Browse Tag


CdR, stat

Texier 2012 Côtes-du-Rhône (Rhône) — All the classic characteristics dialed down to about 7, without sacrificing anything except unnecessary force. This is why one drinks Texier. (7/16)

Here today, Gonnet tomorrow

Gonnet “Domaine Font de Michelle” 1995 Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Cuvée Etienne Gonnet” (Rhône) – Softened in its age, no doubt thanks to the still-sweet, almost malty oak notes, though there’s a lovely, herbal Châteauneuf-du-Pape somewhere inside the makeup, yearning to be free. Alas, though, if Tiki drinks could age, this might be what they’d taste like.

I don’t want to over-condemn. This is a good wine. A very good wine, in fact. I just don’t like the wallpaper. (7/12)

Cassagne on the dotted line

Domaine de la Petite Cassagne 2010 Costières de Nîmes Rosé (Rhône) – Throaty pinkness, berries in the midst of their crush, and lavender-scented herbs in fine balance. Surprisingly nice. (7/12)

Columbier day

Domaine du Columbier 1999 Hermitage (Rhône) – Hard as nails at uncorking, and this tight clench takes hours to loosen. Thickened by ultra-fine tannin to neutron star-density, even for Hermitage this is hyper-reticent and parodically masculine. After the aforehinted hours of aeration there’s some dry black fruit residue to contemplate, and a little more textural generosity. It’s hard to say if this is on the decline or not yet done with its journey, but with more confidence I can fit this into a longstanding personal narrative in which, for me, even the best Hermitage (and this is not) is more a wine of cold intellectual fascination than pleasure. I’m getting mightily tired of its opposite as well (the glou-glou genre), so maybe this is just another manifestation of my curmudgeonry. It won’t be the last… (6/12)

Pass the wine around

Charavin “Domaine des Coteaux des Travers” 2000 Rasteau Vin Doux Naturel (Rhône) – Rasteau the way it used to be. I exaggerate, a bit, but somewhere between the wine history books and the modern market this style has almost completely disappeared, at least on American shores. A pity, because it’s fun, with a more heat-drenched take on an otherwise roughly similar notion than Banyuls…lighter, in a sense, which allows the deep core of sweet-fruited bacon to infuse the Port-like exterior. Very nice. (6/12)

Romet & Julet

Cros de Romet 2000 Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages Cairanne (Rhône) – On a weekend in which several vastly more prestigious Rhônes and Rhône-a-likes were opened and found damaged, destroyed, or otherwise wanting, this unassumer – yes, I just invented that word – barreled over the finish line with a rush of mixed metaphors. Rain-slicked dried beef, almost supple in its engagement with the palate, a gently persuading dried herb/dried soil nuance, and then a long, gentle finish. But as a whole, stronger than that. Really quite lovely. (6/12)

One hand

Clape 2002 Cornas (Rhône) – From a local store’s closeout bin, at a low-for-Cornas price. That’s still way too high for this wine, which is basically fully mature, and tastes of a good aged Côtes-du-Rhône (syrah-based, of course): sepia fruit on a warm bed of brown soil and faded herb. There’s nothing about it that speaks of Cornas, which is why even the closeout price is too high. (5/12)

He said, she Cèdres

Jaboulet 1995 Châteaneuf-du-Pape “Les Cèdres” (Rhône) – As each of what was once a fair stock of Jaboulets leaves my cellar, I breathe a sigh of relief. They just aren’t my style, which is my dodgy way of saying that I simply can’t understand the praise lavished on the wines by ostensibly right-thinking people. That they’re hard and chronically abused by their structure is almost a given, but the tumescence of an Hermitage is one thing, while a similar lack of yield in a Châteauneuf-du-Pape is quite another. There are, here, liquefied black peppercorns and what might, once, have been a presence that once, long ago, glimpsed a black and white painting of a blackberry from a few blocks away. Otherwise, all is dust and solidity, now eroded and crumbling but still architecturally sound. It is not, I hasten to say, a bad wine, and there’s certainly intellectual interest. But my enjoyment has dried up only somewhat more slowly than the wines. (5/12)

Fine, period

Caravinsérail 2007 Côtes du Ventoux “in fine.” (Rhône) – 80% clairette, 20% bourboulenc. Usually, “honeysuckle” in a note means the sweet nectar squeezed from the little bulbs at the rear of the flower. Here, I’d use it to mean everything but that part. There’s freshness to spare, and though the finish is on the short side it’s certainly a pretty little thing. Like drinking a bright, light spring sun. (3/12)