Hospice du Rhône 2016–Closing Tasting

| April 26, 2016 | 0 Comments

Closing #4a 4-16-16Since the Opening Tasting concentrates on the older “library” wines, the Saturday Closing Tasting concentrates on current releases from the various producers.  Again, I put more emphasis this year on tasting the whites and rosés at HdR than in past years.

Alban.  The two whites were the 2012 Roussanne and the 2014 Viognier.  For my tastes, the Viognier had more aromatic complexity and much more depth of flavor, $25 retail.

Baker Lane.  Their 2015 Rosé of Syrah had good depth and balance, $20 from the winery.

Broken Earth #1aBroken Earth.  They were pouring both their regular 2013 Viognier and their 2013 Reserve Viognier.  The regular was a well-balanced, straight-ahead Viognier for $18.   The Reserve Viognier had some oak aging, which was apparent in the kiss of vanilla, but a very good Viognier for $24.

Cordant/Nelle Winery.  A new producer for me, located in the Paso Robles area.  Of the various wines being poured, by favorite was the Cordant Syrah from the Presqu’ile Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley.  Compared to the other wines poured, this was made from a cooler site, 100% destemmed, and the more savory qualities of the Syrah came out.  Very good balance, $42 from the winery.

Domaine Yves Cuilleron.  The 2014 Chaillet Condrieu is made from their oldest vines, and it is an immense and intense Viognier.  While the impression is of slight sweetness, there is more than enough acidity to balance it out.  It doesn’t yet appear available US retail, but prior vintages cost $75-$90.

Pierre Gaillard/Domaine Madeloc.  I especially enjoyed their 2014 “Collioure” Trémadoc, a white blend of Grenache Gris, Roussanne, and Vermentino.  Lots of citrus, honey, and white flower notes throughout, with a good fruit/acid balance.  Prior vintages retail for about $24.

Guigal #1aE. Guigal.  The Guigal wines have become rather iconic, and sometimes very spendy.  Putting aside price, the 2014 Guigal La Dorianne Condrieu is another intensely aromatic and floral Viognier, with slightly less ripe/sweet fruit compared to the Cuilleron, at retails in the $60’s.  The 2010 Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde was a very approachable, user-friendly CR at this stage, with LOTS of bacon fat, and very fairly priced in the $50’s.  The 2012 Vignes de l’Hospice Saint-Joseph is a single-vineyard SJ, with vines ranging from 20 to 80 years old.  At $100 for a Saint-Joseph it’s pricy but frankly a pretty flashy, deep wine.

Michel Gassier.  One of my favorite white wines of the day was the 2013 Lou Coucardie Costiêres de Nîmes, a blend of Roussanne and Viognier.  Very bright aroma and flavors, with lots of white flowers and peach/pear.  Very reasonably priced at $25 for what’s in the bottle.

Halter Ranch.  As previously noted, the 2015 Rosé is a real winner; a lovely blend of Grenache, Picpoul Blanc, Mourvèdre, and Syrah, and it retails for about $18.

Paix Sur Terre.  One of the more unusual wines was the 2015 Paix Sur Terre Ugni Blanc Kiler Grove, as the winery said it was the only domestic Ugni Blanc-designated wine of which they were aware.  Very nice aromatics, with some mineral notes; about $22 retail.  Their 2015 Grenache Blanc from the Glenrose Vineyard was every better, with lively midpalate acidity; $27 from the winery.

Paul M. Young Fine Wines.  Paul has been showing his wines at HdR for some time now, and he has a very interesting and diverse portfolio of smaller producers:


Some favorites at the Closing Tasting:  The 2013 Borie La Vitarele Les Schistes. a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Carignane with lots of good smokiness and bacon fat throughout; really great value in the low $20’s retail.  For a traditional, slightly rustic Gigondas, the 2013 Domaine du Cayron is quite lovely although it could still use some cellar time; very fairly priced in the upper $20’s.  Although I don’t see that it has US retail distribution, the dessert wine 2014 Domaine du Trapadis Vin Doux Naturel Rasteau was a very interesting raisiny/prumy dessert wine (Paul said a half bottle retails for about $24).

Qupé.  Of their white wines tasted, my favorite was the 2012 Bien Nacido Hillside Estate Roussanne.  A rich, creamy mouthfeel but with enough acidity to keep it lively; it doesn’t appear released yet retail but prior vintages are in the $30’s.

Stolpman.  Of their white wines tasted, my favorite was the 2013 L’Avion from StolpmanVineyards, a blend of Roussanne with 15% Chardonnay.  The Chardonnay certainly gives a little more mouthfeel to the Roussanne, and it retails for around $30.

Tablas Creek.  One of the more unusual wines from them was the 2014 Picpoul Blanc (how many domestic designated Picpoul Blancs are there?), from their estate vineyards.  Picpoul is usually a blending grape in CdP, so it’s fun to see it stand by itself.  It’s pretty crisp, with lively citrus acidity and a touch of apple.  $28 retail.  Also very good was their 2013 Esprit de Tablas, a GSM blend with some Cunoise.  It’s a rich, somewhat meaty GSM blend; about $50 retail.

Tavel Wines Syndicate—I tasted through the 2015 version of the 2014 Tavels tasted during the Opening Tasting, and the 2015’s more than measured up to the 2014’s.  One additional Tavel Tavel Table #1atasted today was the 2015 La Compagnie Rhodanienne Les Combelles, which was a somewhat spicier, more powerful Tavel than most.  I’m not sure if it has US distribution.

Tercero.  I’ve known Larry Schaffer for some time, and he’s always one of the more enthusiastic winemakers and pourers at any public winetasting.  Not to mention that he’s developed a wicked talent for bread making.  I was most interested to taste his new rosé, the 2015 Tercero Mourvèdre Rosé .  Larry makes one of the nicer domestic rosés, and this version from the Vogelzand Vineyard is no exception—zippy acidity to offset the generous fruit.  Not yet in stores, but $25 from the winery.  Of the older wines Larry was pouring, probably my favorite was the 2011 Tercero White Hawk Syrah, a nice synthesis of “Old World” and “New World” Syrah (about $35 from the winery).

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Closing Thoughts

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