JC in France May - June 2018 | Day 10
Beautiful blue sky this morning – they are expecting warm and dry weather for the end of the week. However things will change from Monday morning!
Driving back South from my hotel to taste more Crozes-Hermitage, St Joseph and Cornas. My first early meeting was at Domaine Gonon – one of the superstars of the Appellation St Joseph. As I was driving to my appointment I noticed that most 'vignerons' were out early this morning to work in the vines – the wet weather from last week and the more rain expected Monday, they are making the most of this small window to do some work in the vines. This is very much the time of tucking the vines and cutting the top of the excess growth. This very small family Estate (6 ha mainly planted on the best but dangerously steep slopes of St Joseph) makes very very little white (Marsanne/Roussanne) St Joseph and not much more of the reds (100% Syrah) – however, we are lucky enough to get very few cases of the latter! The red offers classic olive tapenade, blackberry and spices in a medium to full-bodied, supple and beautifully fruited profile. They are not hugely generous when young but develop with so much elegance in time!
For my next appointment I had to cross the Rhone river to meet the guys at Domaine Colombier just outside the town of Tain l'Hermitage. Once again I was completely blown away while tasting their delicious 2016 and 2017. This is a Domaine where the quality of the wines have been growing forever (we started dealing with them over 15 years ago) - you can ask anyone in this part of the world and they will tell you that they are in the top three producers of the Appellation Crozes-Hermitage. Again it is two brothers running the Domaine and they are dedicated to make the best wines - always fresh with dark fruit, forest floor and a graphite-like texture. They do age beautifully well and the pricing stays more than reasonable. Truly a great address if you like pure Syrah.
After lunch it was another good address in Crozes-Hermitage – Domaine Michelas St Jemms. A small family Estate specialising in Crozes, St Joseph and Cornas Appellations. The wines are full of fresh red berries, roundness and softness. The last three vintages in the Northern Rhone have been very beneficial to the quality and you should check out our latest newsletter which is full of these stunning wines. https://www.mvauron.co.nz/
Still staying in the same Appellation as my next meeting was at Domaine Chave Yann. There I met again the young Etienne who worked for us few years ago – a lovely lad who's finishing his degree in viticulture/winemaking. As usual Yann's wines have a generosity and suppleness that is classic to his style. They never disappoint.
The last tasting of the day was at Domaine Gilles Robin also based in Crozes Hermitage (some of you would have met Gilles and Fabienne when they came to visit us in NZ last year - lovely people. We tasted the full range with few tasty speciality of the region – the Domaine has developed enormously and doing so well. I finished here very late and still have to drive back to my hotel in Chonas. I am hoping for a good night sleep because so far it has not been great! - JC
JC at Domaine Gilles Robin