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Free Jasmin

Jasmin 1996 Côte-Rôtie (Rhône) – This is the first bottle of a quantity of these that has not been a wretched, stewed mess (and/or corked). And while it’s no great wine, it is at least good…and, for a change, tastes like a Côte-Rôtie rather than a toxic waste dump. Keening acidity, brittle and somewhat flaky dried-meat aromatics that blend seamlessly into an equally brittle and flaky structure, and a dusting of blended peppercorns. Quite pleasant. Of course, a Jasmin Côte-Rôtie should be a good deal more than “quite pleasant,” but at this point I’ll take what I can get. (11/11)

Good broth

Bonnefond 1999 Côte-Rôtie (Rhône) – Cooked caramel butter. Some earth and minerality, but this both tastes and feels “made,” and I don’t care for it. (5/11)


Jasmin 1996 Côte-Rôtie (Rhône) – Just as bad as the rest of the bottles, though there’s still that fleeting, two- or three-minute flirtation with a lovely, entirely typical aroma of meat and violets. I’m not going to open these to drink anymore (I still have five, I think), but in the absence of actual flaws I think they might make decent enough cooking wines. As it, they’re merely an expensive lesson in unguarded enthusiasm for too-good-to-be-true pricing on older wines. (10/10)


Jasmin 1996 Côte-Rôtie (Rhône) – Washed out, overly acidic, and just generally awful. I doubt, based on several similar experiences, that there is anything in this wine that could possibly improve with more time. However, there are others that report positive experiences with this wine from different importers; this is the Chadderdon bottling. (12/09)


[vineyard]Gaillard 1999 Côte-Rôtie “Rose Pourpre” (Rhône) – Very aromatic, but it’s not all the violet-infused terroir…it’s the wood, as well, which is still hovering and expansive, though signs of its eventual integration are apparent. Beef-tinged earth does not detract from an overall elegance, but there’s reticence as well, and many veils yet to be penetrated. This has many, many years to go. It’s a modern-inflected wine, for sure, but it’s not wholly New World. Rather, it attempts to straddle the line, and whether or not one responds to it depends, I suppose, on one’s tolerance for wood with syrah. (10/06)

Noun from verb

Gerin 1999 Côte-Rôtie “Champin Le Seigneur” (Rhône) – Dense, chewy leather, and earth studded with peppercorns. No “fruit” as such, but who needs it? Basically, you either like this sort of thing or you don’t. I do, despite believing – apparently mistakenly – that I’m not a huge Gerin fan. (9/08)


Jasmin 1996 Côte-Rôtie (Rhône) – Very tight and strappy. Hard. Thyme (maybe?), but muted. Corked? The last bottle was. We check back on it later, and the matter’s still undecided, so who knows? This is the opposite of fun. (3/09)

Pain Levet

B. Levet 1998 Côte-Rôtie La Chavaroche (Rhône) – Elegant but with a twist at the end, bringing threads of sun and earth, pepper dust and silken potpourri, together in a well-knit weave, then slipping a little zap of the needle when one is least suspecting. As pleasures go, it’s more on the intellectual side than is perhaps typical for Côte-Rôtie, yet it’s friendly and accessible enough, and quite approachable now,…even though more age certainly won’t hurt. (8/08)

Buffy’s watcher

Gilles Barge 1995 Côte-Rôtie Côte Brune (Rhône) – Spicy earth and old pork, with a beautiful texture and a gorgeous finish. Ravishing. (2/08)

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