I recently attended a dinner where the wine theme was Rhone and we tasted wines from both northern Rhone and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Most of the wines where from 2010, which is considered to be a fantastic, but still very young vintage. The youthfulness was also very apparent in the tasting and we also felt that some of the wines had gone into a tunnel phase.
Below are tasting notes and some basic information about some of the producers.
2010 E. Guigal St. Joseph Lieu-Dit St. Joseph Rouge
The Guigal family have had an enormous influence on the development in the region. They do both Estate bottling and act as negotiant, and today they produce wines from both Northern and Southern Rhone.
Rather sweet and soft fruit combined with slight vanilla notes. Careful but rather precise acidity on the palate where we again find vanilla and the soft fruit but also some white pepper and oranges. Tannins are very velvety and of good quality, though there is a hint of oak bitterness in the finish.
Pleasant and likable wine but rather one dimensional and simple.
2010 Domaine Yves Cuilleron St. Joseph Les Serines
Domaine Yves Cuilleron has vineyards in St. Joseph, Condrieu, Côte Rôtie, Cornas and St. Péray. They produce wines in a rather modern style but are increasingly careful with oak and today use less than 20% of new oak.
The nose is dense with fruit notes, herbs and hints of oil paint. Still it manages to keep an energetic and fresh expression.
The acidity is amazing but a bit dominant at the moment. The balance should improve greatly with time. There is mainly dark fruit in the beginning but then some red fruit comes through, together with minerals and a hint of marzipan.
The wine has fantastic precision and should develop beautifully with time.
2010 Domaine du Tunnel (Stéphane Robert) Cornas Vin Noir
The style of Domaine du Tunnel i classical/traditional and they avoid new oak barrels to avoid masking the wine. In their Cornas Vin Noir the grapes are from 100 year old vines.
Dense dark fruit, orange peel, spices and some under vegetation greets us in this rather forward nose.
The palate opens up with almost sourish red fruit together with softer blueberries. boysenberries and some black pepper in the background. Tannins are very present but of good quality and never gets dry.
Great nose but the palate gets a bit heavy and has a slight bitterness. This wine needs much more time to reach the peak but the potential is good.
2010 Domaine du Colombier Hermitage
This wine is made of grapes from three different lieux-dits in Hermitage. Before 1991 the grapes from these vineyards where sold to negotiants. They ferment the grapes in whole clusters and the wine has been aged in french oak barrels, where approximately 30% are new.
A compact nose with an abundance of oil paint and soft dark fruit from blueberries, boysenberries and a hint of violet. Despite the masculine expression the nose manages keep a freshness.
The palate has a slightly sweet expression but this is complemented well with an energetic acidity. There are lots of berries, both red and dark but unfortunately also oak notes that masks the fruit and makes the wine slightly heavy. The tannins are clearly also affected by the oak treatment.
The wine has a fantastic nose but gets heavy on the palate and you need a break between each sip.
2006 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Réservée
Domaine du Pegau produces Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine in classical style with no destemming or new wood. The red wines are dominated by the Grenache grape.
Very ripe fruit, mainly plums and apricot, but also a slightly oxidized expression and some tobacco and violet. Initially the wine has some barnyard notes but these quickly disappear.
The palate has sweet red berries, some ginger and sandy tannins. Acidity is very careful and soft but still present.
For a wine showing this amount of ripe fruit and with a rather low acidity it manages to stay surprisingly fresh.
2010 Domaine Chante Cigale Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes
Domaine Chante Cigale represent a more modern style of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The vines used for this wine are at least 80 years old and the wine has been aged in both stainless steel tanks and new French oak barrels.
An abundance of dense fruit, some orange peel, tea, herbs but also some green notes make up the nose. The palate has a powerful expression with some clear alcohol notes. Again there is a green touch to the wine and there is some black pepper, boysenberries and a rather fresh acidity. The finish unfortunately gets rather bitter, probably from oak.