Rhone dinner

Tasted Saturday, September 14, 2013 by Chomsky with 167 views

Introduction

I had the fortune to share in a spectacular dinner with an insane lineup of mostly Northern Rhone reds at the home of a friend.

Flight 1 (2 Notes)

We started with a few whites:

Flight 2 (11 Notes)

And then the reds:

  • 1994 Château Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reserve

    France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    impossibly awesome. Incredible savory perfume fragrance, superb finesse. I just wanted to bury my nose in my glass, privately, in a corner, in the dark, weeping. Why can't Châteauneuf be this good all the time? (There was also a 2008 Charvin Châteauneuf that I forgot to try; most said it was the most Rayas-like non-Rayas Châteauneuf they had tasted in recent memory.)

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  • 1996 Domaine Jasmin Côte-Rôtie

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie

    something weird happening here. Off-putting sour/lactic note marred whatever there was to be enjoyed. Seemed overly polished and modern as well (not saying it was modern, but came across as such).

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  • 1991 Domaine de Vallouit Côte-Rôtie La Voniere

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie

    Now we're talking! Such great old-school breeding. Classic smoke and bacon nose, fruit still in full evidence. Well into maturity but no hurry here. Top-drawer Côte-Rôtie.

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  • 1998 Domaine de Vallouit Hermitage Les Greffières

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage

    very youthful, nose suggested possible TCA to some, but it's muscular and spicy on the palate, quite impressive. Needs a lot of time; 10 years?

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  • 1990 Robert Michel Cornas La Geynale

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas

    Totally delicious old Cornas, a very good bottle. Smoke, leather, gravel. I'd be thrilled to drink this anytime but it got blown off the table by some of the other wines.

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  • 1989 Pierre Gonon St. Joseph Les Oliviers

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, St. Joseph

    Very delicate and light in profile compared to all the Cote-Roties and Cornas, but with hallmark aged notes giving it nice lift and complexity. Very refined. Reminded me of a 1994 Trollat Saint-Joseph tasted in the recent past. Very happy to have tried this as the only bottle of older Gonon I had a chance to buy myself was corked. Drink up.

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  • 1997 Clusel-Roch Côte-Rôtie Les Grandes Places

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie

    Textbook awesome oldschool Cote-Rotie. Ash, brine, meat. Almost fully transformed into non-fruit complexity, though there's a core of fruit still powering this along. Everyone at the table snapped to attention when this one was poured. This was a revelation to me as I've spent very little time with Clusel Roch's wines. Just so damn good.

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  • 1997 Domaine Jamet Côte-Rôtie

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie

    OMFG. Beyond spectacular. The nose is an indescribable array of exotic and flamboyant Northern Rhone scents, and it's so refined and filigreed in texture but with stunning intensity and power. Absolutely arresting and singularly awesome wine with lots of life ahead. This and the Verset were my favorites.

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  • 1999 Noël Verset Cornas

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas

    Off-the-chain awesomeness. Just beginning to hit its stride of greatness. The fruit is so 1999 rich, but it's just a part of the kaleidoscope of classic Verset flavors: pork broth, blood, seared meats, olives, etc. There's Verset and then there's everyone else. What a pleasure and privilege to drink this magnificent wine.

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  • 1997 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage

    Superb. So much class and refinement here, and early prime time on the drinking window.

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  • 1994 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Mouline

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie

    You know, this was pretty awesome. But it was so different than the others, with a very firm beam of very ripe fruit, though without any blowsy richness. The more classic Syrah characteristics expressed themselves on the finish; olive especially. Some oaky drying tannins clamped off the very end. This seemed very young to me. Of the 4-wine flight of this, the Jamet, the Verset, and the Chave, this was the least interesting to me.

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