Northern Rhone (blind)

Willamette Wine Storage
Tasted Thursday, May 27, 2010 by dbp with 522 views

Introduction

The second "last Thursday" wine tasting at Willamette Wine Storage, and the first I was able to attend. Tashina made some grubbin' food, and all the wines were served blind this time. David noticed all the wines were red, so commented, "Oh, let me go get a white," and throws down with the Chave Hermitage blanc! Awesome. Both the Chave's were a treat to be able to try, but unfortunately weren't showing too well for me on this night. I loved seeing the same wine twice as well. Normally it's interesting to calibrate a palate, but in this case the wines were definitely drastically different in character, even across retastes, and I feel comfortable with my differing assessments. Fun!

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Flight 1 (3 Notes)

  • 2008 Arcane Cellars Riesling 89 Points

    USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley

    Smells a bit soapy, and like a crab shell. Really weird, but interestingly good. The palate is fairly rich and creamy, showing some spice and jasmine flower. Nice acidity burns deep into the finish in a very pleasing kind of way, surrounded by minerality. Not a very complex wine, but very delicious for what it is.

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  • 2002 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc 87 Points

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage

    Pop and poured, which likely contributed to a less than expected experience. The nose is very rich and creamy, expressing lots of dirty oak, charred marshmallow, and thick smoke. There's this odd stringy, moldy cheese thing on the palate, oak spice, and quite a lot of barrel funk. The finish is slightly hot, expressing spice, and leaves me with the impression of licking an aluminum block. The metallic aftertaste holds, and feels a bit harsh, though this does mellow over time.

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  • 1999 Domaine Courbis Cornas Les Eygats 88 Points

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas

    Nice soft nose, showing some ripe plums, and the fundip candy stick. Soft and creamy palate shows some oak, dark fruits, and tannins build. Mild overall. The finish has grippy tannins, some tart darker fruits, and while tasty, is overall a little pedestrian.

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Flight 2 (9 Notes)

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  • 1999 Domaine de Bonserine Côte-Rôtie 87 Points

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie

    Smells a bit more aged than the previous wine (though wasn't), and is certainly more cloudy in color. The nose expresses, older, dusty fruits, including over ripe plum. Nice and mild in texture and fruit on the palate, with some light acidity. Some funk into the finish, with the acid, and light spice...

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  • 1998 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde 91 Points

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie

    Much more complex aromas, though lighter in scale than the previous wines. Very delicious, soft aromas of spice, pepper, graphite, but there's also this nice pine aroma. Overall the nose is more about elegance than any of the particular flavors. Again, more mellow on the palate, soft in texture, and very tight. Nice structure. Nice spice into the finish, with good acid building; tight structure, with more light pine tree. Really good. Would wait another 5 years on these.

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  • 1996 Alain Voge Cornas Cuvée Vieilles Fontaines 81 Points

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas

    Nice textural aroma; light but deep. Much more on the palate, really weird and off balanced though; hard for me to pinpoint what was going on. Ack, the finish I can tell what's going on, and it tastes like vomit coming up after a full night of drinking Miller High Life and eatin' Doritos. Tons of volatile acidity; really off putting. It finishes like a dirty construction site. It really slaps me in the face and confuses me. No thanks... the finish is a killer here, despite the moderate nose and palate.

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  • 2005 Betts & Scholl Hermitage 91 Points

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage

    Smells great... rich and exuberant, yet light in scale. Nice complexity of earth aromas including graphite. Pleasing complexity on the palate, rich and lithe, soft, light, and complex, expressing some floral components. Very pretty with building structure, acidity and tannins. Impressive balance and acidity with great structure. Definitely tastes young. My WOTN 91+

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  • 1994 Domaine Gallet (Henri et Philippe) Côte-Rôtie 86 Points

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie

    Richer and deeper color, a little musty on the nose, but still pleasing and exuberant. Interesting cola flavor on the palate, wet forest, wood, and damp earth. Pretty nice. Totally disorienting fried egg component on the finish, tasting of the oil and pan as well; interesting, and not bad, but it's still kind of weird and burning. Off balanced finish.

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  • 1998 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde 86 Points

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie

    Okay... totally weird. Identical wine as earlier in the night, and I got a totally different impression! Many others got a similar drastically different note as I did, while at least one other thought they tasted the same. I re-tasted these and still got the totally different impression. I wouldn't think this would be strictly a provenance issue, as they flat out tasted differently styled. Perhaps a different bottling? Anyway, this one was speaking to me like a Californian Syrah. It was oaky, and smelled of lily pollen. Big on the palate as well, with building tannins, and tasting new worldy again. Spicy acid into the finish, with big fruit. This one was definitely more "open" than the previous bottle, but it certainly wasn't as enjoyable. A fun experience.

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  • 1999 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde 88 Points

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Côte-Rôtie

    Tight, light, but nice balanced fruit on the nose. Rich, deep darker fruit on the palate, with big tannins. Feels young and tight on the finish, but rich. Nice structure, but not much showing through at present. Definitely a tighter bottle, and less evolved, than the one I had last year.

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  • 2000 Cave de Tain Cornas Les Nobles Rives 91 Points

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas

    Rich, big, and thick on the nose. It does smell older, and more advanced. The palate is really interesting, with leather, some barbecue sauce over stewed cherries, and rich funk. Wow, the finish is really exploding with deep, nice tart fruit, rich and beautiful right now. A very polarizing wine for folks on this night. This was slow-oxygenated for 12 hours before pouring.

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  • 1998 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage 87 Points

    France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage

    I'm with Keith Levenberg on this one... this bottle was not showing much. It was only in the decanter for around an hour when I had it. It was hugely tight on the nose... not showing much at all but its structure. Rich and almost modern on the palate, showing some pickles, and deep dark fruit. Some spice and nice acid carry into the finish, which is again fairly light. Probably a strange phase for this particular bottle, but still not something I'd rush for. A good wine to have with the label not showing.

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Closing

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Chas actin' a fool over some Cote Rotie.

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