TN: Underrated 2004s in S. Rhone? (Pallieres and Cayron)

I was a fan of the underloved 2004 vintage in the Southern Rhone. There was a freshness and balance I liked.

Over the past month, I’ve had two bottles of the 04 Dom de Cayron and last night opened a bottle of the Dom. les Pallieres, Kermit Lynch’s property.

I didn’t take notes, as these were drunk over dinner with non-geek friends, but my take on these wines on release was vindicated. One bottle of the Cayron, bought from a dubious shop in Brooklyn, was beginning to crack up slightly. But the other bottle was dead on-- medium bodied, with some secondary notes and a finesse you don’t always get in Southern Rhones. I’ll keep my last bottle for a while. (The 01 was drinking beautifully two or three years ago.)

The Pallieres had somewhat more body and extract and is younger. But as it opened up in the glass, it offered up nice sour cherry notes – grenache with some backbone but not overripe. I’ll sit on the other two bottles for a couple more years.

At prices in the mid-$20s, these were great values. And, to my taste, perhaps more pleasing than a lot of 05s and 07s that were more tannic and riper.

Anyone else have any experience with 04 Southern Rhones recently?

John, thanks for your notes. I have not drunk any 04 southern Rhones recently, but I will drink any vintage of Cayron any time, anywhere. I find it to be distinctive; nothing else from the southern Rhone smells or tastes like it, except perhaps Pegau. I really like the wild, funky, sauvage aspect of it. We are just finishing our case of the 95 and it is going strong.

My feeling is that 2004 fell by the wayside because of the binary perception that it’s either a VINTAGE OF THE CENTURY or it’s a bunch of wines not worth purchasing. Loyal lovers of the South Rhone excepted, of course.

I, too, have been a fan of the 2004 Southern Rhones since release. They remind me of the 1999s. Maybe a little less structured, but nice darker fruit profiles and they have been drinking well since release. I’ve really loved several bottles of Charvin’s CdP. My most recent '04 S. Rhone was a few months ago, Domaine Les Aphillanthes CDRV “Trois Cepage”. Probably the best of 6 or so bottles I’ve had of this over the years. Had some secondary characteristics but yet relatively fresh with several years of great drinking yet. I suppose I was a little surprised that a CDR from '04 would do so well after 6 years.

With nearly a continuous decade of very good to phenomenal vintages, the very good ones tend to be under-appreciated.


I totally agree with you. I really like the 2004 vintage in the Southern Rhône. I also tend to appreciate the 2004 wines from Languedoc for their freshness and balance. I haven’t had many 2004 from Southern Rhône recently, but here are a few notes

  • 2004 Château de Saint-Cosme Gigondas - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Gigondas (2/13/2010)
    This wine was opened too early. Pretty tight with notes of dark chocolate, coffee and wood. There were layers of fruit underneath, but the wine is not very rewarding at this stage. Balance is good, still lots of tannins, but I think there will be sufficient fruit for the wine to come around quite nicely in 2-3 years time. A bit too much oak to my palate, though. Not much change day 2. 88+ (88 pts.)
  • 2004 Domaine des Relagnes Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Cuvée Vigneronne - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (10/2/2009)
    Popped and poured. Quite mature. medium body and finish. A nice wine that is easily forgotten… (89 pts.)
  • 2004 Domaine de Mourchon Côtes du Rhône Villages Séguret Grande Réserve - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône Villages Séguret (8/3/2009)
    Very nice, a dense and concentrated effort. Sweet, ripe tannins. A touch of heat on the palate. 89-90 (89 pts.)
  • 2004 Domaine du Banneret Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (7/3/2009)
    Lot of herbs on the nose, and as such it reminded me of a wine from Pic St. Loup rather than from ch9. Pretty rustic and enjoyable. Balanced palate dominated by classic notes of Grenache from sandy fields. We liked it! (91 pts.)

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