Saint-Péray is an tiny and underappreciated source of northern Rhône whites, mainly Marsanne, with some Roussanne in the mix. This barrel-fermented version is rich and full-bodied, boasting melon and pineapple fruit flavors that take on hints of creamed corn and citrus on the finish. Drink now.
- Wine and Spirit
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Vanilla and baking spices frame blueberry and plum fruit in this rich, velvety offering. It's slightly fuller and bolder than Colombo's 2014 La Louvée, but also less precise and perfumed. Drink now–2030.
My favorite 2014 Cornas from Jean-Luc Colombo, this boasts an intoxicating perfume of peppery spice, anise and blackberry-plum liqueur. It's elegant on the palate despite the ripe fruit, with silky tannins that belie the wine's intensity and length. Drink now–2030.
Full-bodied and richly textured, this isn't a prototypically delicate Cote Rotie, but it's still very enjoyable. Clove and black olive notes are backed by plummy fruit, capped off by a long, dusty finish. Drink now-2025.
Light, crisp, dry and multi-faceted with notes of lemon, raspberry, strawberry yogurt, yellow rose, chamomile buds, hay, and marshmallow.
Silky and pithy Viognier-based white with notes of apple, apricot, lemon curd, white flowers and hay.
Youthful and chewy with forward barrel notes of vanilla and toast along with cherry and browning mushrooms. Decant or cellar.
Bursting with fruit and dripping with meat juices, this fresh Syrah has notes of blueberry, boysenberry, dried herbs, black peppercorn, singed pork, raw veal and mocha.
Lightly chewy, reserved and dry with notes of cherry, black olive, blackened ahi and forest floor.
Leading off the two single parcel selections, the 2014 Cornas la Louvée (which translates to "The She-Wolf" and comes from 70-year-old vines) is more concentrated and layered than the Terres Brûlées. It offers outstanding notes of cassis, toasted spice, creamy licorice and a hint of violets in its medium to full-bodied, concentrated, elegant and seamless package. It will keep for a decade or more.
Also beautiful, the 2015 St Péray La Belle de Mai checks in as 60% Roussanne and 40% Marsanne that’s from a mix of limestone and granite soils, vinified and aged in oak. It offers a terrific perfume of sautéed apples, vanilla bean, white peach and toasted bread to go with a medium-bodied, fresh, impeccably balanced feel on the palate. Drink it over the coming 3-4 years.
While the 2015 Cornas Les Ruchets sees more new oak than the Terres Brûlées release (15% new oak), it shows less of it and has a sensational bouquet of blackberries, crushed rocks, violets and exotic flowers. This full-bodied, concentrated Cornas has present, yet ripe tannin, a stacked mid-palate and a great finish. It will drink well for 10-15 years.
The deep ruby/purple-tinged 2015 St Joseph Les Lauves is a forward, medium to full-bodied, fresh, borderline sexy St Joseph that’s loaded with notions of blackberry jam, cassis, hints of crushed rocks and pepper. I suspect it will be a smoking value and Northern Rhône lovers should buy a case for drinking over the coming 3-4 years (although I suspect it will keep longer as well).
From the Chaillot lieu-dit and the most concentrated and rich in the lineup, the 2014 Cornas Les Ruchets was the tightest, most backward and reserved on this occasion. It slowly gave up notes of ripe dark fruits, lavender, hints of minerality and damp earth, as well as medium to full-bodied richness, a terrific mid-palate and ripe, sweet tannin. It needs to be forgotten for a year of three, and like the cuvée La Louvée, will drink well for a decade.
Looking at the Cornas releases, which they’re moving to bottling just a touch earlier than they have in the past, the 2015 Cornas Terres Brûlées sees malolactic fermentation in barrel and is aged in 10% new French oak. It’s a ripe, nicely concentrated, forward and elegant red that has a kiss of oak in its black raspberry, toasted spice, cassis and exotic floral-based bouquet. Elegant, medium to full-bodied, fruit forward and nicely balanced, give it a year or two to integrate its oak and enjoy bottles through 2025.
Complex, youthful and in need of aeration or cellaring. Opens beautifully with notes of wild strawberry, cherry, damson, seared pork, thyme, hyacinth and lilac.
Youthful, chewy and oaky Syrah with notes of black cherry, cassis, dark chocolate. vanilla, mocha and blood sausage. Aerate or age.
Light, dry, fresh and juicy rose of Syrah/Mourvedre with notes of cranberry, raspberry and violet.
This Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre blend is light and fresh with notes of cherry, plum tomato, mushroom, bay leaf and peppercorn.
Light, zesty, bright and dry Clairette/Roussanne blend with notes of lime, chamomile, almond wafer, chalk, honeysuckle, jasmine and candlewax.
This lets a solid beam of cassis and plum sauce flavors lead the way, backed by slightly taut, leathery grip and a backdrop of roasted alder and chestnut notes. Just cellar a touch to loosen the grip of the toast. Best from 2017 through 2023.
Offers some lovely ripeness, with blueberry compote, plum sauce and melted licorice notes gliding together seamlessly, offset deftly by a hint of chalk that lengthens the finish. A pleasant whiff of tobacco lurks in the background. A wonderful effort for the vintage. Best from 2018 through 2024.
This offers a lush, buttery feel, with creamed melon and yellow apple fruit gliding along, accompanied by lemon shortbread and macadamia nut notes. What you see is what you get. Drink now.
Well-hewn, with a pleasantly firm, slightly toasted frame around a core of dark plum and currant puree flavors. Tobacco and chestnut leaf notes line the finish, where ample fruit pumps through. Best from 2018 through 2029.
Fleshy and layered, with crushed blueberry, açai berry and plum flavors that have melded together, carried by a dense but rounded structure. The long finish lets sweet tobacco and dark fruit cake notes check in. A loamy tug at the end keeps this honest. Best from 2018 through 2029.
Solidly built, with a beautifully ripe core of blueberry, plum and blackberry paste flavors pumping along, inlaid with ample charcoal and bay leaf notes. The long finish is toasted, fleshy and well-integrated. Best from 2018 through 2029.
A ripe and forward style, with creamy apricot, yellow apple and melon flavors, lined with an anise twinge through the finish. A lovely display of fruit. Drink now.
Rather fresh, with quince, yellow apple and white peach fruit flavors that drive through nicely, backed by a light salted butter hint on the creamy, flattering finish. Tasty. Drink now.
Ripe, with jammy plum fruit inlaid with notes of anise and singed vanilla. A flash of violet keeps the finish honest enough, but this is a touch obvious in style. Drink now.
Solid and direct, with a juicy core of raspberry and plum puree that moves along with modest energy, backed by singed vanilla hints and a rounded structure. Drink now through 2018.
Bright star fruit, fennel and green almond notes stay fresh and unadorned through the breezy finish. Clairette and Roussanne. Drink now.
Friendly cherry and cassis notes are carried by a lightly singed juniper hint. Pretty lavender and tobacco accents emerge through the finish. Drink now.
Alluring, with ginger, peach and apricot notes that glide along easily, backed by a singed almond thread on the finish. Drink now.
This has a broad, fleshy feel, with silky but ample tannins holding up a core of raspberry puree and plum sauce. Enticing anise and black tea notes line the finish. Drink now through 2024.
Cherries and oregano are a pleasantly vibrant combination of aromas for this light salmon colored wine. Steely minerals mix with ripe red berries and fleshy yellow and white peaches for a balanced and almost creamy flavor.
Fleshy and layered, with crushed blueberry, açai berry and plum flavors that have melded together, carried by a dense but rounded structure. Best from 2018 through 2029.
Solidly built, with a beautifully ripe core of blueberry, plum and blackberry paste flavors pumping along, inlaid with ample charcoal and bay leaf notes. Best from 2018 through 2029.
Plummy and ripe, with a sheen of glossy, cedary oak, this is as plush as it gets in the northern Rhone. It's full-bodied, supple and open, with a long velvety finish. Drink now-2030.
Like the La Louvee, this wine is plummy and superripe, wrapped in toasty, cedary oak. It's savory as well, with meaty notes carried along by waves of richness. The finish is lined with mouthcoating tannins, suggesting a few years of cellaring are warranted. Drink 2018-2030.
Dried spices, cracked pepper and roasted meat notes scream of Syrah and the Northern Rh?ne. It?s medium to full in body, but with fine tannins and bright acidity, making it remarkably easy to drink. Approachable now, it should still be drinking well through 2030.
Wine Spectator Insider. Solidly built, with crunchy acidity carrying the core of raspberry, plum and bitter cherry fruit flavors, while a bright chalky note stretches through the finish. Best from 2017 through 2013.
Bright yellow. Aromas of fresh orchard and pit fruits, white flowers and honey carry a smoky mineral overtone. Silky and energetic on the palate, offering lively peach and bitter pear skin flavors that show very good depth and focus. On the lithe side of the Condrieu equation, with zero excess fat. Closes on a repeating mineral note, with very good cling and nervy persistence.
Inky purple. Deep-pitched aromas of black and blue fruits, dark chocolate, licorice and black pepper, backed by a hint of smokiness. Broad, sweet and open-knit, showing very good intensity to the blackberry liqueur and bitter chocolate flavors. This powerful, concentrated, emphatically fruity Cornas finishes smoky and quite long, with strong thrust and spicy persistence.
Vivid purple. Candied cherry, cassis and olive paste on the highly perfumed nose. Lush, round and sweet, offering juicy, pepper-laced dark berry and bitter cherry flavors that tighten up slowly on the back half. A smoky note comes up on the finish, which is firmed by smooth, nicely integrated tannins.
Dark purple. Powerful smoke- and mineral-accented aromas of dark berries, cherry liqueur and vanilla, along with a suggestion of olive in the background. Smooth, broad and sweet on the palate, offering concentrated blackberry and violet pastille flavors and a jolt of smoky minerality on the back half. Shows quite impressive energy and focus for its heft. Finishes velvety and extremely long, displaying excellent focus, harmonious tannins and lingering spiciness.
Light, green-tinged yellow. Zesty, mineral-tinged aromas of fresh orchard fruits, honeydew melon and tangerine show good lift and clarity. Juicy pear and melon flavors unfold slowly, picking up a subtle hint of fresh fig with air. The tangerine note repeats on a silky, nicely persistent finish that's firmed by a late jolt of bitter citrus pith.
Pale yellow. Fresh melon, tangerine, quince and a spicy ginger nuance on the nose. Dry and tightly wound, offering dried orchard fruit and citrus zest flavors that flesh out slowly with aeration. A hint of quinine on the finish adds refreshingly bitter cut.
Bright violet. Lively, spice-accented black and blue fruit scents show good clarity and pick up a floral nuance with air. Juicy and precise in the mouth, offering zesty blueberry and bitter cherry flavors that become sweeter with air. In a nervy, energetic style, with just a hint of dusty tannins on the long, sappy finish.