Remizières Cuvée Christophe 1999 and Charbonnière Vieilles Vignes 2001 – two Rhônes

Two Rhône wines recently tasted at separate occasions. Recent purchase from a Belgian wine dealer.

Cuvée Christophe Crozes-Hermitage 1999, Domaine des Remizières
100% Syrah, high percentage of new oak (today 70%).
Nose developed with barnyard aromas and an impression of sweetness, red and dark berries. The aroma is large and pleasant, not unlike a Right bank Bordeaux minus the herbaceousness; a mature Hermitage would have nothing to be ashamed of if this was its nose. On the palate a little more than medium weight, with blackberries and red berries, noticeable acidity, slight pepperiness, soft tannins and some barrel notes. Very good, fine maturity, has probably reached its peak (given the rather soft tannins) but should keep at this level for some more years. 90-91 p?

1999 is a very good Northern Rhône vintage. This wine received 91 p from Parker (2002), who thinks we should drink it 2002-2015. It got ** from Livingstone-Learmonth, who thinks that this producer is generally the source of good value wines that respond well to cellaring, but who in his 2005 book criticises an increased use of new oak over the 1990s, and the division into additional cuvées. Cuvée Christophe was earlier (and 1999 probably still) the top cuvée out of three Crozes-Hermitages in Remizière range, and sourced from the oldest vines, but today they produce no less than five different red Crozes! 70% new oak is rather much for a Crozes, also for a high-class wine, but at its current maturity I did not at all consider it overoaked. It should be noted that the producer writes ”can be kept up to 7-10 years” about this cuvée. I tried it at 11 and would without doubt cellar it until 15 in this vintage. But that’s me. The price € 18 (2010) must be considered an excellent value.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 2001, Domaine de la Charbonnière
95% Grenache, 5% Mourvèdre, mixture of small and large barrels.
On the nose somewhat developed, rather discrete aromas with some barnyard aromas and a whiff of volatile acidity, somewhat floral and aromatic with balsamic notes. On the palate a little more than medium weight, good acidity, dark berries, some spice and a slight alcoholic bite. In the more elegant and aromatic part of the Châteauneuf spectrum, no obvious barrel notes, has developed but not yet reached full maturity, and could handle many more years of cellaring. 90 p?

2001 is a very good Southern Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape vintage. The proportion of Mourvèdre in this cuvée is apparently rather variable between vintages (30% in 2005) and the Grenache component is today said to be sourced from 80-100 year old vines in La Crau, where also many of the appellation’s iconic names have vines. This wine was rated 92 p by Parker (2004 and he incidentally compared it to Sophie Marceau, in case you’re able to make something out of that piece of information), and recommends us to drink it 2004-2019. At € 27,50 (2010) is a good value.

The Swedish version of this post can be found here.

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