1996 Couly-Dutheil Chinon Clos de l'Echo

This is classic, mature Chinon. A killer nose, kaleidoscope of funk, bramble, leather, dried herbs, smoke and a hint of a woodsy note. Lithe but layered on the palate, expressing an array of wild red fruits, a subtle dark note, sous bois and dry tobacco leaf. Good acids, fine but resolving tannins, and a slight drying note on the backend that stops me from scoring a point or two higher. The nose is the winner here. This wine is at apogee, will hold this plateau for 3-5 years max. I recommend drinking up.

A really excellent wine.

(93 pts.)

Nice note. You enjoyed it a tad more than I did, but agree that it’s held up quite nicely and is offering good pleasure.

Love these wines. They can get outclassed in big tastings but I think they hold their own. Have a few mid-90’s magnums left. Waiting for Alfert’s pilgrimage to DC.

I dare you to pick up the 3L of 1997 Couly at K&L…


Reporting back after Thanksgiving!

Timely note. I recently bought a couple bottles of 2005 off Winebid to try out. I have one at home for a near term test bottle. The CT notes seem to indicate these wines are bigger and wilder than most other Chinon producers.

Looking forward to trying it in any case.

Great stuff, Robert. I’ve been buying and drinking a lot of Couly wines in recent months, because they’re such good value at around half the price of the bigger names (for older vintages). For some reason, they’ve become widely available over here.
This week, I had the Clos de l’Olive 98, which was a little tired but still very enjoyable, then last night the 2001 Clos de L’Echo, which is excellent and very youthful still. In fact the latter is one of my favourites and well worth getting because it has another decade of enjoyment left, I think.
I have to constantly remind myself that they are fresher and paradoxically longer-living than Bordeaux.

Just one word of caution - some vintages are a bit spoofy. I was drinking a half of 2011 a few weeks ago: the opening sip was great, very fruity with great silkiness and no green edge to it. After a couple of glasses, I thought - hmm, this is a bit strong! Sure enough, 14.5° - cue the big hangover. I’m a long skinny beanpole, so high alcohol /low acidity wines go straight to my head. I had already bought some 2005 before realising that they were 15°. Oh well. The 2010 is 14°, but with the acidity to balance so it’s not a problem.

If you haven’t tried it, the Crescendo cuvée is worth a punt. More oaky and more concentrated, it needs a good fifteen years or more but I was very impressed by the 04, much better than the standard Clos de l’Echo in that year.

My note from 8/24/16:

The nose is just amazingly pure barnyard funk, smoke, tar, meat juice and old unopened closet. Mushrooms, fine tannins, no sharp edges, gentle black unsweetened fruit, no pucker, slight alcohol taste. This baby is singing with zero signs of falling off. Drink this with an hour of air, but mine poured on open. Easily could go down for another 10-15 years in a cool cellar. This is beef jerkey in a glass. Lovely if you like this odd mixture of flavors. I could see this with smoked salmon. Damn good. (94 pts.)

I have had four of these, all with similar results.

I’ll echo that, having had a handful of Couly-Dutheil. At their best I’ve had examples that are classic mature Chinon. Some examples are tired/oxidized, and some have been quite young for their age.