There has been a buzz all month; tongues have been wagging amongst the Goedhuis clientele with regard to how good these 2007 Rhones really are?
Some read press articles, others were drawn in by reading our emails, but one thing is for sure on tasting them last Tuesday 18th November at the New Saatchi Gallery, there was no hiding that fact that some brilliant wines have been made this year.
350 people descended on the Duke of York’s HQ off the Kings Rd in Chelsea for our annual Rhone tasting and what a majestic and fitting venue for showing off this great vintage! The gallery, designed by Paul Davis, encompasses 70,000 sq feet of white, clean, airy space and cutting-edge steel and glass structures. It houses 18 extremely large galleries, stuffed with some of the weirdest, quirkiest and most thought provoking works of contempory modern art.
It was in three of these galleries only that we unleashed to our clients the 2007 northern and southern Rhone wines. In the North the vintage was classic, with pure and elegant fruit, excellent freshness and fine, balanced tannins. Stephane Ogier making his views clear by saying his 2007’s are “˜richer than his 2006’s and will give more pleasure early than his 2005’s’. The first room was home to our Cote Rotie domaines, Clusel Roch, Bonnefond, Ogier, De Monteillet, Gaillard and last but not the least the suave figure of Rene Rostaing. Everyone will have their favourites but for me Clusel Roch’s Cote Rotie was so very fine, so elegant, with sweet white peppery fruit, a wine that embodies finesse. Lovely wine.
However it was at Domaine de Monteillet that I really started to get my whiskers in a twist, Stephane Montez’s Fortis was my Cote Rotie of the tasting, it has everything I want in a wine, purity of dense fruit, finesse, wonderful aromatics and a long and complex finish. I’ve bought a case, too hard to resist.
Having moved through the roasted slopes we come to Hermitage and it was Colombier‘s that caught my eye; the wine has juicy, sweet dark fruit, a firm structure and an exhilarating finish. On to St Joseph, one of my favourite regions because it offers fantastic value for money. Andre Perret’s, whilst not a heavy weight had a silkiness on the palate that for 99.00 GBP I found very hard not to quickly tuck away the bottle (!)
It was around now that I decided a “˜freshener’ was needed and bee-lined, fast, towards the cheeses and Parma ham. To manoeuvre from some of the finest domains in the Northern Rhone, to be firmly embedded in a corner of this awesome gallery, surrounded by some of the most delicious and pungent smelling cheeses of France, was a beautiful moment.
Weaving through the crowds from the cheese to the Parma ham and back to the cheese for 10 minutes was a shrewd plan because it wasn’t long before I was in the second room and moving through the Southern Rhone, Clos de Cazeaux of Vacqueyras, Domain Cayron of Gigondas, Chateau St Jacques d’Albas of the Minervois and James Kinglake of Domaine Begude. It was in the far corner of the second room where I came across the vertical of Trevallon wines, an exhilarating selection of their finest recent vintages including the 1990!
The Southern Rhone has made a vintage that will go down in history as one of the greats. Certainly when our buyer returned from the Rhone she couldn’t have been more enthusiastic, coupled with the acclaim of Bob Parker who has said that the wines were the finest he has tasted in his 30 years of tasting in the region…lush wines, juicy wines, perfectly balanced Chateauneuf du Papes….and were they?
The last room was home to Font de Michelle, Versino, Beaucastel and Clos des Papes. On entering the room you were hit by the super-charged atmosphere. To my right was Versino and Font de Michelle sharing a table, they had a permanent thrall of people around them all night, so I moved in to take a look and was met with 4 brilliant wines, the village cuvees, fantastic value for money, not a hard edge in sight, perfect balance, concentrated, finesse-driven fruit, fantastic. The 2 top cuvees, Cuvee Felix of Versino and Cuvee Etienne Gonnet of Font de Michelle were two of the stars of the tasting for me, they will evolve into wonderfully streamlined, powerful and complex wines.
We finished on the Clos des Papes and Beaucastel. Arguably 2 of the greatest wines made each year in the Rhone. Both received rave reviews from the journalists and both can sit back and enjoy the ride and it is going to be a very long one at that, the Beaucastel built with a structure that will last for 30years +, it is positively brimming with dark intense fruit, honestly, it is fantastic. Why? It has every component in spades and it is all in perfect harmony. Buy it.
I suppose I should say a few words about Clos des Papes: 98-100 Robert Parker, one of the greatest wines ever made at the domaine….
If you haven’t bought 2007 Rhone, you should be!!