Wine Talk

Snooth User: Eric Guido

Cotes du Rhone: The good, the bad and the pancake syrup.

Posted by Eric Guido, Jun 15, 2012.

Everywhere I turn, I see people talking about 2010 in the Rhone (both north and south).  Lately, I've been on a mission to taste a lot of these wines and so far I've found some good, some bad and some that really would be better poured over pancakes.  In some cases, I've agreed with some of the wines being pushed by the "wine critic illuminati".  One of those wines, which is great juice, and an awesome value is the 2010 Michel Gassier's Cercius.  At $12 - $13, I challenge you to find a more all-around pleasing wine.  I have seriously not put this in front of a single person that didn't like it.  Is it a 94 point wine--NO!  But it sure is delicious.

With that said, I was hoping that my fellow snoothers could turn me on to some more excellent value wines from the Rhone, and it doesn't have to be Cotes du Rhone.  I showed you mine, now show me yours...

 

Maybe we can build a cooperative Rhone value list.

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Replies

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Reply by dmcker, Jun 15, 2012.

Remember having a similar thread, or chunk of a thread, about the 2007s.  ;-)

Will see if I can find the Cercius in Tokyo. Doubt it's that price, tho.

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Reply by outthere, Jun 15, 2012.

2010 Domaine des Lises Crozes-Hermitage Équinoxe Maxime Graillot

@ $17 I thought it was a steal. Blew through 8 bottles in no time.

 

 

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Reply by JonDerry, Jun 15, 2012.

Garagiste's really pumping up the 2010's, ordered one a couple months ago but don't expect delivery for a while. Actually, saw another new offer this morning. 

Rec's look good, really dig the Equinoxe label FWIW.

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Reply by Eric Guido, Jun 15, 2012.

Outthere, I tried to get the Equinoxe tonight but the only place showing in NYC is sold out, the sale staff gave it another glowing review.  It looks like I need to try this wine.  Thanks for the recommendation.

 

JonDerry, that's why I stopped buying from Garagiste, I got tired of waiting a year for my wine and reading about how everyone else was loving them.  That, and Jon's rhetoric started to get on my nerves a little.  

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Reply by outthere, Jun 15, 2012.

Eric - Benchmark in Napa has 3 cases if you don't mind waiting for it. They are selling it for $17

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Reply by gregt, Jun 15, 2012.

On my nerves and overloaded my BS alert system. I don't want to crap on the guy but he's pushed a lot of real dreck, including most of his "mystery wines".

That said, the 2010s I've had are way better than the 2007s, which I never understood. Sweet, ripe, alcoholic, sweet, extracted, sweet . . .

And I'm really a fan of the "off" vintages, which in warm areas, noted for ripe sweet wines, can sometimes be far better than the others.  I'm planning a tasting for my group in the fall in which we're going to taste one of the "lesser" vintages from Napa, probably 1998 or 2003.

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Reply by Eric Guido, Jun 15, 2012.

outthere - There's a shop in New Jersey that I'm going to call tomorrow, if they don't have it, than I may have to look to benchmark.

 

Greg - I really don't want to cause thread-drift, but let me just say that you and I are on the same page.

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Reply by zufrieden, Jun 16, 2012.

I was thinking of setting a forum post on just this topic as I feel the Rhone has progressed in leaps and bounds over the past 20 years - mostly in the regular CdR and CdR Villages offerings along with wines from adjacent districts such as the Cotes du Ventoux and Lirac.  There are amazing bargains to be had from numerous producers if, as has been pointed out, we do not succumb to hype.  While there are few 94 point wines available in CdR, there are many in the 90 point range at the 20 dollar price point - especially for the 2009-2010 vintages.  I am amazed at the value one can get from these wines - many of which are 80 to 100 per cent Syrah.

I have quite a stack of Rhone wines of all appellations  to go through and will update with comments as my liver permits.  Cheers.

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Reply by gregt, Jun 16, 2012.

Zuf - you're quite right. The CdPs used to fill the role that a lot of CdRs do now - enjoyable, relatively inexpensive, not needing aging, etc.  Then the prices started going up and it seems like for some reason people started thinking that if they're expensive, they must need aging. Now that you're talking about CdP for $100 or more in some cases, I guess you can age them all you want. Makes them seem like they're really worth that money.

But the good thing is the other areas have really stepped up their games. And we've had a few pretty good vintages all in a row. So there's incredible value and still a lot of room for additional players to arrive and/or improve. As I've mentioned before, France is so schizoid - it's the source of some of the most overpriced wine in the world and at the same time, the source of some of the best values. I think Eric got it right - they may not always be the best wines you've ever had, but at their best, some of those $15 wines are really good. I'm not averse to oak either, but I can't help but think that some of the value comes from the fact that they're not buying $1000 barrels.

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Reply by JonDerry, Jun 16, 2012.

Greg,

Very true about France having some of the best values and also most over priced wines. The phenomenon tends to be true in larger producing regions like Tuscany and CA.

Have thought the same about Rhone producers saving money on expensive new oak barrels, too.

Off to the local shoppe...

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Reply by zufrieden, Jun 16, 2012.

I had not given a great deal of thought to the question of new oak barrels, but it may indeed be impacting the pricing in a positive way given that most of these wines taste as though designed for the joys of youthful freshness.  With few exceptions, this rule even seems to apply to some of the more prestigious CdP as kindly pointed out earlier in the thread.  As for the bargains (Loire Valley, Rhone, Cahors, Provence) and anti-bargains (Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne) I think this forum nails down the situation quite well.

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Reply by JonDerry, Jun 17, 2012.

Tried my hand at the Equinoxe today...kind of reminds me of the 2009 Bedrock Syrah Sonoma Coast I still have quite a bit of, though there's more fruit present in the Equinoxe, absolutely ready to drink with very little resistance. In fact, it might go down the hatch a little too easily. Some nice acids, peppery notes, and a slight meatiness to it. Some floral aromatics on the nose. Enjoyed sampling this, though probably not one for me to buy in bulk. May grab another one or two.

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Reply by Terence Pang, Jun 17, 2012.

Got the Saint Cosme 2010 CdR this evening. Talk about good quality for a reasonable price, AUD$19. Their Gigondas are brilliant, they've got a winning game plan for CdR too.

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Reply by outthere, Jun 17, 2012.

In fact, it might go down the hatch a little too easily. 

Ya think? Probably best enjoyed in the Fall or Winter when it's cool out. It would also go well with BBQ. Yeah, it's big, but balanced.

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Reply by zufrieden, Jun 17, 2012.

The Saint Cosme (2010) is indeed a gem and an amazing bargain.  It is better than many hyped Village wines (though excepting your Cosme Gigondas reference which is, I agree, also a worthy buy).  I reviewed the Saint-Cosme recently, and the wine is worth comparing to certain New World expressions of Syrah for much more lucre.

Why? Well, this CdR happens to be 100% Syrah.

Regarding the Equinox (which is a Crozes-Hermitage, and hence from the Northern Rhone and also Syrah-based), I have not come across it in the stock of my favoured wine merchants, but I will seek it out when abroad later this summer. In any event, I'm sure it is not pancake syrup.

Cheers!

 

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Reply by zufrieden, Jun 17, 2012.

Check out le Clos du Caillou (Bouquet des Garrigues) 2009 for another very pleasant surprise.  It may be difficult to find, but you will not be disappointed if you can make a find.  Just tyring the wine now and I am deeply impressed; it is much like a lesser CdP if that is meaningful to any of you...

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Reply by Eric Guido, Jun 17, 2012.

I'm happy to here the Saint Cosme is a good buy.  I passed it up recently out of fear that it would be so-so. Now I see all the praise, I'll give it a whirl.

 

I also have two new Rhones set for tasting this week.  A Gigondas and a Crozes-Hermitage in the $22 range.

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Reply by zufrieden, Jun 17, 2012.

Eric, I am pretty sure you'll find the Saint Cosme in the range you were interested in when you brought up the subject of very good Rhone wines that don't need to break the bank and could be added (if supply could be secured) to the wine list of certain "in the know" restaurants. Anyway, interesting thread.

Also, see if you can pick up the Caillou...that wine is even better (and perhaps more typical in with the Grenache-based fruit) than the more readily available Cosme.

 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 18, 2012.

A couple years ago I tried the St. Cosme "Little James Basket Press" and was less than thrilled. As a result, I've never gone back and tried the Gigondas, but I keep hearing good things about it.

The Equinoxe is bottled by Domaine des Lises under the label Equis ("Bouteille par Equis," down there on the right); they also do a more pricey ($25 ish) St. Joseph that's really good.  I think for N. Rhones they hit the mark for price and quality in the less expensive appellations. 

I'm in agreement with GregT and Eric about a bunch of things, but I won't say anything about Garagiste until I settle my current issues with them.  I will chime in, as I have before, about not understanding the whole 2007 Rhone vintage hype.  I've been drinking 2009 S. Rhones, both CdRs and more specific AOCs, and finding them better than I remember the 2007s.  So far I haven't had a ton of 2010 S. Rhones.

Zuf, that Clos de Caillou, according to some I have spoken to, either comes from vines right next to CdP, literally on the other side of a stone wall, or contains some de-appellated CdP, or both. I've had a couple vintages of it, and it does come off that way.  It's about $15 here in CA.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 18, 2012.

Another thing about Rhones:  We think of CdR as S. Rhone; true for the most part, but there is some territory in the N. that only qualifies as CdR.  Those areas that are otherwise appellated can also opt out and de-app the wine. So, if you see a label that you associate with N. Rhones, like Guigal, on a CdR, it may be all-Syrah.

I've liked the Ventoux wines for a little more character at about the same price as CdR, and my nephew poured a Lirac from Domaine Amido that was about $16 and was one of the memorable wines I've had in the last year or so. I used to find Vacqueyras at prices EG is talking about, but they've been creeping up.  Still, I've got one I'm waiting to try that was sub-$20.

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