In terms of Cote Rotie, most of my own cellar and what I have shared among friends is mostly Jamet & Jasmin. Deep experience with other Cote Rotie producers is less broad.
I know Levet is well regarded by several contributors here. Would anyone mind expanding on the various cuvees?
I tried to track info down on the web & I searched here but there’s very little info about the entire line-up. Even Levet’s own website (French only) has just 3 of the cuvees listed.
Would appreciate learning about both stylistic & actual physical (location, vine age, vinification, etc) differences are between the base C.R., Amethyste, Brune et Blonde, La Chavroche, La Peroline, Maestra & Les Journaries?
Chavaroche=Peroline (American vs. European naming) The Chavaroche a name of a lie dit next to the Cote Brune lieu-dit, though my understanding there’s quite a bit of Mollard in this as well.
Journaries=Maestria (American vs. European naming) Comes mostly (though not entirely) from Landonne, is my understanding
Cote Rotie (base)=Amethyste
I’m not aware of the Cote Brune bottling
The Chavaroche is generally more backwards with more structure, the Journaries is typically a bit more aromatic and open, though I would suggest in both cases both require quite a bit of cellaring. When opened young, they often don’t even resemble northern Rhone until day 2. Some older examples of Chavaroche I’ve had (98 and 04, recently) have been wonderful. There is a fair amount of variability to the wines - they’re pretty old school. Some people find that they can occasionally “smell like old socks” or “roadkill” (you know who you are!), though I suppose I either don’t find that or enjoy it!
I don’t have much experience with the base Cote Rotie, as given such little price disparity with the individual cuvees, I simply don’t buy it.
Hard to add anything more than this most excellent post.
If you like the Levet style, as Greg notes, skip the Amethyste. It’s really nice, but the bump up to the better two wines is minor, so go all in. While the La Chav is generally considered the flagship, these are two different wines, both of high merit. I think Les Journaries is actually better in some years, 2013 for example. Both wines need a lot of time. If you are not patient, I would not buy these wines.
When you say a lot of time, does that mean the typical 15 years or more? I have some Levet back to 2005, and I’ve sampled a few bottles but they still seem like they need time. I have a 2007 Chavaroche standing now because there have been a few good CT reviews.
I thought a 2007 Chavaroche was a bit ornery when I opened it recently, but typically that age should be fine. The 04 was great a few months back after a couple of hours in a decanter and was the second best wine in a an 04 northern Rhône horizontal.
A bunch of us had the 04 Levet at Racines right before the pandemic (with a horizontal of most of the other northern Rhone 04s other than Chave and Jamet) and I think the consensus (including Pascaline and Arnaud) was that only the Reynard was better. So I wouldn’t hesitate too much.
i opened 2 bottles of 2009 journaries last year and both were quite terrible. i chalked it up to poor storage from the shop i purchased them from and drinking them way too early so im definitely interested to see other perspectives but i just recall tart astringent wet dog. like the worst of herve souhaut bottles ive ever had.