"Fully blended and about to be bottled, the 2010 Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde is more serious, with obvious structure and density. Fabulously perfumed, with violets, black pepper, bacon fat, coffee bean and striking minerality, this medium to full-bodied effort is concentrated, layered and brilliantly focused, with fine tannin lending edge and cut through the finish. Give it another 3-4 years in the cellar and enjoy it through 2030.
One of the highlight tastings during my more than two weeks spent working in the Northern Rhone, this set of releases by the father/son pair, Marcel and Philippe Guigal, is about as stacked a lineup as you’ll find anywhere in the world. From their tiny production Cote Roties, to the massive production level Cotes du Rhone (red and white), the quality here is impeccable, as is the attention to detail at every step of the winemaking process. Looking at the vintages reviewed here, reds first, their 2009s are some of the most bombastic, decadent and thrilling wines out there. While they have the over the top richness that allows them to dish out plenty of pleasure even now, they need 4-5 years to integrate their oak and to fully flesh out. Count yourself lucky if you have a few of these hidden in the cellar. More classic in style across the board, the 2010s are more focused and straight, yet similarly concentrated, if not with additional density. They will take slightly longer to come around compared to the 2009s, and certainly offer a more textbook drinking experience. They, too, are at the top of the wine hierarchy. The 2011s show the vintage nicely with slightly more approachable profiles, sweet tannin and brilliant concentration, especially in the vintage. They still have another year in barrel to go, but will certainly be among the top wines of the vintage, have broad drink windows, and should come close to what was achieved in 2009 and 2010, albeit in a different style. Lastly, the 2012s should, in my mind, surpass the 2011s, as they have a smidge more overall density, as well as fabulous purity. Neither the 2011s nor 2012s have the density of the 2010s, nor the sheer wealth of material that’s found in the 2009s. Nevertheless, time will tell, and these wines won’t be bottled for some time yet. Looking at the whites, 2011 and 2012 are similar in quality. Both vintages have beautiful purity, good overall acidity and good concentration, i.e., lots to like. Whether or not we’ll see a 2012 Ermitage Ex-Voto Blanc (which was not produced in 2011) remains to be seen, but what I tasted was certainly promising, if not earth-shattering (as was the 2010!). Looking at the Chateau d’Ampuis releases, this cuvee is a blend of vineyards (La Garde, Le Clos, Grande-Plantee, Pommiere, Pavillon, Le Moulin and La Viria lieux-dits) and sees upwards of 38 months in 100% new French oak." (WA)
"Bright purple. A highly fragrant bouquet evokes red fruit liqueur, violet, incense and smoky bacon, with a zesty mineral overtone. Taut and sharply focused on entry, then fleshier in the mid-palate, offering pliant raspberry, cherry and floral pastille flavors and a tangy hint of blood orange. Finishes spicy and precise, with slow-building tannins and excellent clarity and cut. This was only recently bottled and while it's pretty tight right now it looks very promising." (VM)