The personal website of

Master of Wine

Roger C. Bohmrich

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Tasted & Recommended - Rhône

I developed a close attachment to Rhône wines as an importer and retailer, and I have visited the region regularly for a very long time to taste the new vintage. On this page you will find my notes and comments for wines I have tasted recently that I think deserve recognition. Please consult the Tasting Notes & Ratings page for an explanation of my five-tier ranking system. I use the * symbol after the name of the wine, sometimes adding a + to signify higher quality, or (*) to indicate potential quality after further aging.

Are you interested in learning about Rhône Valley wines at an advanced level?
 
Do you have a good foundation of knowledge about the Rhône Valley? Are you now ready to graduate to a serious, advanced program of study? If so, then you should consider the Rhône Master-Level Program I teach for the French Wine Society. This is the gold standard when it comes to learning about Rhône wines. Quite simply, it is the most detailed and thorough academic program on this region and its wines available anywhere. We address every aspect of the Rhône from its history, climate and soils to grapes, viticulture and winemaking. Each and every appellation is examined in depth, leaving you with a complete understanding of the region's wines. The entire course is offered online through a series of on-demand webinars so you can study entirely at your own convenience - at any hour of the day or night!
 
To learn more, go to the FrenchWineSociety.org.
 
 
MY COMPLETE TASTING NOTES FROM THE
RHONE VALLEY - DECOUVERTES 2013
64 PAGES & DOZENS OF GROWERS
COMMENTS ON CURRENT VINTAGES & THUMBNAIL SKETCHES OF EACH DOMAINE

I attended the Découvertes in March 2015. Here are my tasting notes for the wines of the Northern Rhône. The next report will cover all the Southern Rhône appellations.

DECOUVERTES 2015 - PART ONE -
NORTHERN RHONE

Domaine des Grands Bois Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne «Cuvée Maximilien » 2011 ****(*)

Nearly dense, very healthy black red color. The aroma is lovely from the outset and reveals perfectly mature blackberry and boysenberry. In the mouth, the wine is largely closed but nonetheless offers a sensation of fat and roundness. The finish is marked by ripe, well-integrated tannin and a fine acid frame. This cuvee deservedly won a gold medal at the “Challenge Bio” competition. It represents the best qualities of vintage 2011 in the South at this level. 55% Grenache, 35% Mourvèdre (aged separately for 6 months in barrique), 5% each Syrah & Carignan.

 

Domaine de Montine Grignan-les-Adhémar « Séduction » 2011 ***(*+)

Dense black red with fine purple rim. The aroma is youthfully backward with hints of black currant, blackberry and a fine flowery highlight. The palate is precise and medium weight. There is a deceptively light, not viscous, feel belying hidden intensity. This is an elegant red modeled after Côte-Rôtie (at a fraction of the price!) and is worth seeking out. 90% Syrah and 10% Viognier co-fermented in truncated wood vats. Séduction was not produced in 2010 because they did not find the desired maturity that year.

Domaine Grand Veneur Lirac « Clos de Sixte » 2011 ****(+)
Moderately dense black purple. The aroma is very deep, pure and displays mature black cherry, red cherry and blackberry. The taste is already arresting and multidimensional for Lirac, with intricate fruit notes. The finish is youthful but long and promising. This example stands out for its class and restraint. 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah & 15% Mourvèdre.

Domaine Santa Duc Gigondas “Prestige des Hautes Garrigues” 2011 ****(+)

Moderately dense plus black purple. The nose is lovely, quite rich, warm and shows youthfully restrained dark fruit. The taste as well delivers the same pure fruit qualities. There is a refined, well-balanced structure. This Gigondas possesses polish and harmony and will come around in the mid-term. 80% Grenache & 20% Mourvèdre. Aging in Burgundy pièces and foudres.

 

Pierre Amadieu Gigondas “Le Pas de l’Aigle” 2010 ****(+) just bottled

Dense very dark red purple. Deep, warm, brooding nose with masked red fruit, toasted notes and a hint of fig jam. The taste is as well potent and backward, offering generosity and warmth and an intense finish with a powerful structure. The rich fruit is hidden. This needs at least 15 years to open. Ripest bunches of old vine Grenache (90%) plus Syrah. Long maceration and aging of 2 years in barrique and foudre.

 

Domaine Le Péage Gigondas 2011 ****(+)

Dense purple black. The nose is characterized by beautiful black and red cherry of noteworthy purity and ideal maturity. The palate similarly shows well-judged ripeness and has a generous, textured presence, and finishes with a well-integrated spine of acidity and relatively fine-grained tannins. This Gigondas shows splendid composition and has excellent cellaring potential. 80% Grenache, 15% Syrah & 5% Mourvèdre partially destemmed and aged in foudres.

 

Domaine Bosquet des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape  « Chante le Merle » 2011 ****(+)

Moderately dense blackish red with purple. Inviting scent of red cherry and warm berry compote. The taste is defined by excellent concentration, precision and a sinewy structure, with an underlying sweetness and nuanced ripe dark fruit. This excellent 2011 speaks loudly of its 90-year old Grenache (80%) complemented by 10% each of Syrah and Mourvèdre. No destemming, remontage and délestage in cement, aging in foudres and partly new demi-muids.

 

Domaine de la Janasse Châteauneuf-du-Pape  « Vieilles Vignes » 2011 ****(*)

Nearly dense very dark red with purple rim. The nose is largely held back yet shows concentrated dark fruit of class and maturity. The palate confirms the noteworthy concentration, yet the harmony and persistence are equally impressive at this stage. Fine, pronounced acidity comes up at the end with moderate tannic grip. This exemplifies the best attributes of the vintage. Comes from four parcels at the south (power) and north (elegance) of the appellation. Four-fifths Grenache plus several other varieties, 60 to 100 years old. Some stems are retained. Aging mainly in foudres with minority in partly new barriques.

 

Domaine Giraud Châteauneuf-du-Pape  « Les Grenaches de Pierre » 2011 ****(*) !

Nearly dense very dark purple red. Exciting aroma, concentrated and creamy with high-class red fruits of excellent maturity complemented by spice and roasted highlights. There is fabulous richness as well as tension in the mouth. The flavors are held back but indicate tremendous depth and intensity. There are marvelous concealed red and dark fruits such as cherry and strawberry, and the finish is long if youthfully undeveloped, leaving a sweet richness and defining, well-matched structure at the end. This has a long life ahead. One of the most memorable wines of this trip. Pure Grenache over 100 years of age grown on sand, aged in concrete. No fining or filtration.

 

Domaine Grand Veneur Châteauneuf-du-Pape  « Vieilles Vignes» 2011 ****(*) !
Nearly dense black red with purple. The nose is intense and penetrating, reflecting old vines (age undetermined). There is rich red and black cherry and blackberry fruit, and the aroma is assertive and impressive for its depth and power. The palate is highly concentrated, chewy and backward. Full and sinewy with remarkable strength. There is a mass of concealed dark fruit. Half Grenache with a large share of Mourvèdre (40%) and some Syrah.  Needs a decade to begin to show and will keep much longer. Aged for 18 months in all-new barrels.


Image © Roger C. Bohmrich

Gnarly vine trained en gobelet in Châteauneuf-du-Pape (photo taken in March)