TN: '97 Ogier Belle Helene

Been quite a few years since I have tasted this. In prior years, I have found the '97 cuvee normale to be a bit green and in an awkward place. The '97 Belle Helene has been fairly closed and oaky.

Now it is entering its sweet spot. The initial palate spreads out very nicely and is driven by red fruits, licorice, and some oak. The mid-palate needs to fill out a bit more but the finish is long and quite nice. The wine kept improving until the last drop. Great to see this wine finally come into its own. Was great with beef short ribs and cornbread.

I do prefer the '95 Belle Helene which can be stunning and the mor recetn vintages are fairly closed or too primary. This is just entering the sweet spot and a lighter styled Belle Helene.

thanks for the update, John. never see notes on this wine. seems only a few people even know what it is! livingstone-learmonth’s book states the 97 was the first vintage!

i have the 95 on deck and only have 1 left of the 97 and 98.

i have found generally that 97 norther rhones from cornas, hermitage and cote-rotie are much better recently than i ever thought they’d be.

Hello Sir!

Yeah generally found the same thing with the 97 N. Rhones. Yaniger always told me to wait but being impatient and not a good listener just drank many.

I would hold that '98. It is much darker fruited and large scaled wine. The '95 is either great or corked so have a backup handy. But man is it good!

I know all vintages from 1997 onwards - but missed the 1995, which was never officially released, only some single bottles found their way to private customers, journalists or importers as a bonus.

The 1997 - from my very cool cellar, was quite primary for a long time, but I think now it is coming on its own and showing real depth and finesse … for me definitely on the level of 1997 La Landonne/Guigal.

1998 is too young IMHO.

(BTW: the 1995 has an ugly brown label - right?)


Yes the '95 has the exact same label as the '97. The '95 was really an experiment partially driven by my buddy Staurt. So we’ve had the '95 many times and a wonderful wine it is. Think it is the only Belle Helene made by Michel in fact. In '97 Stephane was increasingly taking the reins.

The '83 Ogier is actually the same thing if bottles still exist. Back then Michel only had Rozier (from Helene’s family) fruit and since that was his first year (I think) making his own wine he had to use new barrels. Hence the same recipe. I have never had the '83 but have heard it is fantastic.

fascinating – didn’t know that. recently got a pristine case at auction. didn’t he re-release these bottles at some point?

Do you mean a re-release of the '95? No clue. Never was really sold thru importers as there was only a tiny amount. May have been one barrel but really don’t remember those details.

need to get yaniger on here to straighten out.

He is busy with other things. I’ve tried. He is happy as a clam in Austin,into the local music scene, and building DIY audio gear.