Northern Rhone Tour: Clusel-Roch, Jamet, Perret, Gonon, Sorrel, Cave de Tain, Clape, Allemand

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
Message
Author
User avatar
Alan Rath
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18595
Joined: April 24th, 2009, 12:45 am
Location: Bay Area, CA. Sometimes out to lunch.

Northern Rhone Tour: Clusel-Roch, Jamet, Perret, Gonon, Sorrel, Cave de Tain, Clape, Allemand

#1 Post by Alan Rath » April 20th, 2016, 9:32 pm

I had the good fortune to be invited by Paul Gordon (Halcon Vineyards) to join a group of California winemakers on a week-long in depth tour of the Northern Rhone. Paul had been in contact with John Livingston-Learmonth for some time, having a transatlantic conversation about Rhone-style wines in California, and noodling on the idea of finding ways to have the two sides get to know each other a little better. At some point the idea of a tour like this came together. I have to thank Paul for including me as the only non-professional in the group. A tremendous amount of effort by Paul on this end and John in France went into setting this up, inviting and coordinating with all the participants, and just keeping it all together. I kept hanging on Paul's email updates each month, keeping my fingers crossed that it would all come through, and was thrilled when the day arrived to actually head to the airport and get on a plane.

My role was to tag along, try not to ask too many dumb questions, and act as the unofficial photographer. So this little travelogue is really about an incredible week of California producers visiting several Rhone producers. I was just lucky enough to be along for the ride on the adventure.

The participants included:

Paul & Jackie Gordon (Halcon)
Adam Tolmach (Ojai)
Jason Drew (Drew Family Cellars)
Matt Brady (Jaffurs)
Bradley Brown (Big Basin)
Angel Davis (Fig and Thistle Wine Bar, San Francisco)

And our organizer/guide was none other than John Livingstone-Learmonth, author of "The Wines of the Northern Rhone". John's knowledge of the region, it's history, geology, vineyards, vintages, wines, and - most of all - people and personalities, is encyclopedic. He's been visiting and writing extensively about the Rhone for over 40 years, speaks fluent french (he often didn't even know if someone we were visiting with spoke English or not), and knows the entire region better than most of its long time inhabitants. It was a treat and an honor to be guided by him. And, as you will see, exhausting; the man never stops wanting to explore - or eat and drink - more. I highly recommend his book, and refer you to his (subscriber only) web site http://www.drinkrhone.com (no affiliation on my part).

Everyone rolled into our base at L'Hôtel Les 2 Coteaux in Tain l'Hermitage on Sunday afternoon, and we got together for a kick-off dinner. Le Quai, right off the foot bridge over the Rhone, really nice food, wine, and service.

Image
Paul, Jackie, Bradley, Matt on the left

Image
Jason, John, Adam

Image
2014 Hubert Lamy Saint-Aubin La Princée - France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Saint-Aubin (4/20/2016)
Lovely medium depth, crisp, perfect balance, punches far above its weight class.

Image
2009 Domaine des Martinelles Hermitage Blanc - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage (4/20/2016)
Very nice medium body, wax, nuts, long evolving finish, beautiful peach pit minerality. Excellent.

Image
2013 Gilles Robin St. Joseph Cuvée Andre Pealat - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, St. Joseph (4/20/2016)
Very dark, deep brooding black/purple fruit, nice reserved intensity, excellent acidity, tannins underlying but not obtrusive. Gets better and better in the glass, really nice.

Image
Happened to be a big group of Somms next to us, several times breaking into Somm songs

Image

Image

Image
2014 Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Crozes-Hermitage (4/20/2016)
Fabulous fruit aromatics, nice fresh dark red/black fruit, good dose of pepper, excellent structure with a somewhat chalky grip, nice pomegranate acidity, lithesome and willowy.

Image
Let's do this thing

Image


Day 1: Clusel-Roch

Our first visit on Monday morning was to Clusel-Roch (pronounced Clue-cell-Roke) in Verenay. Guillaume (the son) met us at the winery, and escorted us up the steep, winding roads to the top of Cote Rotie, where his father Gilbert and a small crew were planting a new vineyard section. The domaine has been bottling its own wine since 1969, first from just a tiny plot of vines, then gradually accumulating 1.3 ha in La Vialliere, 0.75 in Champon, 0.6 in Le Plomb, and 0.7 in Les Grandes Places, along with 0.5 ha in Condrieu. Their vineyard practices are all organic, and it is striking to see the differences between theirs and nearby vineyards which use herbicides (a temptation hard to resist, when you see how much labor is required to maintain a vineyard on such difficult terrain without resorting to the ease of chemicals).

The wines here are superb, classic versions of Syrah with unobtrusive stems, and little noticeable oak.

Image

Image
Gilbert Clusel and son Guillaume

Image
Cote Rotie soil along the top of the plateau

Image
New plantings

Image

Image
Half way down the mountain, gives an idea of the slope, and how hard it is to work the vineyards

Image
The perspective doesn't really do justice to the slope these vines are on

Image
The Clusel-Roch "garage"

Image
I haven't seen this many boots outside of a Minnesota mud room

Image
Left to right: Bradley, Matt, Paul, John, Guillaume, Adam. You'll see a theme developing: John is almost always taking notes of some kind.

Image

Image
2013 Clusel-Roch "Grandes Places" is a beautiful wine, plenty of depth, richness, complexity and balance. The '85 Cote Rotie is equally lovely, fabulous nose, still showing a lot of youthful character, nowhere near its peak.

Image
A striking, still youthful, almost quarter of a century old Viognier. One of the wines of the week.

Image
The group, with Clusel-Roch family in the center: Gilbert, Guillaume and Brigitte

Image
Now this is a stove!

Image
For lunch we cruised back up to the top of Cote Rotie for a chilly picnic

Image

Image
The sign reads "Vignobles Levet, Côte Rôtie, Côte Blonde"


More to follow...
Last edited by Alan Rath on May 25th, 2016, 9:10 am, edited 13 times in total.
I'm just one lost soul, swimming in a fish bowl, year after year

Martin Steinley
Posts: 1739
Joined: July 11th, 2009, 3:22 pm
Location: Coronado, CA

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch

#2 Post by Martin Steinley » April 20th, 2016, 10:25 pm

Really awesome, Alan. Looking forward to more.
ITB

User avatar
Paul Gordon
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 499
Joined: July 23rd, 2009, 10:50 pm
Location: Yorkville Highlands

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch

#3 Post by Paul Gordon » April 20th, 2016, 10:53 pm

Alan

Great notes and photos.
I will add that Clusel-Roch demonstrated the first signs of a stunning 2015 vintage - great depth, strong fruit but also fresh and good structure. I particularly liked the liked La Vialliere from barrel and the 2012 from bottle.
Paul Gordon
Halcon Vineyards

User avatar
Glen Gold
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 668
Joined: February 25th, 2014, 8:53 pm

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch

#4 Post by Glen Gold » April 20th, 2016, 11:22 pm

Wow, great photos and notes. Looks like a fantastic trip in the making. I just picked up a Las Grandes Places, so thank you for the post.
Avatar = Jeremy from Peep Show.

User avatar
Mark C Johnson
Posts: 1058
Joined: July 6th, 2009, 3:18 pm
Location: 808 State

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch

#5 Post by Mark C Johnson » April 21st, 2016, 12:12 am

Cool photos and notes! I have a singleton of 1989 just waiting for the right moment. This is a label I should focus on more.

Mahalos!
Memes & Tropes

User avatar
Brian Tuite
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18952
Joined: July 3rd, 2010, 8:53 am
Location: Podunk CA

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch

#6 Post by Brian Tuite » April 21st, 2016, 5:17 am

[popcorn.gif]
Bob Wood - 1949-2013 Berserker for eternity! RIP

"On self-reflection, I think a big part of it was me just being a PITA customer..." ~ Anonymous Berserker

"Something so subtle only I can detect it." ~ Randy Bowman

2019 WOTY...

User avatar
R Nanda
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 564
Joined: April 21st, 2009, 3:29 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch

#7 Post by R Nanda » April 21st, 2016, 5:53 am

Informative notes and pics. Keep 'em coming!
r i c h
instagram: rnvin

User avatar
Walt Hoehler
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3066
Joined: June 1st, 2009, 11:42 am
Location: NYC

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch

#8 Post by Walt Hoehler » April 21st, 2016, 5:56 am

Good stuff Alan. Thank you

User avatar
Ed Steinway
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1491
Joined: March 14th, 2010, 4:40 pm

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch

#9 Post by Ed Steinway » April 21st, 2016, 6:01 am

Great pictures and notes, Alan! Thank you for taking the time to post these. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

Thanks,
Ed

User avatar
Xavier Lavoipierre
Posts: 1163
Joined: January 18th, 2011, 9:26 am

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch

#10 Post by Xavier Lavoipierre » April 21st, 2016, 6:31 am

Fabulous! I'm looking forward to the updates. Thanks, Alan.

User avatar
Brian Tuite
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18952
Joined: July 3rd, 2010, 8:53 am
Location: Podunk CA

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch

#11 Post by Brian Tuite » April 21st, 2016, 6:34 am

Ed Steinway wrote:Great pictures and notes, Alan! Thank you for taking the time to post these. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

Thanks,
Ed
The trip was over last week. FYI. [cheers.gif]
Bob Wood - 1949-2013 Berserker for eternity! RIP

"On self-reflection, I think a big part of it was me just being a PITA customer..." ~ Anonymous Berserker

"Something so subtle only I can detect it." ~ Randy Bowman

2019 WOTY...

User avatar
Jeff King
Posts: 65
Joined: May 4th, 2010, 4:36 pm
Location: Cleveland

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch

#12 Post by Jeff King » April 21st, 2016, 7:29 am

I talked briefly to Matt over the weekend about his experience (apparently the highest peaks were Jamet and Allemand, imagine that) and am glad for this chance to relive it vicariously. Thanks for posting the notes and photos!

R Roberts
Posts: 887
Joined: September 2nd, 2013, 8:03 pm
Location: SF peninsula

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch

#13 Post by R Roberts » April 21st, 2016, 7:45 am

Good reading, thanks for taking the time.

"Happened to be a big group of Somms next to us" made me LOL.
R.ama

User avatar
Alan Rath
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18595
Joined: April 24th, 2009, 12:45 am
Location: Bay Area, CA. Sometimes out to lunch.

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch and Jamet

#14 Post by Alan Rath » April 21st, 2016, 1:38 pm

Day 1: Jamet

Pinch me. No, this is not a dream. We're pulling into Jamet, tucked several miles back into the rolling forests and farmlands above Ampuis. We arrive, take off our blindfolds. John warned me that Jean-Paul is a tricky camera subject, which, in the low light cellar setting was especially true, but I think I managed to capture him nicely. He is certainly serious about his wine, but can quickly turn jovial, and even playful.

I won't be going into details about vineyard holdings and vinification methods as I write about each visit. For that I refer you again to "Wines of the Northern Rhone", which has a wealth of comprehensive information gathered by John over years and years of visits and interviews with each producer. Just to note that Jamet has fairly large holdings across all of Cote Rotie, in a variety of soils, slopes, exposures, and elevations. The red wines are typically 80-100% whole cluster, with new oak levels ranging from 20-35%.

Image
Jean-Paul Jamet

Image
Discussions

Image
More discussions, here's where you are, here's where you're going, etc.

Image
Finally, some wine!

Image
2015 Condrieu barrel samples

Image
Adam, Jason, Bradley contemplate the wine. John takes notes.

Image
The 2015 Condrieu shows a subtle nose right now, with lovely intensity, great length, strong, steely, mineral, lasting finish. Shows potential to be a beautiful wine.

Image
We sampled several different 2014 and 2015 barrels. 2015 overall shows deep wines with good intensity, various notes of green olive, spice, blackberry and violet fruits. 2015 Côte Brun barrel showed fabulous floral/violet aromatics, more elegant red fruit than other blocks, beautiful balance, with plenty of fine structure. 2014 samples show a bit less intensity (consistent with the difficult vintage), still quite nice, more elegant and medium bodied. 2014 Côte Brun has a smoky, meaty nose, reserved deep red fruit, spice, quite tannic/grippy finish.

Image
Now the bottles come out:
2013 Côte Rotie - meaty, smoky nose, nice medium intensity, medium dark red fruit, good fine tannins, quite pretty
2012 Côte Rotie - plenty of medium rich fruit, delicious but perhaps a little less complex
2012 Côte Brun - floral/spice nose, beautiful deep red fruit, fabulous complexity. Outstanding
2007 Côte Rotie - decent intensity, touch of strawberry jam, a lighter weight early drinker
2001 Côte Brun - good intensity, nice lush strawberry/raspberry fruit, finishes with smooth tannins, showing a touch of sweetness but very nice
1999 Côte Rotie - older, aged wooden winery nose, wow gorgeous medium dark fruit, meaty, savory, complex, beautiful, with years to go

Image
Jean-Paul's son Loic joins us, and will guide us into the vineyards

Image

Image
Beginnings of the torch being passed.

Image
Loic Jamet

Image
Illustration of a theme we heard numerous times throughout the week. The "big" guys (Guigal and Chapoutier) are making major investments to engineer new vineyard sections. The smaller, artisanal producers we visited have concerns about a lot of this work, the impact on their vineyards, and particularly that they aren't managed organically. This slope was created from terrain that used to look like the scrubby forested section at the upper left (which, of course, most of the vineyard land on these hills was as well at some point in the past). But new vineyards like this are being built without terracing, and the concern for erosion of the hillside is a real one.

Image
The work does provide a fantastic opportunity to get a view into the geology of the soil.

Image
"Dammit Jim, I'm a chemist, not a geologist". I could have it wrong, but this looks pretty schist-y to me.

Image
Trying to capture how hard these vines struggle, and how difficult it is to work these vineyards

Image


Monday Dinner

Dinner was at Restaurant Chartron, about 10 miles to the west of Tain, in the small town of Saint-Donat-sur-l'Herbasse. A fine meal, and the most elegant restaurant of the trip. We had some wines provided by two producers we weren't visiting: Domaine des Entrefaux and Domaine Habrard, and of course additional wines chosen by John from the restaurant's list. My apologies that I was in a bit of a daze by that point, and just sat back to enjoy the food, wine, and company without taking notes.

restaurant-chartron.com
1 Avenue Gambetta
26260 Saint-Donat-sur-l'Herbasse, France

Image

Image

Image
A fantastic dish of raw scallop, lobster, asparagus

Image

Image

Image

Image
Pigeon. Delicious. As good as wild duck.

Image

Image

Image


More to come...
I'm just one lost soul, swimming in a fish bowl, year after year

User avatar
D@v1dZ
Posts: 3490
Joined: December 14th, 2009, 6:49 am

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch & Jamet

#15 Post by D@v1dZ » April 21st, 2016, 1:56 pm

Image
"Dammit Jim, I'm a chemist, not a geologist". I could have it wrong, but this looks pretty schist-y to me.

I am (or rather, was) a geologist, and while you can't be sure, I agree. I see kyanite blades in the rock. IIRC, that means high pressure, low temp metamorphism, which is consistent with a rock that looks to have much of its original structure preserved, but jumbled and folded like a linen sheet.

User avatar
Paul Gordon
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 499
Joined: July 23rd, 2009, 10:50 pm
Location: Yorkville Highlands

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch & Jamet

#16 Post by Paul Gordon » April 21st, 2016, 2:17 pm

I thought that 1999 Jamet C-R was one of the best 2-3 wines of the trip. Just sublime.
I preferred the power of the C-R to the Cote Brune generally, and for my palate, I prefer the slightly fatter 2012 Jamet C-R to the more taut 2013 vintage.
The 2015 barrel including Landonne, Cote Brune and (I think) Cote Rozier was truly brilliant. They need to bottle that one separately ;-).
I will never forget the Jamet visit!
Paul Gordon
Halcon Vineyards

User avatar
Loren Sonkin
Posts: 3638
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 12:37 pm
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch & Jamet

#17 Post by Loren Sonkin » April 21st, 2016, 2:47 pm

Nice. I ran into Matt at HdR. He came straight from the airport. Sounded like a grea trip. Thanks for posting.
With regards,

Loren Sonkin
Columnist at www.Intowine.com

User avatar
jflegler
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 688
Joined: January 21st, 2010, 1:09 pm
Location: Tulsa OK

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch & Jamet

#18 Post by jflegler » April 21st, 2016, 2:56 pm

so cool, thanks for posting Alan...love the pics!
John

User avatar
Alan Rath
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18595
Joined: April 24th, 2009, 12:45 am
Location: Bay Area, CA. Sometimes out to lunch.

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch & Jamet

#19 Post by Alan Rath » April 21st, 2016, 3:04 pm

jflegler wrote:so cool, thanks for posting Alan...love the pics!
Thanks. Mostly, it's 1000s of words I don't have to type [cheers.gif]
I'm just one lost soul, swimming in a fish bowl, year after year

User avatar
Daniel Moritz
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 592
Joined: April 28th, 2009, 6:04 am
Location: Long Island

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch & Jamet

#20 Post by Daniel Moritz » April 21st, 2016, 3:17 pm

OMG amazing reports and photos. My heart warms up reading them. I love the Rhone, one of the happiest places in my soul...looking forward to the reports.
Daniel Moritz

User avatar
Matt Mauldin
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1154
Joined: May 26th, 2010, 3:32 pm
Location: Goleta, CA

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch & Jamet

#21 Post by Matt Mauldin » April 21st, 2016, 3:47 pm

Great post and pics, Alan! I was over there at the same time and may try to post about my visits, but it wasn't quite as spectacular as yours...

Regarding the new vineyard development in Cote Rotie by Guigal, Chapoutuer, etc, I believe many if not all of Chapoutier's vineyards are certified biodynamic. Not invalidating any concerns about erosion etc, but seems like they'd be developing new vineyards in the same manner farming-wise.
ITB

User avatar
Mark C Johnson
Posts: 1058
Joined: July 6th, 2009, 3:18 pm
Location: 808 State

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch & Jamet

#22 Post by Mark C Johnson » April 21st, 2016, 4:00 pm

That wine glass decanter is very intriguing. Very cool. Sadly I only own 4 bottles of Jamet. All from 2005, all needing much more time. Looks like a great time and to have JLL as a guide! [cheers.gif]
Memes & Tropes

User avatar
Peter Kleban
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 13568
Joined: February 14th, 2010, 8:21 pm
Location: Vacationland (AKA Maine, USA)

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch & Jamet

#23 Post by Peter Kleban » April 21st, 2016, 4:03 pm

Thanks, Alan, looks like great fun. I did a double take on seeing the picture of the '14 Graillot Crozes-Hermitage. We just finished a bottle of the '13 and it's on the desk in front of me patiently waiting for me to write up a TN!
Bob Wood:
"Peter..your well-reasoned words were a waste of time."
WsOTY:
Rioja Alta Grn Res 904 '05
Patricia Green PN Dijon 115 Freedom Hill '15
Kenefick Cab S '03
Heidsieck Mono Blue Top Brt NV
W Schaefer Gr. Hreich Ausl #4 '15
G Marsella Fiano di Avellino '15
Petrolo Galatrona '13
Daniel Dampt et Fils Chablis 1er Côte de Léchet '16

jbray23
Posts: 2705
Joined: September 2nd, 2010, 3:56 pm

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch & Jamet

#24 Post by jbray23 » April 21st, 2016, 4:18 pm

I've never really heard the story, but why did the brothers break up?
Jason, back itb

User avatar
Paul Gordon
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 499
Joined: July 23rd, 2009, 10:50 pm
Location: Yorkville Highlands

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch & Jamet

#25 Post by Paul Gordon » April 21st, 2016, 4:33 pm

jbray23 wrote:I've never really heard the story, but why did the brothers break up?
We were told that Jean-Paul was frustrated with Jean-Luc's management of the vineyards. Now Jean-Paul (along with his son) manage their own vineyards.
Paul Gordon
Halcon Vineyards

User avatar
Frank Murray III
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 7712
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 5:51 pm
Location: South OC

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch & Jamet

#26 Post by Frank Murray III » April 21st, 2016, 4:36 pm

Alan, thank you very much for the time to post all of this. I really appreciate it.

Jill and I plan to be in France during the summer, and I wanted some advice about the Ampuis area. Is it common for the Jamet family to do an appointment? We plan to stay there for a few days and I would like to visit if that is something that they do.

Dig seeing Bradley and Paul in the photos, too.
My WOTY candidates for 2019:
2014 Marie Courtin Eloquence BdB Extra Brut
2017 Rivers-Marie PN Platt SC
2017 Kutch Pinot Noir SC PN
2009 Roederer Cristal Brut
2017 Carlisle Zin Mancini Ranch RRV

My best wines of 2018:
2017 Kutch Falstaff Sonoma Coast PN
2012 Marguet La Grande Ruelle Ambonnay

Kindness matters.

User avatar
Ed Steinway
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1491
Joined: March 14th, 2010, 4:40 pm

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch & Jamet

#27 Post by Ed Steinway » April 21st, 2016, 5:12 pm

Brian Tuite wrote:
The trip was over last week. FYI.
Posting around 6AM will do that sometimes. :)

Thanks,
Ed

User avatar
Alan Rath
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18595
Joined: April 24th, 2009, 12:45 am
Location: Bay Area, CA. Sometimes out to lunch.

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch & Jamet

#28 Post by Alan Rath » April 21st, 2016, 5:25 pm

Ed Steinway wrote:
Brian Tuite wrote:
The trip was over last week. FYI.
Posting around 6AM will do that sometimes. :)
Ed, don't let Brian push you around ;) He only knows this because I made a few FB posts in real time. But heading out at 8am and returning from dinner after midnight every day was not conducive to doing these posts here in real time [swoon.gif]
I'm just one lost soul, swimming in a fish bowl, year after year

User avatar
Zachary Ross
Posts: 785
Joined: June 15th, 2009, 8:35 am
Location: Brooklyn

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch & Jamet

#29 Post by Zachary Ross » April 21st, 2016, 6:02 pm

Terrific!

Any thoughts about the Gripa and Coulet?
Iroulégeek.

User avatar
Alan Rath
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18595
Joined: April 24th, 2009, 12:45 am
Location: Bay Area, CA. Sometimes out to lunch.

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch & Jamet

#30 Post by Alan Rath » April 21st, 2016, 7:42 pm

Zachary Ross wrote:Any thoughts about the Gripa and Coulet?
We had several Gripa wines over the course of the week. I didn't note anything spectacular, but remember them being very nice wines. I've had some Coulet wines before, here at home, and always found them to be quite good. If it's on our table, then most likely John picked it out, and it's a quality wine.
I'm just one lost soul, swimming in a fish bowl, year after year

User avatar
ky1em!ttskus
Posts: 4500
Joined: January 27th, 2012, 7:38 am

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch

#31 Post by ky1em!ttskus » April 21st, 2016, 8:18 pm

Brian Tuite wrote: [popcorn.gif]
[popcorn.gif] [popcorn.gif]

User avatar
Paul Gordon
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 499
Joined: July 23rd, 2009, 10:50 pm
Location: Yorkville Highlands

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch & Jamet

#32 Post by Paul Gordon » April 21st, 2016, 8:37 pm

Frank Murray III wrote:Alan, thank you very much for the time to post all of this. I really appreciate it.

Jill and I plan to be in France during the summer, and I wanted some advice about the Ampuis area. Is it common for the Jamet family to do an appointment? We plan to stay there for a few days and I would like to visit if that is something that they do.

Dig seeing Bradley and Paul in the photos, too.
Frank

Not sure if Alan responded via email/IM but Jean-Paul is not comfortable speaking English so has been a hard visit to secure for a non-Francophone. With the next generation (Loic speaks good English) becoming involved, that may change. Give them a try.
Paul Gordon
Halcon Vineyards

Alain M
Posts: 362
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 5:25 am

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch & Jamet

#33 Post by Alain M » April 22nd, 2016, 1:15 am

Nice notes, thanks for the write-up.
I would just say that the Jamet Côte Rôtie 2007 is not an earlier drinker to me, at least last year it still needed time.

Also, I didn't know that Jamet was doing a Condrieu. Is this a new offering from the domaine?
I love what they do with the Côtes du Rhône blanc, so Condrieu sounds like a treat!

Alain
M ï c h € l

User avatar
Ramon C
Posts: 3588
Joined: October 23rd, 2010, 6:34 am

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch & Jamet

#34 Post by Ramon C » April 22nd, 2016, 6:03 am

Frank Murray III wrote: Jill and I plan to be in France during the summer, and I wanted some advice about the Ampuis area. Is it common for the Jamet family to do an appointment?
I don't know if it's common, but we've done a private visit-appointment.
@brera

User avatar
Alan Rath
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18595
Joined: April 24th, 2009, 12:45 am
Location: Bay Area, CA. Sometimes out to lunch.

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch & Jamet

#35 Post by Alan Rath » April 22nd, 2016, 8:12 am

Alain M wrote:Also, I didn't know that Jamet was doing a Condrieu. Is this a new offering from the domaine?
I love what they do with the Côtes du Rhône blanc, so Condrieu sounds like a treat!
Alain, I've never see one either. Wine Searcher doesn't turn anything up in any vintage, around the world, for the past 4 years. So maybe it's a new project? Or something they only deliver to restaurants or private customers? There was definitely more there than they could consume themselves, so if it's new, maybe we'll see it at some point.
I'm just one lost soul, swimming in a fish bowl, year after year

User avatar
Paul Gordon
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 499
Joined: July 23rd, 2009, 10:50 pm
Location: Yorkville Highlands

Northern Rhone Tour Day 1: Clusel-Roch & Jamet

#36 Post by Paul Gordon » April 22nd, 2016, 8:25 am

Alan Rath wrote:
Alain M wrote:Also, I didn't know that Jamet was doing a Condrieu. Is this a new offering from the domaine?
I love what they do with the Côtes du Rhône blanc, so Condrieu sounds like a treat!
Alain, I've never see one either. Wine Searcher doesn't turn anything up in any vintage, around the world, for the past 4 years. So maybe it's a new project? Or something they only deliver to restaurants or private customers? There was definitely more there than they could consume themselves, so if it's new, maybe we'll see it at some point.
I believe that it is the first (or possibly second) year. I suspect Jean-Paul picked up a fruit source after the split with Jean-Luc.
Paul Gordon
Halcon Vineyards

User avatar
Alan Rath
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18595
Joined: April 24th, 2009, 12:45 am
Location: Bay Area, CA. Sometimes out to lunch.

Northern Rhone Tour Day 2: Andre Perret

#37 Post by Alan Rath » April 23rd, 2016, 9:12 pm

Day 2: Andre Perret

Tuesday morning we made the 45 minute drive north to Chavanay to visit with Andre Perret, who produces wine from vineyards owned in Condrieu and plots of Saint Joseph in Chavanay.

These photos were taken above Chavanay, in Andre's St. Joseph Les Rivoires vineyards. If my memory is correct, there are a mix of Syrah and Marsanne/Roussanne plots on this hill.

Image
John, Adam, Andre Perret

Image
Possible to get a small tractor into parts of the vineyards, but a lot of work has to be done by hand.

Image
Trying to convey the steepness and terraces of these vineyards. The overcast gray skies make getting contrast a little difficult.

Image

Image

Image

Image
Replanting a new vineyard section

Image

Image
One cool - and very fit - vineyard dog

Image
Adam scrambling up the steep trails between vineyard terraces. Working these hills will keep you in shape

Image
This exposed face shows the underlying decomposing granite, and also how far vine roots can grow, at least 6-8 feet for this one

Image
I like how this shot shows how closely civilization is wedged tightly between the vineyard hills to the west, and the Rhone river on the east. This is typical up and down the entire region, from Ampuis and Cote Rotie at the north, through the long archipelago of Saint Joseph vineyards, down to Cornas in the south. Hermitage is the exception, on the other side of the river, as well as Crozes Hermitage.

As you can see from this really nice map I tried to capture, put together by the Cave de Tain Cooperative:
Image
Image
Image

Image
And the daily group picture, left to right: Angela, Jason, Humble Scribe, Adam, Paul, Jackie, Matt, Bradley, John, Andre

Image

Image

Image

Andre Perret is a producer I had no experience with prior to this visit. I enjoyed this visit very much, and recommend the Domaine to potential visitors.

We went through some 2015 barrels, mostly whites. The 2015s do show the warmth of the vintage, on the riper, lush side.

I really liked the 2014 Saint Joseph Blanc, a blend of 50/50 Marsanne/Roussane, with beautiful medium rich fruit, granite minerality, spicy, waxy, slightly oily finish, really lovely wine. Its 2013 version shows a bit more tropical and lush, with good minerality.

2014 Condrieu Chanson is just delicious, with nice spice, and impeccable balance.
2014 Condrieu Chery slightly more lush, plump, with good minerality.

At the end of the week, for our Friday lunch, a bottle of the 2010 Chery was fabulous.

Stay tuned for more...
Last edited by Alan Rath on April 25th, 2016, 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I'm just one lost soul, swimming in a fish bowl, year after year

User avatar
Guillaume Deschamps
Contributor
Contributor
Posts: 8105
Joined: February 2nd, 2009, 7:49 am
Location: Languedoc

Northern Rhone Tour now Day 2: Andre Perret

#38 Post by Guillaume Deschamps » April 24th, 2016, 2:00 am

I feel like each day would deserve its own thread...

You were really lucky to meet André Perret, he doesn't get a ton of press but his wines are always top-notch. His St Joseph (red) Les Grisières in particular is awesome (but rare). He's my go-to producer in Condrieu.
ITB @roumegaire roumegaire.com

User avatar
Arv R
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3616
Joined: January 11th, 2015, 3:53 pm

Northern Rhone Tour now Day 2: Andre Perret

#39 Post by Arv R » April 24th, 2016, 9:38 am

Amazing pictures and trip report. Wonderful to see Perret getting some mention - Marc Hanes introduced his wines to our group perhaps 15+ years ago.

When I see those vineyards and the rocky soils, I understand the reason for the prices better. At least fortunately for the drinker of these, Northern Rhones have largely escaped the fervor around the cult cabs, and first growths.
R_@_0

User avatar
A. So
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2852
Joined: July 19th, 2011, 7:58 pm

Northern Rhone Tour now Day 2: Andre Perret

#40 Post by A. So » April 24th, 2016, 9:46 am

Arv R wrote:At least fortunately for the drinker of these, Northern Rhones have largely escaped the fervor around the cult cabs, and first growths.
wut
エaイdドrリiアaンn (93 pts.)

User avatar
c fu
Moderator
<dfn>Moderator</dfn>
Posts: 30734
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 1:26 pm
Location: Pasadena

Northern Rhone Tour now Day 2: Andre Perret

#41 Post by c fu » April 24th, 2016, 9:51 am

Somm Song

I think to sing it again
He had bottles like a truck truck truck
Corks like what what what
All night long
Let me see that Sommmmmmmmmmm

I like it when the cork pops da na da na
Baby make your wine go da na da na
yahI know you wanna show da na da na
That somm somm somm
I like it when the list goes da na da na
Baby make your geeky wines go da na da na
Girl I know you wanna show da na da na
That somm somm somm
Ch@rlie F|_|
"Roulot is Roulot"©

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/clayfu.wine

User avatar
Mike Grammer
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 6148
Joined: April 27th, 2010, 7:19 am
Location: Toronto

Northern Rhone Tour now Day 2: Andre Perret

#42 Post by Mike Grammer » April 24th, 2016, 9:52 am

This has been a brilliant read so far, Alan---the pictures and your notes and thoughts are simply a joy to read. I wanted to mention it, and also post to make sure I have this thread pegged to come back to in the future for reference. Kudos for capturing things so vividly and for sharing with us.

I am jazzed that you got to try a 24 year old Condrieu and that it showed so well. I have a Jamet 08 Cote Rotie up to bat in a couple of months at my WineFest, one of the bottles I'm really looking forward to!

Mike
Lived Life. With Love. Full Cup

User avatar
Arv R
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3616
Joined: January 11th, 2015, 3:53 pm

Northern Rhone Tour now Day 2: Andre Perret

#43 Post by Arv R » April 24th, 2016, 10:11 am

A. So wrote:
Arv R wrote:At least fortunately for the drinker of these, Northern Rhones have largely escaped the fervor around the cult cabs, and first growths.
wut
I'm just observing that AOC like Condrieu aren't (yet) priced like Montrachet.

I realize stuff like Chave and some C-R feel expensive, but it could be much worse.
R_@_0

User avatar
David Gerstenfeld
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 170
Joined: January 11th, 2010, 7:11 am
Location: New Jersey

Northern Rhone Tour now Day 2: Andre Perret

#44 Post by David Gerstenfeld » April 24th, 2016, 10:33 am

As a fanatic of the Northern Rhone and with a significant chunk of my cellar represented from there this is a great read. It would be a dream come true for me to tour the area with John Livingston Learmouth. His book is a bible for me and I constantly refer to it. Jamet is a particular favorite of mine and I hope one day to visit there. Keep up the posts!

User avatar
Alan Rath
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18595
Joined: April 24th, 2009, 12:45 am
Location: Bay Area, CA. Sometimes out to lunch.

Northern Rhone Tour Day 2: Gonon

#45 Post by Alan Rath » April 26th, 2016, 12:38 pm

Day 2: Pierre Gonon

Our second day continued, driving south to Gonon in the village of Mauves, to be hosted by Jean Gonon. The Domaine's name comes from Jean's father, Pierre. Jean and his brother (also Pierre) now run the Domaine. I was looking forward to this visit, having met Jean in San Francisco two years ago (on what turns out to have been his first trip to the U.S.).

The vineyard sources are split between the St Joseph areas above Mauves on the south, Tournon, and 1.2ha bought from Raymond Trollat's family vineyard, in the hills above St-Jean-de-Muzols, about 2 miles west (and on the other side of the river) from Tain.

Gonon produces essentially just two wines from Saint Joseph (and a couple more from outside the appellation): The Saint Joseph rouge, and a Saint Joseph blanc called "Les Olivieres", a 80/20 Marsanne/Roussanne blend.

Image

Image
Jean Gonon greets us and plans our afternoon with John

Image
A quick first stop to take a look at the Saint Joseph vineyard hill above Tournon, where a good fraction of Gonon's vineyards are located.

Image
Next stop the Raymond Trollat vineyard, where Gonon has 1.2ha. Here there are a mix of old vines, plots of up to 60 and 80 years old. The apparent sterility is not from herbicides, but from having been plowed recently.

Image
In this shot you see the natural vineyard before being plowed.

Image
An 80-year old vine. Airfare SFO-CDG, $1200; rental car for two weeks, 350€; Hotel in Tain l'Hermitage, 70€; pruning lesson from Jean Gonon: priceless.

Image

Image
View from the Gonon/Trollat vineyard: in the center is the town of Tain l'Hermitage, just left of the river; on the right side of the river is Tournon. Hill of Hermitage is upper left, the Chapel a small blip on the horizon in the wooded area just before it turns to cleared vineyard terrain. There are two bridges crossing the river: the far one is the larger automobile bridge, the nearer one the foot bridge.

Image

Image

Image
The Trollat vineyard visit was a revelation. John describes this vineyard in his book as warm and dry, often buffeted by wind with it's high, prominent exposure. But on this day, overcast with off and on light rain, it took on a darker, almost mystical feeling, the ancient vines seeming to clutch their secrets tightly, hugged by the moist earth. Walking through these 60-80 year old vines, quiet, isolated and solemn, far from civilization below, gazing across the Rhone at distant Hermitage hill, was one of the most compelling, memorable, inspiring vineyard visits I have ever made. Every time I drink a bottle of Gonon rouge, I will think of this day.

Image

Image
The moonscape-like state of the vineyard is partly the wet, overcast day, and partly from some sections having been recently plowed. Plowing is something that all the growers we visited do to control weeds and cover crop (unlike some non-organic growers who use herbicides). It's a tremendous amount of work. If the slopes are not too great, there may be room for a small tractor, and some use horses. On higher slopes, they will use a gas-powered winch positioned at the top of a row, with a long steel cable to help pull a small wheeled plow, guided by a vineyard worker. That process is still very difficult and extremely labor intensive, and has to be done carefully to avoid damaging the vines. At least two passes will be made, the first essentially trenches the row, turning over the earth from the center out, onto the vines on each side. The second pulls that earth back from the vines into the trench, and then a third may be done to smooth the row further. I'm sure some growers in California must do this, but I don't think I know any.

Image
Close up of the soil type; John's book calls this vineyard mostly schist, but it looked and felt a lot like ancient decomposed granite to me.

Image

Image
Gonon uses these large, very old wooden vats for fermentation, and I assume blending. I think Jean said these were up to 60 years old.

Image

Image
First some 2015 barrel samples:
2015 Saint Joseph Blanc "Les Olivieres" has great flavor, density, minerality. Several Saint Joseph rouge samples from the three sites were instructive in their differences. A sample of the Trollat 60 year-old vines showed fabulously dark, deep, brooding fruit, rocky and muscular. A representative blend of the 15 rouge was backward, brooding, dark, well structured, secretive. Should be outstanding. 2015 Vieilles Vignes from oldest Trollat vines was dark, secretive, deep red, hint of spice, more elegant than 60 year or blend though still very brooding.

Image
Then some bottled wines started to appear:
2014 Saint Joseph rouge has a beautiful nose, with gorgeous elegant, deep red fruit, finishing with a nice savory tartness. A very good wine from the difficult vintage.
2013 Saint Joseph rouge shows a nice spicy nose, more med body, with elegant dark fruit, good intensity, great mouthwatering acidity. I have already sucked down a few of these at home, but somehow it tastes better in the cellar...
2007 Saint Joseph Vieilles Vignes has a fabulous nose, beautiful medium depth, medium dark red fruit, nice acidity, touch of the 2007 vintage tartness and excellent structure.
1986 Saint Joseph rouge starts with an attractive worn leather nose, medium body, holding well for its age with no sign of premature bottle sweetness, very pretty.
2014 Saint Joseph blanc Les Oliviers is really beautiful, with elegant flavor, fresh, more crisp than 2015 with a nice beam of lush fruit, hint of wax, very good balance.
1998 Les Olivieres great nose, younger than its age, beautiful depth and finesse, nice wax note and good acidity.

Image

Image
John, as usual, taking notes

Image
The damage

Image
Not a bad view to return to, looking out at Hermitage Hill from my hotel room


Dinner that evening was at Le Mangevins, 6 ave Paul Durand in Tain, a tiny bistro in the center of town. Fabrice Gripa (St-Joseph, St-Péray) and Jean-Pierre Mucyn (Crozes-Hermitage, St-Joseph, Cornas) joined us with a few of their wines. For some reason (likely exhaustion) I failed to take any notes on the wines that evening.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
By coincidence, Johan Michel, another Cornas producer was at another table having dinner (and delivering wine to the restaurant). He sent this over for us to drink.
I'm just one lost soul, swimming in a fish bowl, year after year

User avatar
Robert.A.Jr.
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 21005
Joined: January 28th, 2010, 5:03 am
Location: Orlando, Florida

Northern Rhone Tour Day 2: Gonon (New)

#46 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » April 26th, 2016, 12:46 pm

A tremendous thread, Alan. Thanks for the effort to write it up and incorporate all the great pictures. Read the Gonon piece twice.

The VV is a treat, I only have 06 and 07. Has become very hard to source.

"@lf3rt was clearly raised in an outhouse in the Loire. . . ."

Kenny H (circa 2015)

User avatar
D@vid Bu3ker
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 32609
Joined: February 14th, 2009, 8:06 am
Location: Connecticut

Northern Rhone Tour Day 2: Gonon (New)

#47 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » April 26th, 2016, 1:03 pm

The only VV since the 07 up to now is the 09. I do not believe any other vintages have been released.

The 09 vanished as if it never existed. I missed out.
David Bueker - Rieslingfan

User avatar
dcornutt
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 9886
Joined: February 12th, 2009, 4:19 pm

Northern Rhone Tour Day 2: Gonon (New)

#48 Post by dcornutt » April 26th, 2016, 4:12 pm

Isn't Jean a beautiful guy! GREAT. Vicarious thrill for me. The wines are so great from these very unassuming brothers. Keep up the good work with the reports.
DON Cornutt

"Before you eat or drink anything, carefully consider with whom you eat or drink rather than what you
eat or drink,because eating without a friend is the life of the lion or the wolf." Epicurius

Nick Gangas
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 7211
Joined: August 7th, 2009, 6:27 pm

Northern Rhone Tour Day 2: Gonon (New)

#49 Post by Nick Gangas » April 26th, 2016, 4:55 pm

loving this report also.

User avatar
John Preston
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 339
Joined: April 27th, 2010, 5:54 pm

Northern Rhone Tour Day 2: Gonon (New)

#50 Post by John Preston » April 26th, 2016, 5:21 pm

Alan,
Wow. A bucket list trip. Love it. Thanks for allowing me to live vicariously through your notes and pics!

Cheers,
JP

Post Reply

Return to “Wine Talk”