Wine Talk

Snooth User: Richard Foxall

When should I drink this soon or lay down?

Posted by Richard Foxall, Dec 12, 2010.

I have this syrah, Chante Perdrix Vin de Pays Collines Rhodaniennes, 2008.  I have looked around at CT and googled it but I can't find a good recommendation for a drinking window or even a review that would suggest it was opened too young by some taster, is showing nicely, etc.  It's not an obscure Domaine--they make CdP that is well known.  Bought it at Vintage Berkeley on their recommendation that it was grippy, Northern Rhone styled. Most Northern Rhones like a bit of age, to put it mildly, but we're not talking Cornas or CotRot or Hermitage, but something in the sub-USD20 price range. I am thinking of New Year's Eve but this is still pretty young.  So I am asking anyone with any knowledge of this wine or the region (I am pretty good on my French geography, but cannot place this except somewhere north in the Rhone, and I am not even sure of that): What do you think?  Drink now or wait?


Reply by dmcker, Dec 12, 2010.

How many bottles do you have?

Without doing any research on the wine at all, my gut feel is that it's probably something that'll age better than some of the southern Rhone CdR's based more on grenache, but that it's also not an 'Hermitage', as you point out.

Thus I'd try some now, some in a year, some in a couple of years and learn about the wine for myself. How reliable is CT, anyway? I find myself snorting through my nose at the majority of reviews there, though of course others are useful. The problem really grows when you get to anything obscure where nobody has posted, or only one person with a pretty skanky jumble of notes.

Looks like you get to make the market on this wine. Go for it, dude....

Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 13, 2010.

There's a use of "dude" I embrace.  Sadly, I bought one bottle, pretty young, thinking it would be a "pop and pour," and if I liked it, I would go back.  But it was obviously too young, I thought, when I bought it.  So it's one bottle unless I find more.  My sense is it's young because it's not blended with grenache, hence the request for advice.  This is one thing about wine:  you can buy a lot of one make/vintage and limit the variety you get, but taste how it evolves.  Or you can buy one or two, but good look finding more of that exact vintage/make.  I have neither unlimited space nor the leisure to own and drink cases upon cases of wine.  Sigh.

Okay, let's here from some others, but I am leaning toward waiting at least another couple years.  Any Rhone specialists?


Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Dec 13, 2010.

I think you'd be fine drinking it but I expect it can take a few more years. Some Vin de Pays Collines Rhodaniennes purchased years ago, I'm thinking it was 1998 since it was a split case with some of Ogier's la Rosine (another Vin de Pays Collines Rhodaniennes but one from vines adjacent to Cote Rotie so perhaps an unfair comparison) drank well for several years, maybe until 2005 or so. I still have a few borrles of the La Rosine, which is a shadow of it's formerself yet still quite attractive in an etheral way.


Not sure there's an answer there but I would probably drink it over the next 24 months or so just in case.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 13, 2010.

Thanks for that GDP.  Seems young enough at 2 years to wait a bit, but I'll make sure to note that it shouldn't go too far. I should note that I didn't realize, when I bought it, how young it was--didn't look at the year after getting talked into it.  I might call the wine shop and ask their opinion.  Not one of the ones I frequent the most often.

Reply by erniex, Dec 13, 2010.

Drink! A 20$ vin de pay, on Syrah or otherwise, big producer or not, is not made for ageing. Could be it benefits from first year or so to rest into place, but you wont gain anything by holding it. Can probably survive some years, but wont improve which is why you age wines in the first place.

Rule of thumb -of course with exceptions- is that wines less than 35-40$ is basically made for drinking within first 5 years and rarely improves with age. And definitely not all above that mark is made for ageing either.. 

Reply by dmcker, Dec 14, 2010.

Don't agree, erniex. Plenty of wines out there in the $20-30 range that can benefit from aging, even if not as many as there used to be before many winemakers started focusing more on certain marketing principles. Longevity is more about the grapes and the winemaker than about the price....

Reply by erniex, Dec 14, 2010.

Well, as said, you can find plenty of exceptions no doubt, but two main facts still makes it a fairly consistent benchmark.

1. Some +95% of all wines are bought to be consumed without ageing. This is the prevalent consumer habit thus what most producers are aiming for their wines to deliver on. Ready to drink when it hit the shelfs. And those wines are by definition not overly expensive, since this segment is simply not interested enough to pay a very high premium. And lucky for them, that todays wine making is so advanced that there are bountiful options of very good wines to choose from.

2. The elements in a wine which makes it age worthy comes, for most parts, from procedures and processes which add to the production costs hence also to the retail value. To get to age worthy (not ie. it can be kept, but that it will actually improve by it) you need plenty of all the right elements in the right balance. The grape and the winemaker, as you state, does not give you that insight alone. Pinot from Burgundy from a serious producer for example. He might well have a generic Burgundy in his range made from grapes sourced from various locations within Burgundy. Can be very nice giving good pleasure at affordable cost, but very rarely something for the long haul. Same producer might also have both premier and grand cru offerings at way different pricelevels, and which are made in the more "serious"/cost intensive way which may include green harvesting, hand picking, tough berry selection, long ageing in new Allier wood barrels etc. 

Both good wines from Pinot made by the same good winemaker, but different cost and different ageing capabilities - all for good reason. 

My benchmark price may be wrong, but there is surely a relation between price and the possible ageing capability of a wine. With so many exceptions though... 

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