Browse Tag


Brett Fabre

Fabre “Domaine La Florane” 2007 Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages Visan (Rhône) – On the slightly licorice-laced side of Rhônishness, which has both good and bad aspects. The good is a richness and concentration of gravelly fruit. The bad is that there’s rather more sophistication than I prefer, though others may differ in their appreciation. (11/10)


Costières & Soleil “Sélection Laurence Féraud” 2005 Séguret (Rhône) –I gave up on this wine about a year ago, as it had provided tasty post-release quaffing but seemed to be headed towards a rather abrupt expiration. I may have been too hasty, because this is back. I don’t know if much has changed, exactly, but the descending veils have been re-lifted, and the dark, earthy fruit is once more on full display. Perhaps the tannin has faded just a bit? Aside from that, it’s the same wine it was in its highly approachable youth. I’d recommend drinking, but it’s clear I don’t have as firm a handle on this wine as I once thought, so for all I know it’ll be an ager. I’m drinking mine anyway, because that way it won’t continue to prove me wrong. (11/10)

Costières & Soleil “Sélection Laurence Féraud” 2005 Séguret (Rhône) – See the previous note, to which this would be pretty much identical. (11/10)

Costières & Soleil “Sélection Laurence Féraud” 2005 Séguret (Rhône) – This third bottle, and (I think) my last, is a little more faded and on a trajectory similar to all the previous bottles. So were the last two the anomalies, or is this? Well, it’s now moot unless my friends are stashing some. (11/10)


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)


Collard “Chateau La Tour de Beraud” 2009 Costières de Nimes Blanc (Rhône) – Bubblegum (yes, in a Rhône white) and sweet golden raspberries. Perhaps peaches. And yet, brisker than those two fairly sticky fruit numerators. There’s gluggable appeal here, but ignore the horizon. (9/10)

Duc of Url

Gras “Domaine Santa Duc” 1995 Gigondas “Prestige des Hautes Garrigues” (Rhône) – Spiced bubblegum and herbs in sweet vanilla tea. Later, it’s herbed coffee. Somewhere in the middle, there’s a bit of wild game. Its appeal is open and overt, and perhaps it tries too hard, but I really enjoy the result. (9/10)

Us and Brézème

Texier 2008 Côtes-du-Rhône Brézème (Rhône) – The terroir that carried so much of the early (American) hype for Texier probably did more than any of his wines to permanently offend certain segments of the curious. No one familiar with the wine need ask why, but for the rest: it’s the acid, of course. That fierce, brittle, insistent acid. This is the Cantillon of Côtes-du-Rhône, and the uncompromising nature of it means that, at times, even fans will struggle to wrap their palates around it. There’s so much to recommend here…soil and sharp fruit, delineation and character…but either beat it back with acidic food or stick it in a dark corner of the cellar. Of course, only one of these things actually tames the acidity. The other just dresses it with different, and ultimately more interesting, outerwear. (9/10)

Tree? No.

Château du Trignon 1998 Gigondas (Rhône) – Difficult, cranky, and ultimately awkward. Salted peanuts? Yeah, maybe. Nothing else makes a lick of sense, nor even attempts to. Dunno what happened here. (9/10)

Mens’ lawn

Gaillard 2002 Saint-Joseph Blanc (Rhône) – Bitter and woody. Absolutely horrid. Why did I hold something with a synthetic cork for this long? Argh. (9/10)

Gaillard 2002 Saint-Joseph Blanc (Rhône) – Less trashed than the previous bottle (and thankfully, this is my last), but still heavily oxidized due to entirely predictable closure failure. That is, predictable if I’d thought to yank the capsules off and look. But who puts plastic plugs in a wine that should have been able to age? Oh, right: screwcap-fearing French winemakers, that’s who… (10/10)

Sticks in my Crau

Domaine du Père Pape “La Crau de ma Mère” 2000 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Beef, leather, iron, blood. In a good way, of course, because this is the Rhône. But it does drink a little like someone had a knife fight at the meat-packing plant. The organoleptics are fully-developed here, and even though the structure isn’t – there’s still a fair bit of tannin – I’d drink up, especially as this frigid-cellared (8/10)