given spine by juicy acidity.  Large-scaled but graceful, finishing with suave florality and length.  This is southern Rhone enologist Philippe Cambie’s personal project. 90

(Eric Solomon Selections,

Le Clos du Caillou

2010 Cotes Du Rhone Blanc(100% pink clairette, as usual):  Bright straw.  Bracing aromas of lemon zest, orange, peach, honey and white flowers.  Sappy and fresh, with dry citrus fruit, mineral and floral flavors given a tangy quality by strong acidity.  Nicely tactile white wine, finishing with very good clarity and an exotic, lingering note of bee pollen.  This would go with all sorts of food, light or rich. 90

2010 Cotes Du Rhone Bouquet Des Garrigues($28) (40% grenache blanc, 30% pink clairette and 15% each bourboulenc and viognier):  Bright yellow.  Deeper and more powerful than the regular Cotes du Rhone, offering aromas and flavors of ripe pit fruits and honey, with a gentle spiciness.  Packs a solid punch and spreads out nicely on the back end, finishing with lingering honey, spice and peach notes.  This wine would give plenty of Chateauneuf blancs a run for their money. 90

2009 Cotes Du Rhone Blanc(100% pink clairette, or clairette rose, raised in stainless steel):  Pale gold.  High-pitched citrus and orchard fruit aromas show very good clarity and a distinct spiciness.  Lively and focused, offering pure, spice-accented orange and pear flavors and an exotic note of honeysuckle.  Finishes silky and spicy, with good cut and persistence. 89

2009 Cotes Du Rhone Bouquet Des Garrigues($28) (50% grenache blanc, 25% pink clairette, 15% viognier and 10% bourboulenc, all raised in stainless steel):  Bright straw.  Energetic Meyer lemon, pear and honeysuckle aromas are complicated by dusty minerals and quinine.  Impressively bright and sharply focused, offering tangy, stony orchard fruit and citrus zest flavors complemented by a deeper touch of candied anise.  Shows impressive energy on the bright, mineral-accented finish. 90

2010 Cotes Du Rhone($18) (90% grenache, with syrah, mourvedre and counoise, planted mostly on sandy soil):  Bright ruby-red.  Lively aromas of strawberry and raspberry, with subtle gingerbread and herb notes adding complexity.  Tangy red fruit flavors put on weight with air while maintaining their energy.  Shows an attractive raspberry quality on the sweet, persistent finish. 89

2010 Cotes Du Rhone Bouquet Des Garrigues(85% grenache and 10% syrah, with bits of cinsault, counoise and muscardin, all from vines that are mostly about 90 years old):  Deep ruby.  Powerful, spice-accented aromas of black raspberry and cherry, plus a hint of fresh rose.  Juicy and broad, with a seamless texture and deep red fruit compote flavors.  Closes with good spicy snap and a lingering dark berry quality.  This highly appealing, lively wine is made from vines that cover more than 30 hectares, so there’s a lot to go around. 89-90

2010 Cotes Du Rhone Les QuartzBright violet color.  Highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red berries and potpourri, with a strong mineral accent.  Deeply pitched raspberry and mulberry flavors show very good clarity and intensity, turning spicier with aeration.  Rich but fresh, finishing with impressive thrust and lingering florality. 90-92

2010 Cotes Du Rhone ReserveDeep ruby.  Pungent dark berries and cherry on the nose, with notes of camphor and Asian spices and a hint of licorice.  Weighty and palate-coating, with a supple texture to its rich black raspberry and spice flavors.  Shows uncommon heft and richness for a 2010, not to mention a Cotes du Rhone, and finishes with impressive power and sweet persistence. 90-92

2009 Cotes Du Rhone Bouquet Des Garrigues($24) Bright ruby-red.  Red berries and cherry on the nose and palate.  Juicy, sharply focused raspberry and cherry compote flavors are complemented by notes of licorice and white pepper; showing no excess weight or rough edges. The fruity, supple finish displays good intensity. 89

2009 Cotes Du Rhone Vieilles Vignes Cuvee Unique($27) (about 75% grenache, with syrah, carignane and mourvedre; this is a special cuvee made for North Berkeley Imports):  Bright ruby-red.  Intense, spice-accented aromas of black raspberry, cherry and anise, with a suave floral quality in the background.  Juicy and precise, offering tangy red berry flavors that gain sweetness with air.  Shows no rough edges and finishes with very good clarity, spiciness and fruity persistence.   91

2009 Cotes Du Rhone Les Quartz(85% grenache raised in foudres and 15% syrah raised in barriques):  Bright ruby-red.  Intense red fruits on the nose and palate, with spicecake and mineral qualities adding complexity.  Juicy and vibrant, with very good depth and clarity on the long, spice-accented finish.  These vines lie within the Clos du Caillou, just outside the Chateauneuf border and next to the vines from which the estate’s Chateauneuf du Pape Les Quartz is sourced. 91

2009 Cotes Du Rhone Reserve($60) (85% grenache and 15% mourvedre, all of it raised in foudres):  Bright ruby-red.  Vibrant raspberry and cherry aromas, with high-pitched floral and mineral notes adding complexity.  Flavors of fresh red berries, pomegranate and candied rose show very good clarity and inner-mouth perfumed.  Finishes energetic and bright, with a deeper blackberry note on the close.  Winemaker Bruno Gaspard told me that these vines are planted on very sandy soils « so the wine is always highly scented. »



(North Berkeley Wine,; Dionysos Imports, Inc.,

Clos du Mont Olivet

2010 Cotes Du Rhone Font De Blanche(60% grenache and 40% syrah):  Opaque purple.  Fresh blackberry and blueberry aromas and flavors are complicated by cracked pepper and violet, with a hint of smoke in the background.  Very smooth and open-knit, finishing with impressive clarity and peppery length.  Really shows the syrah right now.  88-90

2010 Monteuil La Levade Cotes Du Rhone Vieilles Vignes(80% grenache, 15% carignane and 5% syrah):  Bright violet color.  Lively aromas of raspberry and candied rose, with a suave note of Asian spices and a hint of anise.  Juicy and focused, with very good depth and energy to its sappy red fruit flavors.  The seamless finish displays very good persistence and excellent cut. 89-91

2009 Monteuil La Levade Cotes Du Rhone Vieilles Vignes($17) Vivid ruby-red.  Fresh, floral-accented aromas of red berry preserves and anise, with a spicy quality gaining strength with air.  Juicy, sharply focused raspberry and bitter cherry flavors show very good clarity and pick up an herbal nuance on the back half.  Closes bright and sappy, with resonating spice and floral qualities.  I really like the blend of richness and vivacity here. 90

2009 Cote De Rhone Serre De Catin($19) (100% grenache, aged in tank):  Full ruby.  Expressive red and dark berry aromas show very good clarity and a slow-mounting floral quality.  Sappy and lush, with a silky texture and good depth to its fresh, peppery raspberry and cassis flavors.  Shows impressive persistence and energy on the finish, which leaves a spicy note behind. 90

2009 Varene Cotes Du Rhone($20) (60% syrah and 40% grenache, raised in foudres and older barriques):  Inky ruby.  Cherry and cassis on the pungent nose and in the mouth.  Rich and broad, with a velvety texture and good finishing punch.  Less elegant than the other Cotes du Rhone bottlings here, showing a more brooding personality. 89

(Michael Skurnik Wines,

Domaine Cros de Romet

2010 Cros De Romet Cairanne Cotes Du Rhone Villages($19) (80% grenache and 20% syrah):  Deep ruby.  Exotic, intensely perfumed bouquet evokes red and dark berry preserves, licorice, violet and smoky herbs.  Broad and juicy on the palate, with a seamless texture to the sweet black raspberry and cherry-cola flavors.  Open-knit and already drinking well but this wine’s depth and finishing power suggest that it will reward patience. 90

(Wines of France,

Domaine Jean David

2010 Cotes Du Rhone($17) Dark purple.  Assertively fruity but slightly jammy aromas of blackberry and cherry.  Fleshy and smooth, offering dark cherry and plum flavors and a zesty berry quality on the back end.  Finishes with good length but slight heat, the cherry note repeating.  This drinks nicely with a slight chill. 87

2009 Cuvee Beau Nez Cotes Du Rhone Villages Seguret($23) (made from roughly two-thirds grenache, with mourvedre and carignan and bits of syrah and cinsault):  Deep ruby.  Cherry and cassis aromas on the pungent, distinctly ripe nose.  Lush and broad, with good depth to its dark fruit compote flavors.  Gentle tannins add shape to the clinging, subtly bitter finish. 88

(Polaner Selections,

Domaine Duseigneur

2009 Lirac Mayran Odyssee(60% grenache and 20% each syrah and mourvedre):  Bright purple.  Spicy red and dark berries on the nose and palate, with zesty mineral and floral notes adding complexity.  Lively, focus Lirac, showing very good intensity without undue weight.  A refreshing kick of white pepper adds vivacity and carries through the long, spicy, linear finish. 89

2009 Lirac Antares($21) (60% grenache and 20% each syrah and mourvedre):  Vivid ruby.  High-pitched aromas of raspberry, cherry and lavender, with a spicy overtone.  Juicy and precise on the palate, with tangy red fruit flavors that put on weight and gain sweetness with air.  Clean and focused on the long, spicy finish, leaving a gentle smoky note behind. 90

(Weygandt-Metzler Importing,


2009 Cotes Du Rhone($24) (made from fruit from Cotes du Rhone Plan de Dieu, from yields that were reportedly less than 20 hectoliters per hectare):  Ruby-red.  Ripe cherry and dark berries on the nose and in the mouth.  Round and fleshy, showing good depth and power and a touch of finishing warmth. 87

2009 Cotes Du Rhone Villages Rasteau($30) Deep ruby.  Highly perfumed bouquet of red berries and rose, with a subtle spicy quality in the background.  Pliant, easygoing red fruit flavors display good concentration and palate coverage.  Finishes smooth and sweet, with no rough edges.  This fruity, supple wine is drinking well now.  88

2009 Cotes Du Rhone Villages Cairanne($27) Deep ruby.  Ripe cherry and plum on the deeply pitched nose.  Plush and open-knit, offering smooth dark fruit compote flavors with a vaguely warm quality.  Finishes with good breadth and heft but shows more ripeness than energy.  Fans of ample, big-booty wines will go for this one. 88

(Martine’s Wines,

Michel Gassier

2010 Lou Coucardie Costieres De Nimes Blanc($27) (50% roussanne, 35% viognier and 15% grenache blanc):  Pale gold.  Ripe pear and peach aromas are brightened by lemon zest and minerals.   Smooth, juicy pit fruit and citrus fruit flavors display good lift and cut.  The clean, precise finish repeats the citrus note and picks up a hint of succulent herbs. 89

2009 Viognier Les Piliers Vin De FranceLight yellow-gold.  Expressive aromas and flavors of peach and melon, with a spicy topnote.  Pliant and open-knit, offering honeyed pit fruit flavors and a sneaky note of lemon pith.  Finishes broad but dry, with a touch of lingering heat and good cling. 87

(Eric Solomon Selections,

Domaine Grand Nicolet

2009 Cotes Du Rhone Villages Vieilles Vignes Rasteau($22) (70% grenache from 70-year-old vines, and 30% syrah from 50-year-old vines):  Bright violet.  Initially reduced but aeration brings up sour cherry and cassis aromas and flavors, along with notes of licorice and black tea.  Youthfully taut Rasteau with good focus and grip on the long, spicy finish.  By all means decant this wine if you plan on drinking it in the next couple of years. 88(+?)

2009 Cotes Du Rhone($17) (85% grenache and 15% syrah):  Dark purple.  Aromas of dark berry preserves, licorice and cola, with a minty topnote.  Juicy and seamless, with good clarity to its black raspberry and spice flavors.  Gentle tannins add shape and grip to the focused, spicy finish. 88

(Weygandt-Metzler Importing,

energy and elegance for a ripe vintage, picking up a floral note with air.  Conveys a slight bitterness on the finish, which clings with good tenacity and lingering spiciness. 88

(Kysela Pere et Fils,

2010 Plan De Dieu Cotes Du Rhone VillagesDeep ruby.  Pungent dark fruits and flowers on the nose.  Ripe, densely packed blackberry and cherry flavors are given spine by zesty minerality.  Shows good power on the gently chewy, nicely persistent finish.



Les Halos de Jupiter By Philippe Cambie

2010 Costieres De Nimes(roughly two-thirds grenache, with syrah and mourvedre; the grenache was  raised in concrete, the rest in older casks):  Deep ruby.  Dark berries and cherry on the spice-accented nose.  Juicy and precise, with good clarity and lift to its sappy dark fruit flavors.  The spicy finish shows good fruity persistence.


2010 Cotes Du Rhone(made from fruit grown in Rasteau, Cairanne and Signargues, the most southern Cotes du Rhone-Villages vineyard, situated just southwest of Avignon):  Deep ruby.  Fresh red fruits and spices on the nose and palate.  Gains weight with air but doesn’t lose any of its vivacity.  Juicy, taut wine with good energy and lift on the spicy, persistent finish.  89-90

2010 RasteauOpaque purple.  Deep, smoky and pungent, offering aromas of black and blue fruits, licorice and black tea.  Sappy and broad, with ripe blackberry and mulberry flavors that become spicier with air.  The clinging finish features licorice and spice nuances. 88-90

2009 Costieres De Nimes($15) Deep ruby.  High-pitched aromas of black raspberry, flowers and white pepper.  Lush and gently sweet, with a seamless texture and vaguely jammy red and dark berry flavors.  Shows good energy and a note of anise on the finish. 88

2009 Cotes Du Rhone($18) (made from fruit grown in Cairanne, Rasteau, Visan and Roaix):  Opaque ruby.  Darker in profile than the Costieres de Nimes bottling from this producer, offering aromas and flavors of black and blue fruits, licorice and lavender.  Then brighter on the finish, which features supple tannins and a whiplash of sweet dark fruit.  Give this wine a little more bottle age or decant it for an hour. 89

2009 Rasteau($25) (90% grenache and 10% syrah):  Inky ruby.  Highly expressive scents of black raspberry, cherry pit and garrigue, with a smoky overtone.  Broad, palate-coating dark fruit flavors show very good depth and become spicier with aeration.  A floral quality emerges on the sappy, lingering finish. 90

(David Bowler Wines,

Chateau de Nages

2009 Costieres De Nimes Rose Reserve(60% grenache blanc and 40% roussanne):  Light yellow.  A perfumed bouquet evokes white peach, melon, magnolia and fresh ginger.  Pliant, almost oily orchard and pit fruit flavors are given spine by juicy acidity and pick up spiciness with air.  Packs a punch but comes off as dry and nervy, with strong finishing cut and lingering spiciness.  I like this wine’s tension and focus.


2009 Costieres De Nimes Blanc Vieilles Vignes(50% grenache blanc, 40% roussanne and 10% viognier):  Light yellow-gold.  Nectarine, orange pith and honey on the pungent, powerful nose.  Lush and open-knit, offering sappy pit fruit flavors braced by bitter citrus and mineral notes.  Shows good power and breadth on the finish, which features a suave honeysuckle quality. 89

2009 Costieres De Nimes Rose Vieilles VignesInky purple.  Fresh dark berries and anise on the high-pitched nose.  Juicy and precise, with zesty black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors complemented by a deeper note of dark chocolate.  Aeration brings out a spicy quality that carries through the long, penetrating finish. 90

(Total Wine & More,

Petit Chapeau

2010 Cotes Du Rhone($11) Bright purple.  Straightforward dark berry aromas and flavors offer good fruity appeal.  Light-bodied and supple Cotes du Rhone with good finishing clarity and gentle spiciness.  Very easy to drink, especially with a light chill. 87

(A Daniel Johnnes Selection, imported by Michael Skurnik Wines,

Vignobles Jean Royer

2009 Le Petit Roy Vin De Table Francais(since Vin de Table wines cannot carry a vintage, the label reads « 9 Annee » to indicate 2009; made from a blend of grenache and syrah grown inside and outside the Cotes du Rhone AOC):  Vivid ruby.  Ripe red berries and cherry on the pungent nose.  Round and fleshy, with good depth and power to its raspberry and bitter cherry flavors.  Picks up a smoky quality with air and finishes with good energy and punch. 88

(Bertin Henri Selections,


2009 Cotes Du Rhone Guy Louis Blanc($30) (60% marsanne, 15% each marsanne and viognier and 10% grenache blanc):  Bright gold.  Aromas of white peach, lemon curd and honey, with a suggestion of jasmine; smells like there’s more viognier in here.  Juicy and fruity but focused as well, with pit fruit and candied citrus flavors complicated by notes of ginger and nutmeg.  A slight dry edge leavens this wine’s viscosity and adds bite to the nicely persistent finish.  Pretty impressive for the category.  89

2010 Cotes Du Rhone Cuvee Les Bec Fins($21) (60% grenache and 40% syrah, raised completely in concrete):  Inky purple.  Ripe, smoke-accented aromas of blackberry and cherry, with a hint of cracked pepper adding lift.  Seamless, deeply pitched dark fruit flavors gain energy and spiciness with air.  Finishes with very good energy and bite, the spicy note repeating. 89

2010 Cotes Du Rhone Guy Louis($28) Opaque purple.  Aromas of black raspberry, woodsmoke, olive and spices, with a subtle floral quality in the background.  Juicy and sharply focused, with impressive depth to its sappy red and dark berry flavors.  Shows very good energy and clarity on the spicy, gently sweet and persistent finish. 90

2010 Rasteau Vieilles VignesBright purple.  Intense, spice-accented aromas of black and blue fruits, violet and minerals.  Rich but lively, offering vivid blackcurrant and blueberry flavors underscored by a spicy quality.  Finishes tangy and very long, with resonating spiciness and a late note of candied flowers. 90-91

2009 Cotes Du Rhone Cuvee Les Bec Fins($21) 60% grenache and 40% syrah):  Vivid ruby.  Sweet aromas of blackberry and candied violet, with a hint of fresh flowers.  Offers energetic, straightforward dark fruit flavors and a hint of candied cherry.  Finishes with good length, soft tannins and a hint of blackberry.  88

2009 Cotes Du Rhone Guy Louis($28) Opaque purple.  Slightly jammy aromas and flavors of dark berry compote and cherry-cola, with a spicy topnote.  Smooth and seamless on the palate, finishing with very good power and cling.  This wine is drinking very well right now. 89

2009 Rasteau Vieilles Vignes($31) (75% grenache and 25% syrah):  Inky purple.  Wild, intensely perfumed bouquet evokes dark berry preserves, floral oils and apricot, with a spicy topnote.  Fleshy and expansive, offering deeply pitched, sweet blackberry and blueberry flavors and a slow-building smokiness.  Supple tannins add shape to the long, spicy finish.  This wine should age well on its concentration. 91

(Wilson Daniels,



20th Annual Hospice du Rhone

April 26 –28

Paso Robles Event Center

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Hospice du Rhone is a three-day exclusive weekend celebrating all things Rhône by embracing the enchantment, history and tastes of the 22 Rhône varieties. Throughout the weekend, tip your glass with worldly Rhône wine producers, journey through the largest international collection of Rhônes and savor exceptional cuisine, all while taking in the local Rhône community. Guests can learn all about their favorite varieties from the Rhone seminar series, discover the mouthwatering food fare, take part in the excitement of a live auction, and so much more. New this year are the seminar “Conversations with Châteauneuf du Pape” and dinner “Conversations with Châteauneuf du Pape,” both led by author Harry Karis, sommelier Kelley McAuliffe and vigneron Philippe Cambie, where guests will converse, taste and swoon over Châteauneuf du Pape wines hailing from vintages as far back as the 1950’s. Also new is the “BIG Rhône Rendezvous” featuring producers from far and wide pouring big bottles at this lively affair. Many have dusted off wines from their cellar and others have created something unique to celebrate this momentous occasion. Highly-acclaimed chefs hailing from esteemed Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee will be serving up a taste of the South with food stations billowing with robust and scrumptious bites. For a full schedule of events and to purchase tickets, call (805) 784-9543 or visit