Rhone Tasting Part 1 – Cote Rotie

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Cote Rotie (‘the roasted slope’) is the most northerly region of the Northern Rhone valley. I don’t think that many people have heard of this region unless you are a someone who loves the purest expression of the Syrah grape variety. It was my good fortune to be looking after this room that was home to some of the greatest domaines in the region.

Two of our favourite producers flew over to stand behind their tables and show off their 2008 vintage. Rene Rostaing (assisted by his charming son) and Pierre Gaillard were standing tall. Pierre has not made his top cuvee La Rose Pourpre this year, so all of his grapes have gone into his friendly, early-drinking Cote Rotie.

Pierre Gaillard
Pierre Gaillard

Rene’s wines were, as always outstanding. He brought over barrel samples of all three cuvees – his straight Cote Rotie, La Landonne and Cote Blonde – although he has not yet decided which wines he is going to bottle. He says that they are changing so dramatically from week to week it is impossible to make a final selection. If you are interested in his wines please let us know then we can be in touch once we know what he has decided to make and what they are going to cost.

The Rostaings before the rush
The Rostaings before the rush

Clusel Roch and Domaine de Monteillet (my personal favourite) with Domaine Bonnefond and Michel Ogier couldn’t make it over but sent samples. Of these Bonnefond and Clusel Roch were the two tables I kicked off with. Two very different styles, the Bonnefond, rich and modern, purity is there, the wines are voluptuous and sexy.. Clusel Roch’s wines are much more feminine, the epitome of elegance, very perfumed…

At this point, I moved into the cheese room to have a little mouthful of Beaufort, on a freshly dunked chunk of bread in olive oil…sorry, back to the tasting…

Monteillet managed to send over 2 samples of his 2007 vintage, which, whilst the wines were quite fantastic, did cause a little bit of confusion. Luckily the domaine have said that they will sell us some more of his 2007!! And Robin says his 2008s are not dissimilar – less powerful but with the same wonderful sweet supple fruit.

Ogier’s wines were some of the best in the room, although he too sent a 2007, feeling his 2008 was at an awkward stage of its development. The 2007 was quite sensational.

For me, this year, it is all about Bonnefond and Domaine de Monteillet. Clusel Roch I have bought over the years and I love their wines, but this time.. bring on that Bonnefond!