White Rhône Tasting Notes

2010 Paul Jaboulet Chateauneuf du Pape Les Cedres 13.5%

80% Grenache, 20% Clairette

Rather tight on the nose with some dusty pollen notes and vague, meadow-like herb and grass tones, with hints of lanolin and coconut husk. On the palate this is quite well balanced, focused and tight with a fine acid spine and slow to emerge but layered flavors of flowers, sage, lemongrass and bitter apple fruit. The finish adds in some minerality and more herbal tones like green tea, unripe peach and a little anise seed on the finale. Good length, fine balance. I can see this improving in the bottle.  90pts

2009 Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf du Pape 13.5%

40% Grenache Blanc, 40% Roussanne, 10% Clairette, 10% Bourboulenc

Dense on the nose with notes of lemon custard and lightly roasted orchard fruits enlivened by a grassy edge, some subtle hints of spice and a touch of gravel. Almost sweet on entry,  this is fairly full bodied and very broad in the mouth. It’s a soft, slightly languid style of wine, but well done in its style. Lots of flavor here: apples, citrus pith, some sweet apricot glaze, patisserie tones and a little butteriness on the back end. The finish is a touch lean, of decent length and offering a clean, zesty compliment to the fruit of the palate. Not my style but very well done. 90pts

2009 d’Arenberg The Hermit Crab Viognier (72%) Marsanne (28%) 13%

Very floral on the nose with notes of lilac and jasmine topping apricot fruit, cut through by minerality. Lovely entry with a nice vein of acid leading the way, only to be wrapped up in light, round fruit on the mid-palate. There’s a nice nectarine, apricot quality to the fruit, which is not terribly ripe but fresh and bright with more floral/herbal notes on the back end. Leads to a fairly long finish replete with hints of honey and a fine, subtle raw nutmeat note and some mineral spice on the finale. 89pts

2009 Donelan Venus Sonoma County 12.3%

90% Roussanne, 10% Viognier

Lovely and fragrant on the nose with smoky, almost flinty notes early on, joined by funky, sweet vegetal tones, some honeycomb, raw almonds and cider apple notes. Small on entry, this is pretty well focused with a tight core of honeyed, raw nut, cashew like flavors wrapped in a gauzy, soft lime cream. Not intense but very detailed on the palate. The finish is a bit more expressive, bright with mineral cut and long with a dry spice, honeycomb like quality. This has lovely tension. Time might be very kind here, as would be the right food. 89pts

2010 Chateau d’Aqueria Lirac Blanc 13.5%

40% Grenache Blanc, 25% Bourboulenc, 16% Clairette, 12% Roussanne, 7% Viognier

This is fairly explosively floral on the nose with peach and walnut accents. Very smooth and seamless on the palate, this carries the floral notes on of the nose and drops them into a rather rich core of bitter apple fruit. There’s an edge of waxiness here which adds some textural interest and weight to the palate, but the finish turns lean and rather abrupt. Easy drinking with decent complexity. 88pts

2008 Shoofly The Freckle Australia 13.5%

40% Marsanne, 37% Roussanne, 23% Viognier

A bit smoky, dense and honeyed on the nose with very citron/citrus aromas and a nice, candied peach back note over some fine apple fruit. This shows nice energy on the palate with ripe apple fruit touched with honey flavors, but retains great cut. This is a touch simple, though it does pick up pollen and herb notes on the back end before finishing with a wonderful mineral wash and pretty good length. This is distinctive and eminently drinkable. 88pts

2008 Derby Wine Estates Fifteen 10 Paso Robles 14.1%

51% Viognier, 29% Roussanne, 20% Marsanne

Mineral, dusty soil tones on the nose are joined by some fine apple and orange marmalade tones, all imbued with a certain meatiness. Round and lush on entry, this is large scaled in the mouth but lacks a bit of a center. The flavors are bright and crisp with apple peel and mineral notes accented with a hint of spearmint that appears on the modest finish as well. Rather elegant in a way, this has an appealing mouth feel with flavors that are somewhat subtle.  87pts

2010 Perrin Reserve Cotes du Rhone Blanc 13%

50 Grenache Blanc, 20% Bourboulenc, 10% Marsanne, 10% Roussanne, 10% Viognier

Apple, a little apple butter and bitter almond notes greet the nose with a vaguely cinnamon/allspice top note. This is quite fruity in the mouth and perhaps a touch sweet. Very smooth and soft, this is an easy wine to drink and its ripe apple, pear and fennel flavors are attractive and well balanced. Bright and juicy, this gains good focus on the moderately long finish. A bit simple and easy but attractive. 87pts

2010 Goats do Roam White South Africa 14%

68% Viognier, 17 Roussanne, 15% Grenache Blanc

A little green around the edges on the nose with some quince fruit and dusty herbal top notes. Rather small in the mouth with more quince fruit with some decent depth to it as well. This is very front loaded with sweet jujube fruit accented by a touch of toasted sweet nutmeat and some autumnal leafy inner mouth perfumes. The finish is rather bright, almost assertively so, with a touch of sweet orchard fruit and a hint of something nut shell/minerally, though it does show a bit of heat. 84pts

2010 Paul Jaboulet Aine Parallele 45 Cotes du Rhone Blanc 13%

50% Grenache Blanc, 20% Marsanne, 20% Viognier, 10% Bourboulenc

A bit of mealy apple on the nose along with dried lemon zest and some nice almost lilac floral tones. Very smooth in the mouth and frankly soft, this is rich and mouth-filling but does lack any sense of definition. Some nice flavors of apple, orange and fennel fronds float around on the palate before disappearing on the short, slight fennel flavored finish.  80pts

See the list here!