- Item #: i_350625Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 97 PointsJames Suckling: 98-99Decanter: 97 PointsJAMES SUCKLING 98-99 POINTS - "Plenty of sexy graphite and dark stony aromas cast across showy dark fruits seen here, all presented in a vibrant and seductive form. Plenty of spices and fragrant lift, too. The palate is astonishingly rich, layered and seamlessly complete. The tannins are dense, compressed and commanding, whereas the tension is entrancing. Flavors run from red to darker fruits. The finish is already long and majestic. Exceptional wine"
DECANTER 97 POINTS - "Low yields of just 27hl/ha this year due to coulure, instead of a more normal 37hl/ha - so there might be no 2017 Renaissance produced. A tasting of the main constituent parts from barrel suggests a potent, ripe, tannic style. The young Reynards is rich in fruit with good acidity, if high in alcohol; Sabarotte is resolutely Cornas: impenetrable, resinous, firm and saline; Petit Côte and La Côte are fleshy and rich; the older Reynards admirably complete, with a massive, ripe tannic load. Pierre compares it to the 2009, albeit more structured. You'll need to keep this for a while, but it will be rewarding when finally ready."
- Item #: i_353207Bottle Size: 1.5LWINERY NOTES - Since the 2004 vintage, we have expanded our work with the Levet family to include a second bottling of Cote Rotie known as “Les Journaries”, a cuvée drawn from grapes harvested from old vines in the “La Landonne” lieu-dit. This wine is more subtle, more elegant and “quieter” if you will than the “Chavaroche”. At the same time, it is very much a Levet wine with a bouquet of violets, wild berries, a touch of animal and resinous-like tannins that speak of the inclusion of stems (a hallmark of the Levet tradition). The “Journaries” is approachable at an earlier stage than its companion “La Chavaroche” but, that being said, it is a wine that not only ages gracefully but almost requires a touch of patience. We now import approximately 1500 bottles plus magnums of this cuvée each vintage.
- Item #: i_352147Bottle Size: 750mlVery dark. There is an aroma of stylish black berry fruit inside the bouquet, which has an oaked, grilled outer, black cherry, the fruit clear, some nutshells also. This is sleekly fruited, with crisp tannins, mineral, vin de terroir within the oak. There is a close link between nose and palate. It drives along on a smooth route, presents very fine juice. Graphite and close-knit juice appear on the finish. "It is square, runs straight down the line, has graphite, minerality.
- Item #: i_351140Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 94WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - "On the darker side of the ledger, with currant and blackberry fruit laced with mesquite, bay leaf, iron and tobacco notes. A light smoldering charcoal hint through the finish melds with the fruit and other components. Best from 2020 through 2038. 83 cases made, 6 cases imported."
Francois Villard La Brocarde comes from vines planted on the Cote Blonde with up to 13% Viognier in the blend. The wine takes its name from the La Brocarde lieu-dit. The berries are whole cluster fermented and up to 30% of the grapes are destemmed. The wine is aged in between 80% new, French oak barrels to 100% new, oak, depending the character of the vintage. The wine spends close to 18 months in barrel before bottling. The production is quite small as only 100 cases are produced in an average year.
- Item #: i_350060Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 95-97Wine Spectator: 97Jeb Dunnuck: 98 PointsJEB DUNNUCK 96-98 POINTS: "Scheduled to be bottled just after this visit, the 2015 Côte Rôtie Château D'Ampuis reveals a deep ruby/purple color as well as an extraordinary bouquet of smoked black fruits, caramelized blackcurrants, leady herbs, ground pepper, and earth. It's deep, rich, massively concentrated, and a powerhouse of a wine that’s going to need bottle age, but wow, what a wine! The big news at the Guigal estate is the purchase of Domaine de Nalys in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The family has always wanted an estate in the South, and Nalys is an unrealized treasure trove of awesome terroir and old vines, both of which I’ve no doubt will be maximized by this talented family. In addition, the former winemaker at Paul Jaboulet Aîné, Jacques Desvernois, has joined the team, and while it’s not clear exactly what his role will be, I suspect he will largely lead the charge at Domaine de Nalys. Either way, Desvernois is an incredible talent and can only add to what is already a well-oiled machine. As to the wines reviewed in this report, I was able to taste multiple vintages of each of the cuvées and have listed the wines by cuvée as opposed to by vintage, which is how we tasted through the wines."
WINE SPECTATOR 97 POINTS: "A gorgeous core of steeped raspberry, boysenberry and fig fruit gives this a showy side. A lush structure flows underneath, while long echoes of warm ganache, black tea and espresso linger. The fruit keeps this in the suave and alluring camp overall, though there’s plenty of grip for cellaring. Best from 2022 through 2042."
ROBERT PARKER 95-97 POINTS: "The 2015 Côte Rôtie Château d'Ampuis finally approaches the lofty goals set for it by the Guigal family. It’s a bit toasty from the barrel but full-bodied, ripe and concentrated. Loaded with tannins and black raspberry fruit, it’s silky at the same time, leaving behind lingering traces of mocha and roasted meat on the long finish."
- Item #: i_353262Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 99 PointsJEB DUNNUCK 99 POINTS - "Reminding me of the 2009 La Chapelle (which is a personal favorite), the brilliant 2017 Hermitage La Chapelle knocks it out of the park with its massive, opulent personality. Notes of smoked black fruits, scorched earth, burning embers, and graphite as well as subtle background meatiness flow to a monster of a Hermitage that has full-bodied richness, incredible depth of fruit, and an overwhelming, sexy style that’s already impossible to resist. Do your best to hide bottles for 4-5 years, but it’s going to evolve for 40 years or more. There are roughly 2,000 cases of this elixir, and every Syrah lover out there should have a bottle (or more) in their cellar."
WINE ADVOCATE 98 POINTS - "The 2017 Hermitage La Chapelle comes from the firm's vineyards on the western half of the Hermitage slope, primarily Le Méal, but with substantial contributions from Les Rocoules and Les Bessards. Classic notes of cassis, black olives, mocha and roasted meat are joined by hints of baking spices in a wine that's full-bodied, deep, dense and rich, with a velvety texture and a lingering finish. It's lower in alcohol than the 2018, less voluptuous and maybe just a step behind that monumental wine, but it's still a serious collectible with three decades of evolution ahead of it."
- Item #: i_350621Bottle Size: 750mlPierre Bénetière applied his learnings from world-famous Georges Vernay and is now crafting some of the most old-school, hard-to-find Côte-Rôtie on the market. A “unicorn” producer, his holdings consist of a few organically farmed acres on vertiginous terraces.“Cordeloux” comes from a ~3.5 acre plot climat named “Corps de Loup” in the southern part of Côte-Rôtie. Expect incredibly highly perfumed and densely concentrated notes of blackberry, boysenberry, and blueberry to lead the charge, with olive tapenade, smoked meat, leather, damp violet, stems, and underbrush to follow. Rock-like minerality (crushed granite, turned earth) and slight pepper and spice round it out. The palate is deep and layered with simultaneous finesse. It’s a beautiful wine, medium-plus bodied with layers of fresh black and blue fruits accentuating the finish.
- Item #: i_352157Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 98Decanter: 98 PointsWINE ADVOCATE 98 POINTS - "The 2016 Côte Rôtie La Côte Blonde (from the lieu-dit of the same name—not a blend of sites) is a terrific effort. It blends the structure of la Viallière with the elegance of la Landonne, making it a truly complete and compelling bottle. Some mocha, black olive and meaty notes lend it a savory cast, while the palate is creamy and concentrated, firm but silky. It's medium to full-bodied, with a fine, licorice-tinged finish that lingers a good long time. It should drink well for 20+ years. When I arrived at the domaine, I went in an opened door and came upon René Rostaing, who was putting labels on bottles for shipment to the United States. I told him I had an appointment and he said, "Let me get the boss." We went across the street to the winery building, where he handed me off to his son Pierre, who is fully in charge of the winemaking now. He cranked the ventilation fan up to high so we could taste in the cellars, despite ongoing fermentations above. Following up on his exciting 2015s, both the 2016s and 2017s look similarly outstanding. He's releasing two additional single-vineyard wines (Côte Brune and La Viallière) from the 2016 vintage as an homage to his ancestors, with label designs from the past (Gentaz-Dervieux and Dervieux-Thaize). Of course, quantities are tiny, but not only are the labels retro-cool but the wines are damn good also.
DECANTER 98 POINTS - " No destemming here, aged in mostly old demi-muids with no more than 10% new oak. A captivatingly pretty floral fragrance can be coaxed out along with aniseed and blackberry notes, but it's tightly wound for now. The rounded palate is dense, with good concentration of red fruit and delightfully perfumed juniper. Soft tannins coat the mouth, and oak is present but well judged. There's good balancing acidity and a lovely, gently mineral seam leads onto a long, saline, savoury, piercing finish. Real detail and precision."
- Item #: i_352152Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 97Wine Spectator: 95Decanter: 97 PointsJeb Dunnuck: 96 PointsDECANTER 97 POINTS - "Aged in demi-muids - a maximum of 10% new oak - with no destemming. It has that austere mineral character on the nose so typical of La Landonne. It is rounded, with good concentration and ripeness, matched with ample, piercing acidity and bristling with fine, fresh tannins. Its intensity comes primarily from its structure and mineral content rather than the fruit, and it is incredibly energetic and lively on the palate. Powerful and very well balanced in a structural, chiselled style, this is in an altogether different league from his Ampodium, with a good balance of fruit, flowers and mineral scents."
WINE ADVOCATE 97 POINTS - "Subtle notes of baking spices frame hints of tea, olives and raspberries on the nose of the 2016 Côte Rôtie la Landonne. A paragon of elegance, it's medium to full-bodied, but silky from start to lingering finish. It's a wine that's pretty much guaranteed to make even the steeliest curmudgeon smile, as it's so bright, ephemeral and luscious. It's not the rich, ripe wine the 2015 is, but it's suave, complex and lonG."
- Item #: i_353288Bottle Size: 750mlJEB DUNNUCK 96 POINTS: "Like the 2016, the 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Hesperides is an even split of Grenache and Mourvèdre, from the les Bedines lieu-dit (100% sandy soils), that was completely destemmed and brought up mostly in stainless steel, with 20% in demi-muids. It’s a brilliant wine that offers lots of meaty, spice, licorice nuances, tons of blackberry and black raspberry fruit, full-bodied richness, sweet tannin and a blockbuster finish. It’s up with the crème de la crème of the vintage and will keep for two decades."
WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS: "