2010 marks the first vintage that René will be calling his Cuvée Classique ‘Ampodium', the oldGallo-Roman name for Ampuis. And it displays all the classicism and grandness that ancient Roman culture exemplified. A notably appealing wine with a tender, succulent core of fruit and lots of crunchy freshness. René added 50-55% stems while vinifying, adding a degree of complexity and grounded earthiness. Very Rostaing. Utterly delicious.
Réné Rostaing is a man of many words. Insightful and measured, he is the Socrates of winemakers. In his reasoned search for truth, he was able to learn from such Rhône Valley greats including his father-in-law, Albert Dervieux and uncle, Marius Gentaz. Upon their retirements, Réné eventually took over the majority of their vineyards giving him superb parcels of exceptionally old vines such as those in La Vallière and La Landonne in Côte Brune. René retired after the 2014 vintage, leaving the estate in the capable hands of his son Pierre. René had spent 40 years building a reputation as the patriarch of the Northern Rhône, and Pierre’s handling of the 2015s shows a seamless handover has taken place. Old vines from some of the region’s greatest sites, 100% whole bunch vinification, long macerations and temperate use of French oak mean the Rostaing wines reveal the soul of their terroirs. After studying in Montpellier Pierre did a stage at Domaine Comtes Lafon, and the Burgundian touch is clear in his wines. There may be power and structure to these Syrahs, but there is also a silky smoothness reminiscent of the Côte D’Or. Pierre has continued his father’s inimitable style in the Condrieu, fermenting and ageing in stainless steel, meaning La Bonnette is the perfect antidote to the heavily oaked, fatty style favoured by some other Condrieu producers. Over the years, their natural winemaking methods have earned them an excellent reputation and have created such a loyal following that disciples from all over the world seek out these unique bottlings.
Only a red wine appellation, Côte Rôtie is the most northern of all Rhône appellations and is produced mostly from Syrah, although Viognier may contribute up to 20% of the blend. Its terroir is divided into two categories. Côte Brune's soil is comprised of iron-entrenched granite giving thesoil a rich red-brown colour. As a result, it creates wine of notable power and concentration that usually needs time in the cellar to soften and develop. Heading south down the slope towards Condrieu, one encounters Côte Blonde, an area comprised of decomposed schist and mica that is lighter in colour and tends to produce elegantly styled wine for earlier consumption (most of the area's Viognier is grown here). Many traditional producers of Côte Rôtie feel that their best wines are a blend of the two.