How best to appreciate 09 La Las

My wine group just came into a set of 09 La Las at a decent price and we are going to do a tasting. We have a lot of experience with new world Syrah, but almost none with northern Rhone wines. We only know that La Las are supposed to be the pinnacle of Syrah and 2009 is great year, but that’s about it. We could easily compare them to Alban, SQN, or Cayuse, but I’m guessing they have little in common. So I’m wondering if there is a new world Syrah you would put up against a La La?

Wait 10 years? If that’s not practical, decant 3-4 hours. You may find that they have more in common with Alban and SQN than Chave or Allemand, etc.

How many people? If 6 or less I would just open these and try them all together at the same time. It is a great way to learn the clear differences between each of the bottlings (note I did not say vineyards). If you have a lot of people and really small pours then I would add other 2009 Cote Roties but not new world wines. They are simply different beasts and whenever one does that one group of wines (new or old world) generally gets left in the dust and ends up being wasted IMHO.

I would pop the cork in the AM and slow OX them myself but have not tried the 2009s so others may well have much more recent and better advice.

I’ve had 10-12 vintages of the La Las, including 2009, and they are nothing like SQN or Alban.

They are also not like Chave or Allemand, as they are neither Hermitage nor Cornas.

Guigal is one of those producers where it’s not worth posting notes here, because they are judged without being tasted.

For the OP, yes waiting is best, but 4-6 hours of decanting is critical if you want to have them soon.

Never tasted the '09, but based on much earlier vintages that had been passed around in Northern Rhone wine-dinners that I’ve attended, I will agree with the 4+ hours of decant at least to help dial down the intensity of fruit and wood. I’d even suggest going for 6+ hours of decanting. The 4 years of aging in 100% new oak is very evident in all the ones that I’ve had, even those with 15+ of age.

These are not Chave nor Allemand. Imo, they’re also not Jamet, Benetierre, Sorrel and Levet.

I appreciate the responses.

There are just 4 of us. I don’t want to wait 10 years so probably we’ll go for a long decant. My hope was that, if we really like the style, we could find something similar
that was less than $500 a bottle.

Yeah, I get what you’re saying about the snark here for LaLas but that wasn’t what I was trying to convey. My bad if that was how it came across.

I probably haven’t had as many LaLas as you have, David, but I’ve had about a dozen from various vintages at various ages. The oak and ripeness are closer to modern CA Syrah than to classic N. Rhone to my palate, YMMV. This wasn’t a criticism, I love both styles. The 1988 La Turque and La Mouline were among my favorite N. Rhone experiences. Even though my palate has shifted towards a more classic style, I’d be thrilled to have another chance to drink them again. Or to try the '09s ITNOS, though I’m sure they’ll show better with more age on them.


The LaLas are idiosyncratic so while not everyone’s cup of tea, there are not substitutes IMHO. There are other modern and oaked Cote Roties out there and maybe you can try those along side. Ogier Belle Helene and others are out there as the LaLas are what many producers aspire to given the pricing and critic reviews. Hopefully you don’t catch them while shut down but that has not really been my experience when I drank a bunch of them pretty regularly. La Mouline was usually my favorite but each is different. The '88 and '85 remain benchmark wines for me.

One thing to watch for in tasting, is that, while the winemaking is essentially same (four-week fermentation, 42 months in new barriques), there are significant differences in the blends, with very large doses of viognier in the La Mouline and La Turque. (Other producers who include viognier typically do so at levels more like 3% to 5%.) Also, the vine ages differ significantly. So what you taste is not just a reflection of differences in sites:

La Mouline: 89% syrah, 11% viognier (!); average vine age: 75 years
La Turque: 93% syrah, 7% viogner; average vine age: 25 years
La Landonne: 100% syrah; average vine age: 35 years

(Source: Guigal’s website)


Oops. Fixed it. La Landonne. Bandol on the brain, I guess.

The La La’s are singular wines. If you end up loving the style, my money is on your tasting group buying more La La’s! You should be able to easily source them for less than $500 per bottle, especially at auction. 2009 was an excellent year for these wines, and while young, they should provide a memorable tasting. As you indicated, just be sure to give them several hours of air. [cheers.gif]