Côte Rôtie, Cornas and Hermitage are the three hot spots of the northern Rhône where we find its most majestic and charismatic reds. Syrah’s beguiling, split personality is fully on display here, from the seductive, charming Côte Rôtie to the wild and rugged styles of Cornas through to the incredibly long-lived, imperial Hermitage.
With yields down 35%, there’s not much to go around and we’ve only received a small amount of this precious vintage. The 12’s shine beacon-like in comparison to vintages either side and are sure to reward.
2012 ~ A year of ‘strong floral character and fresh fruit’ ideal to showcase Côte Rôtie’s attributes. Shows the clarity and expression of the 2010 with a touch less rigidity, making them a beautiful and accessible, however their fine structure will also pay to cellar. Michel Chapoutier summarises with two words; ‘pure classicism’.
Please note prices below are our best net offer and no further discounts apply
BALTHAZAR – This is a very small traditional domaine with Franck Balthazar at the helm, taking the winery to higher grounds. His idols include two other Cornas icons, Auguste Clape and Thierry Allemand, both masters of the traditional way. Working a tiny two hectares of the beloved old vine Chaillot vineyard (45-95yo vines), Balthazar was the fortunate recipient of old vines from his uncle the legendary Noël Verset.
Importer Tim Stock sums them up nicely ‘They are tightly packed with the structure and heart to age for the long term but are vibrant and attractive still when young thanks to the use of older barrels.’
2012 Franck Balthazar Cornas Cuvee Casimir Balthazar
‘Fragrant, mineral-laced blackberry, boysenberry and violet aromas complemented by a deeper note of dark chocolate. The palate offers energetic dark berry and floral pastille flavors, along with hints of spice cake and smoky minerals. Racy and sharply focused Cornas with strong finishing cut and length and gentle tannins that come in late.’ Drink 2016 – 2025 — Josh Raynolds, Feb 2015 https://vinous.com/wines
2012 Franck Balthazar Cornas Chaillot
‘Ripe dark berries, candied plum and violet oil on the highly perfumed mineral- and smoke-accented nose. Supple and broad, offering palate-staining black raspberry and floral pastille flavors and a touch of white pepper. Finishes very long, spicy and floral, leaving a gently sweet blue fruit note.’
Drink 2017 – 2028 — Josh Raynolds, Feb 2015 https://vinous.com/wines
ROSTAING – René Rostaing inherited the prized vineyards of his uncle Marius Gentaz and father in law Albert Dervieux, both legendary Côte Rôtie winemakers. His holdings include more than 15 acres in some of the top lieux-dits of Côte Rôtie; Côte Blonde, La Landonne and Côte Brune. The wines are elegant and ethereal expressions, holding true to their terroir, never masked by excessive oak or alcohol. As René states ‘It is important to extract, but one should not club or beat up the wine. One wants to keep the finesse. I vinify with an old, traditional mindset and spirit, but with modern materials.’ Stems are used in a ‘moderate way’ followed by 2 weeks maceration.
2012 Domaine René Rostaing Côte Rôtie Ampodium
“… highly floral and spicy, with intense dark berry and bitter cherry flavors becoming sweeter with aeration. This precise wine finishes with excellent thrust, sneaky tannins and lingering floral and Asian spice notes.
Rostaing pointed out that this is a perfect example of a 2012 that shows wonderfully now but that’s set to shut down in “about six months,” after which it should be left alone for at least three to five years. Drink 2016 – 2030 — Josh Raynolds, Feb 2015 https://vinous.com/wines
2012 Domaine René Rostaing Côte Rôtie La Landonne
‘…Potent, smoke-tinged black and blue fruit scents, along with notes of pencil lead, violet and allspice. Spicy and incisive on the palate, offering vibrant blackcurrant and bitter cherry flavors that put on weight with air. Shows excellent clarity and power on the extremely long, spice-laced finish, which features youthfully chewy tannins and a whiplash of candied flowers.’
Drink 2018 – 2035 — Josh Raynolds, Feb 2015 https://vinous.com/wines
2012 Domaine René Rostaing Côte Rôtie Côte Blonde
‘…intense aromas of red fruit liqueur, potpourri, smoky minerals and white pepper; smells like a very serious Burgundy from a ripe year. Palate-staining raspberry and floral pastille flavors are accented by an exotic jolt of blood orange. … finishing with resonating minerality and outstanding persistence. This graceful wine should enjoy a long evolution thanks to its balance.’
Drink 2018 – 2035 — Josh Raynolds, Feb 2015 https://vinous.com/wines
JAMET – After working together since the 80’s, brothers Jean Paul and Jean Luc Jamet are now releasing separate cuvées. Evocatively perfumed and sleekly textured, these wines are simply breathtaking, and demand always far outstrips supply.
Key to the Jamet’s outstanding quality is grape selection, they have 25 plots spread across 17 lieux-dits (single vineyards). The majority of their sites are located in the Côte Brune where the brown schist soils produce more black fruited syrah, with firm tannic structure and ageability. Conversely, the few sites of the Côte Blonde based on granite soils give a more floral lift and finer structure to complement the dark and tannic Côte Brune fruit. Whole bunch fermentation is employed adding a sappy complexity to the florals and dark fruits.
2012 Domaine Jean Paul & Corinne Jamet Côte Rôtie
(15% new oak): Deep ruby. Complex, highly perfumed bouquet evokes fresh red and dark berries, incense, violet and cracked pepper, along with a vibrant mineral overtone. Juicy and focused on the palate, offering intense blackberry, bitter cherry and floral pastille flavors that stretch out slowly with air. This concentrated yet lively Côte-Rôtie finishes with superb clarity and even tannins.
Drink 2018 – 2032 — Josh Raynolds, Feb 2015 https://vinous.com/wines
CHAVE – From the glorious granitic hill of Hermitage, the Chaves have been making wine here since the 15th century. Andrew Jefford rightly describes this long family line as having ‘fair claim to be France’s winemaking royal family!’ Empowered with a wealth of knowledge and perfectly positioned vineyards, Gerard and his son Jean-Louis Chave create a lavish and authoritative syrah blend each vintage. The vines are late picked, no new oak is used and their spellbinding intensity demands ageing. Syrah from the famed lieu-dit ‘Bessards’ is integral, providing backbone and black fruit profile.
2012 Domaine Jean Louis Chave Hermitage
Tasted from its final three component tanks on the same day that the final blend was to be made: …Fleshy, broad and smoky, … sappy and seamless… highly perfumed red fruit and floral pastille scents and flavors, with a peppery element adding urgency. Silky and fine-grained, showing excellent closing thrust and length. The ultimate wine should offer a suave blend of richness and vivacity, with textbook dark fruit, spice and floral Syrah character and the balance to age. — Josh Raynolds, Feb 2015 https://vinous.com/wines