Miscellaneous Northern Rhônes recently sampled II

The producers are enthusiastic about all three of the 2012, 2013, and 2014 vintages, and these wines back them up. 

As has been the case for some time, your best values are from less prestigious appellations where you can get wines that are not far from the top wines of the Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie appellations and better than many, if not most, wines from those two appellations. Nevertheless, when you get a top Hermitage or Côte-Rôtie (or Cornas), such as Faurie's Hermitages below, the experience can be magnificent.





Bernard BURGAUD

Burgaud has long been near the top of my list of Côte-Rôtie producers, important since there are not many producing wines up to the potential of the appellation these days.

2012 Côte-Rôtie
If there’s a problem with this wine, it’s that the drinking is so easy and delightful now, can there be any future? (I would say yes, due to the balance, but it may not be as long as in other vintages). The wine has spicy dark berry fruit in the nose and mouth, medium weight, and round tannins – it drinks well already and acidity seems to be moderate. 12.5% stated alcohol. Lot  L013. 90(+)/B+



Bernard FAURIE
2012 Hermitage     white capsule
The white capsule is from vines in the Bessards and Gréffieux lieux-dits. How old are the vines, you ask? About 100 years. The wine is ripe, but not overripe. The nose shows strong dark plum fruit. The mouth is ripe with smooth tannins. The fruit here, too, is dark plum and ther is a subtle minerality to it. The balance and depth are excellent and the wine is medium-weight and overall elegant. Acidity is moderate, but acceptable. Although the wine goes down so easily now, think about holding it 10-15 years for even more profound results.  13.5% stated alcohol. 93/A

2012 Hermitage     gold capsule
The gold capsule without an “M” on it is from a mixture of the Bessards and Gréal lieux-dits. The nose is intoxicating with pure, deep, focused dark plum fruit. The mouth is medium-full with moderate acidity, some tannin (although primarily round ones), and very deep, concentrated dark plum and other dark fruits. The balance is very good, but this is a wine that needs plenty of time to develop its inherent complexity.  It is a wine to begin drinking when you’ve exhausted your white capsule supply, that is, begin in 15 years or so. 13.5% stated alcohol. Lot L 14107. 95(+)/A

2012 Saint-Joseph
Faurie’s vines in Saint-Joseph are some of the best-located in all the Rhône, so it’s hardly surprising that he has produced a wine of this quality. The nose and mouth are very pure and precise in steely red and dark fruit that has some spice. The body is medium-weight, firm, and sculpted, and although this wine is impressive now, it is very primary, so I’d give it 5-8 years to show its full potential. 13% stated alcohol. Lot L 14197. 92+/A



Lionel FAURY (formerly Philippe FAURY)

Philippe Faury has changed the name of the operation from that of his father, but the quality remains as high as ever.

2014 syrah   aop Collines Rhodaniennes
This is like a lighter, slightly less precise version of Faury’s outstanding Saint-Joseph and Côte-Rôtie. The nose shows black pepper and tropical fruit aromas. The mouth is light with violets, dark berry and plum fruit, some spice, minerality, and a smooth texture. It is just a touch dilute. This wine provides excellent drinking for the next few years at a modest price. 12% stated alcohol. 86/B



La FERME DES SEPT LUNES/Jean DELOBRE


2012 Saint-Joseph   chemin faisant
Delobre, who refers to himself on the back label as a “paysan vigneron” (peasant wine producer) has been bottling wines since 2001 (the estate dates to 1984, when his grandfather started it, and at the time included apricots and grains, as was common in the region at the time). The wine is certified organic and is a favorite in Paris of the unsulfured wine crowd. The location is in the central part of the Saint-Joseph appellation, an area that doesn’t have the history of the original portion of the appellation around Mauves, Tournon, and Saint-Jean-de-Muzols (were, e.g., Gonon and Faurie are located) or the northern portion near the Côte-Rôtie appellation (where, e.g., Perret and Faury are located). So people are still trying to figure out the exact potential of the vines here. This wine is a strong argument that there can be great potential. The nose has the smoky, black olive nose of an Hermitage. The mouth is elegant and silky with black olives, dark plum fruit and a hint of violets. I have no experience aging these wines, but it already is attractive and I’d probably go for it now. 12.5% stated alcohol. Lot LSJR12. 90/A



Pierre GONON

2013 Vin de Pays de l’Ardèche
Although not especially complex, this wine is notable for the beauty and purity of its violet fruit in a medium-weight body. There’s some tannin and acid here, so this wine should hold or improve in the cellar for 5 or more years. The wine is rather ripe, so I’d serve it a bit chilled. 13% stated alcohol. 88(+)/A

2012 Saint-Joseph
This is a wine notable for its intensity and balance. The nose shows classic violets and slight gaminess. The mouth is extremely dense with slight gaminess/balsamic quality to the dark fruit, but as I stated above, everything seems to be in balance. You can drink the wine now, as the tannins are round, but if you hold it 10+ years, I think you may wind up with something extraordinary. 13% stated alcohol. 91/A



Alain GRAILLOT

2013 Crozes-Hermitage
A bottle last spring seemed overripe, but another bottle two months later, while still relatively rich, showed the wine settling down. The nose has smoky dark plums. The wine is velvety with dark plums and a hint of violets. Not my favorite Crozes from Graillot, but good nonetheless. 13% stated alcohol. Lot L3. 89/A-


Domaine JAMET/Corinne & Paul JAMET

2013 aop Collines Rhodaniennes    syrah
Athough relatively light in body, this wine is intense and concentrated in flavor with dark plum and red berry fruit, a little spice, and good acidity. It’s a good, easy introduction to the wines of the Northern Rhône without requiring the drinker to concentrate. In other words, excellent as an aperitif, by itself at a bar, or for simple meals at home. 12.5% stated alcohol. Lot LP 13. 87/A-



2013 Côtes-du-Rhône

From the reigning king of Côte-Rôtie, this wine isn’t entitled to the Côte-Rôtie appellation, yet it is better than the large share of wine produced today under that appellation. The mouth is silky and pure with violets and dark stone fruits with a touch of bacon and a nice bite on the finish, but not too much tannin. Drink this over the next few years while you allow your Jamet Côte-Rôties (should you be lucky enough to garner any) to mature.  12.5% stated alcohol. 91/A+



Vincent PARIS

2012 Cornas   granit 60   vieilles vignes

Paris’s wines have always struck me as a combination of traditional Cornas with a little new style to them. It’s difficult without further perspective to know whether the fact that this wine is moving closer to traditional Cornas is a function of the vintage or an evolution at the estate. Nevertheless, I am impressed by the old-style depth of spicy dark plum Syrah fruit with good concentration and a little more wildness than formerly were found in Paris’s wines. The tannins, too, are a little less civilized than they used to be. Taking account of differences of terroir and price, you might want to call this Cornas Thierry Allemand light, which, considering my great admiration for Allemand, is meant as substantial praise. The wine is drinkable now, and I’d guess up to 2030 to be its best drinking period. Lot L.1. 13% stated alcohol. 92(+)/A