TN: 2003 Tardieu-Laurent Crozes-Hermitage Vieilles Vignes

2003 Tardieu-Laurent Crozes-Hermitage Vieilles Vignes - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Crozes-Hermitage (9/27/2009)
I bought this at a great price largely based on critics’ scores, and I’m sorry I did. Everything about this wine is just a shame. It’s a shame I paid any money for it, and it’s a shame that a wine that has good fruit and nice acidity needed to be sabotaged with so much oak that one may think there’s a whole oak tree in the bottle. All I could taste was roast coffee flavors and burnt, scorched earth. The oak is so prevalent that it’s just plain ridiculous. I don’t think this can even be used for cooking. It’s not often that I flat out hate a wine, but this one I do…it is truly vile. Stay away from it as far as you can. DNPIM.

Pelz On Wine: 2003 Tardieu-Laurent Crozes-Hermitage Vieilles Vignes (France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Crozes-Hermitage)" onclick=";return false;

What were its scores, and from whom?

Counterpoint: I had a couple glasses of the 2003 Tardieu-Laurent ‘Les Grandes Bastides’ [Crozes Hermitage] last night and loved it. Normally I really dislike the T-L lineup, top to bottom, all of their AOC. I too find that the oak seems out of balance, and didn’t like the way they aged. But this one was a huge (positive) surprise. I don’t think this 13.5% abv wine is the same bottling as OP as it seems to be a blend of various purchased grapes, but the label specifies that it too gets the new Allier oak treatment. Somehow between time, and the richness of the vintage – 2003 is my favorite NoRho year – this Crozes is doing well at sweet sixteen. It leads off with a nose of lavender, mint, sage. And then opens into a plush, rounded palate loaded with red fruit and pipe tobacco. Good but not great concentration. I like this, but would say that the 2003 Crozes ‘Gaby’ from Colombier and PJA’s ‘Rourre’ bottling were a head of this on the leader board. Both of those other two also get a strong spine of oak too. My last glass, about 4 hours after the first, seemed a bit less rich than the first, so I’m sure this on the downslope, but its keeping well for its AOC. For me, this sits at the cusp of B+/A- quality.

This really is one of the few times I can recall liking a T-L after it has some age. Their Cornas, Cote Roties, et al have all left me non plussed. I especially dislike their SoRho’s too.