Browse Tag


Trapadis family singers

Domaine du Trapadis 1998 Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages Rasteau (Rhône) – I have low expectations for this bottle, held beyond what I’d planned at purchase, but it surpasses them with its surly, low-bred Rasteau-ishness. One can’t, I guess, keep a burnt grenache blend down. And yes, there is that lingering char – almost barbecue-like – that bridges truly old-style Rasteau and the cleaner modern versions, mopped with sticky purple fruit gum and then spiced up a bit. This bottle was undoubtedly better a few years ago, as the dust is starting to settle on the bones, but it’s lingering pretty well. (12/11)

Rocky 99

Gaillard 1999 Saint-Joseph “Les Pierres” (Rhône) – Straight from the domaine, and thus the French (rather than the NBI) bottling, which usually means less new oak. As massive as it was the day it was born, layered with mille-feuille tannin, dried peppercorns, lead, and lead-infused dried black fruit paste. There’s only the barest hint of maturity in a bit of browning herbality that malingers out back, but for all the primary fruit and wholly unresolved structure I just don’t know how much longer this should be held. I mean, nothing’s yet mature, but the balance of fruit to structure is now heavily weighted in favor of the latter, and coupled with the oak treatment – quite manageable here, but hardly absent – what I taste and what I predict based on experience are in conflict; going on pure taste, this has another decade or more to go, but based on good sense and experience it’s only going to get tougher. Someone who owns a bottle will have to settle the debate one of these days, because this was my last one. (12/11)

White tiara

Perrin “Château de Beaucastel” 1998 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc (Rhône) – Fat…and then, almost remarkably, not. Quite a dance, these old pale-faced Rhônes do. Dried stone fruit, wet stone fruit, sun-drenched paintings of stone fruit, terracotta, aromas that build from a heavily-oxidized and nasty, vegetal spike at first opening to something appealing at hour four, and delicious at hour 24. No, really…those are accurate numbers. This is a wine that moves. (12/11)

VV voom

Texier 2000 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc “Vieilles Vignes” (Rhône) – Absolutely singing. The last bottle I tasted was fairly tortured, so I was a little hesitant about opening another, but there are no longer any regrets. Molten metal in gold, amber, and brass hues, a Renaissance still life of stone fruit (mostly stone, not so much fruit), and the sort of decadently fetid decaying floral aroma that, along with the general fatness of the wines, one either loves or hates in white Rhônes. I can go either way, depending on the bottle, but I love this. There’s even a bit of acidity, just to add simulacrum of levity. Now is this wine’s time. (11/11)

Roussanne to judgment

Texier 2010 Côtes-du-Rhône Roussanne (Rhône) – When I was first introduced to Texier’s wines, back in the late 90s, his CdR blanc was a regular hit-it-out-of-the-park surprise for Rhône aficionados, especially at its ridiculously low price. And then, due to vagaries of the market or whatever, it disappeared from my life. Well, it hasn’t gotten much more expensive, but it has gotten even better. Rolling spiced stone fruit, with much more life and verve than is typical for the genre, and a pretty twist of flowers as it finishes. Delicious. (11/11)

Faury or againsty

Faury 2010 Indication Géographique Protégée Collines Rhodaniennes Syrah (Rhône) – Seems to exist on two planes at once; the first earthy, herbal, a little porcine, and the second a high-toned, edgier, sort of nervous black fruit that’s not all that fruity. I suspect the twain will integrate in time, but it’s still appealing now. It just takes a little more energy to corral its dualism in the glass. (11/11)

Walden Rhône

Costières & Soleil “Sélection Laurence Féraud” 2005 Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages Séguret (Rhône) – Fading, with its structure now taking control of the dark, earthen, somewhat tarred fruit. Drink up. (11/11)

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)

Having more fun

Calek 2010 Ardèche “Blonde” (Rhône) – Incandescent-lit sepia photographs, the buzz and rattle of an old electric space heater, a dusty shaft of sunlight from an ill-fitting doorframe, and just a hint of a mysteriously organic aroma emanating from somewhere just offstage. (10/11)