The 2009 vintage in Rhone has gotten a fair amount of attention, mostly in the North, but it does seem that press for a part of the Rhone works in favor of the whole region.It's cool that the wines are now hitting and we can see what they're all about.

   The 09's that we tasted remind me of how the 07's tasted back when they first arrived. The 09's have a touch less intensity and extraction, that is they taste less like zinfandel. Rhone is one of those places where the producer, and maybe more importantly the importer, seem to leave a noticeable fingerprint that might influence the wine as much as vintage character. There's always talk of letting the terroir show through, but imports from Kysela or Weygandt or Kacher are usually recognizable as imports from Kysela or Weygandt or Kacher, vintage to vintage.

Domaine les Aphillanthes Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Le Cros

2009 Domaine la Garrigue Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Romaine

   This starts off with a big nose of char, vanilla, grape jelly and something hotly chemical like paint that doesn't get in the way, but is there. The palate shows plush plum and cherry fruit with a zap of acidity.


2009 Domaine les Aphillanthes Cotes du Rhone Vieilles Vignes

   The nose makes me smile. Bright, big fruity plum and strawberry. Great nose. Bright on the palate, and heavier than you'd expect from the nose. It's closer to kirsch liquer with hints of Grand Marnier.


2009 Domaine les Aphillanthes Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Le Cros

   The nose here doesn't catch my attention like the VV did, but this is more complex and rich on the palate. Blueberry fruit leading into a round wine with great grippy tannins and mocha. So good! A little boozy.


2009 Coudoulet de Beaucastel Cotes du Rhone

   Strange hotly alcoholic, with waxy lipstick notes and film processing chemicals (what? I worked at a 1-hour photo for a while). The chemical taste is absent on the palate, which is all smooth round fruit, almost syrupy, with very low tannins. Wine Spectator says "plump," so we should go with that.


2009 Domaine de Cristia Chaeauneuf du Pape

   Lighter, with a thoughtful nose with spice and cedar. Thick, heavy fruit on the palate, with syrupy berry fruit and tannins that swell towards a long finish. This is good.


2007 Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf du Pape

   Black pepper, light green pepper, and baking spices, over raspberry fruit. This 2007 is balanced and graceful, especially compared to the young 09's. Serious, with flowers, meat, cedar, and fruit that isn't yet fading. Two years ago, when most 07's were seeing release, they were primal and fruity. This delayed release has allowed for a much more thoughtful, balanced wine.

Reds of the Rhone