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Ogier Gigondas Oratorio 2012 (750 ml) Pierre Amadieu Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Paillousse 2014 (750 ml) Domaine les Girard du Boucou Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone 2011 (750 ml)
WE 92

This wine manages to capture the essence of the southern Rhône in its fine scents of garrigue and sun-baked cherries. Despite a certain warmth, it remains fresh, supple and detailed, offering intricate nuances of licorice, sage and thyme on the long finish.

- Joe Czerwinski, Wine Enthusiast (Dec, 2013)
WS 89

Solidly built, with a frame of chestnut and tobacco leaf notes around a core of lightly dried cherry and plum fruit flavors, giving way to sandalwood and garrigue accents through the finish. Best from 2017 through 2022.

- James Moleworth, Wine Spectator (2016)
WA 88

The 2011 is a sleeper of the vintage, a delicious wine with loads of complex floral notes intermixed with new saddle leather, unsmoked cigar tobacco, licorice and plenty of black currants and cherries. It has real intensity, medium to full body, and is certainly an over-performer for the vintage. The front-end loaded characteristics of the 2011 also make this wine a juicy proposition for drinking over the next 7-8 years.

- Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (Oct, 2012)
Eric et Joel Durand Cornas Empreintes 2014 (750 ml) Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Girard 2011 (750 ml) Le Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2011 (750 ml)
WS 93, WA 91

Ripe and tightly focused, with racy cassis, blackberry and plum fruit that stretches out through a lengthy, mineral-driven finish. Mouthwatering bay and rosemary accents streak through, giving this great cut. Best from 2018 through 2029.

- James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (Oct, 2016)
WS 91, IWC 91

A ripe, fleshy style, with plum sauce, blackberry paste and raspberry ganache notes that stay driven and fresh, thanks to a racy graphite spine and a lingering black licorice accent. Very solid. Drink now through 2021.

- James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (July, 2014)
IWC 93, WA 91, WS 91

Looking at the reds and perfumed and beautifully Provencal, the 2011 Chateauneuf-du-Pape has rocking aromatics of kirsch liqueur, lavender, garrigue, licorice and saddle leather to go with a medium-bodied, supple and nicely textured profile. I-d like to see more mid-palate here, but this is all about up-front fruit. Filling in nicely with air (tasted twice from multiple bottles), it should be enjoyed over the coming 7-8 years. Drink now-2021.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (Oct 2013)
Delas Freres Chateauneuf-du-Pape Haute Pierre 2011 (750 ml) Paul Autard Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee la Cote Ronde 2009 (750 ml) Les Vins de Vienne Condrieu La Chambee 2015 (750 ml)
WE 91

If it’s possible for a Châteauneuf-du-Pape to have Burgundian style, this would be a candidate. The cherries are delicate and herbal, with crisp acids and silky tannins that provide a wiry, peppery framework for the elegant fruit. Drink now–2020.

- Joe Czerwinski, Wine Enthusiast (Feb, 2015)
WS 93, WA 93, IWC 92

Autard’s quasi-modern-styled offering is the dense plum/purple-colored 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee La Cote Ronde, a blend of equal parts Grenache and Syrah from relatively old vines (60 plus years) that sees some new oak barrels. However, the 2009 shows only subtle evidence of vanillin and toast. It is a seductive, full-bodied, opulent effort displaying notes of caramelized red and black fruits, herbs, licorice and a hint of ink. This full-bodied, rich 2009 is ideal for drinking over the next 12+ years.

- Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (Oct, 2011)
WS 95

Exotic and layered, with a dense core of peach, mango, quince and nectarine notes that pump through, offset nicely on the finish by singed almond and fresh fennel accents. Shows great energy throughout. Drink now through 2020.

- James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (Dec, 2016)
Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf du Pape 2008 (750 ml) E. Guigal Condrieu, Rhone 2015 (750 ml) E. Guigal Hermitage Blanc, Rhone 2012 (750 ml)
WS 93, IWC 91

This is rock-solid, with crushed raspberry, kirsch, juniper and smoked apple wood notes, backed by a broad, plush, spice- and anise-filled finish. Nicely rounded and integrated for the vintage. Drink now through 2021.

- James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (Oct, 2010)
WS 95, JS 94

Peach and apricot-pie character that's very showy and very much within the sweet-pastry spectrum. There's also some spicy appeal to complement notes of cumquat rind. Pithy and focused. The palate has an exotic, tropical thread of mangoes, peaches and cantaloupe melon. Very hedonistic and regal — full of fat and very convincing viognier. A great vintage. Drink young whilst exuberant!

- James Suckling (Oct, 2016)
WA 94

Showing similar to last year, the 2012 Hermitage Blanc (which doesn’t include the grapes that went into the Ex Voto) is a fabulous white that gives up classical notes of acacia flowers, buttered citrus, wood smoke and crushed rock. Medium to full-bodied, rich, textured and layered, it will have another decade of thrilling drinking.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2015)
Delas Freres La Galopine Condrieu 2014 (750 ml) E. Guigal Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde de Guigal, Rhone 2013 (750 ml) E. Guigal Hermitage, Rhone 2013 (750 ml)
WA 93

Moving to the 2014 whites, these all show the more elegant, streamlined style of the vintage, yet also pack plenty of fruit and texture. Fresh, lively, juicy and incredibly pure, with fabulous notes of tangerines, white flowers and orange blossom, the 2014 Condrieu La Galopine is medium-bodied, perfectly balanced and focused on the palate. This is about as classic as they come and strikes a perfect balance between freshness and richness.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2016)
WS 92, WA 91-93

Especially for the vintage, this is chock-full of lightly mulled plum, black currant and raspberry fruit laced liberally with singed alder and juniper threads. Lots of smoldering tobacco and dark tea notes through the finish, with a sanguine element as well. Best from 2019 through 2028.

- James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (2017)
WA 90

Guigal’s 2013 Hermitage is a solid effort in a tough year. It’s medium to full-bodied, not that concentrated or rich but boasts attractive notes of leather, cedar and cherry. It should be consumed over the next decade or so.

- Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2017)
Chene Bleu Abelard, IGP Vaucluse 2009 (750 ml) E. Guigal Chateau d'Ampuis Cote Rotie 2011 (750 ml) E. Guigal Chateau d'Ampuis Cote Rotie 2013 (750 ml)
WA 95

Much more southern Rhone-like in style, the 2009 Abelard is a blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah that spent 18 months in barrel. Big, ripe, layered and hedonistic, with tons of sweet Grenache blackberry and black cherry fruits, melted licorice and roasted herb aromas and flavors, this sensational Grenache has full-bodied richness, polished, sweet tannin, no hard edges and a great finish. While 2009 delivers lots of perfumed, upfront and slightly rustic wines due to the heat, this is silky, polished and incredibly pure. Drink this killer 2009 over the coming 7-8 y

- Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (March, 2016)
WA 95-96, WS 95

A wine that will be in bottle by the time you read this, the 2012 Cote Rotie Chateau d’Ampuis (it always incorporates 7% Viognier) will check in behind the sensational 2009 and 2010, but should be on par with the 2005 and 2003. Cassis, licorice, smoked meats, graphite and peppery spice all emerge from this beautifully concentrated, full-bodied, seamless Cote Rotie that has building, ripe tannin, terrific purity and a blockbuster finish. It will have 20-25 years of longevity.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2015)
WS 95, WA 94+

Tasted as a final blend and scheduled to be bottled just after my visit, the 2013 Côte Rôtie Chateau d’Ampuis is a smokin’ good wine in the vintage. Deep, concentrated and structured, with classic and masculine notes of graphite, smoked black fruits and crushed rocks, this full-bodied beauty has bright acidity, ripe tannin and beautiful length. It needs 7-8 years of cellaring to hit maturity and will have two to three decades of overall longevity.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2016)
Domaine Jamet Cote Rotie, Rhone 2014 (750 ml) Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau 2013 (1.5 Liter) Delas Freres Hermitage Les Bessards 2013 (750 ml)
V 93-95, WA 92

The 2014 Côte Rôtie is elegant, medium-bodied, seamless and already thoroughly enjoyable, with lots of raspberry and blackberry fruit, bouquet garni, pepper, and violet aromas and flavors. It will be interesting to see if this wine closes down with a year or two in bottle, but I suspect it will drink nicely for 15 years or so.

Jean-Paul and Corinne Jamet continue to fashion a staunchly traditional Côte Rôtie that’s not destemmed and is aged in a tiny amount of new oak. They also make an impressive Côtes du Rhône (red and white) and a new cuvée, their Condrieu Vernillon. Regarding the 2015 vintage, this was compared to 1999 by Jean Paul, which is a vintage he disliked early on and found too over the top. He commented that it came around with cellaring. I have to agree with him, as I love his 1999.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2016)
WS 92

Rather perfumy up front, with savory, mint and incense notes leading the way for silky cherry and raspberry coulis flavors. The finish is lined with subtle tobacco, warm stone and floral hints, ending with a light balsam twinge. This should put on some weight with age. Best from 2017 through 2026.

- James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (Nov, 2015)
WA 94+

Closed, tight and backwards, the 2013 Hermitage les Bessards is a big, full-bodied, burly wine that offers first rate purity in its black raspberry, ozone, liquid rock, and creosote-like bouquet. It has plenty of material and density, but will need 7-8 years of bottle age to become approachable. As normal, it comes all from the “Bas de Coteau” portion of the Bessards lieu-dit, was completely destemmed and saw 18 months in 30% new French oak.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2015)
Chateau la Nerthe Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee des Cadettes 2012 (750 ml) E. Guigal Ermitage Ex-Voto Blanc, Rhone 2013 (750 ml) Delas Freres Cote-Rotie La Landonne 2014 (750 ml)
WS 93, WA 92

Rather ripe, with alluring warmed raspberry coulis, plum sauce and blackberry paste flavors, threaded with a licorice snap note and backed by warm ganache and Turkish coffee accents. Not shy in style, but has the freshness to stay balanced. Best from 2017 through 2024.

- James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (Sept, 2015)
WS 97, WA 97

Ripe and enticing, with lemon curd, apricot gelée and nectarine flavors bursting forth, backed by light citrus oil, blanched almond and salted butter notes. Shows a flash of green tea through the finish. Exotic in range, refined and detailed in feel. Drink now through 2027.

- James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (Oct, 2017)

WA 94

Both of the Côte Rôtie releases are excellent wines. One of the most structured wines in the vintage, the 2014 Côte Rôtie La Landonne (100% Syrah aged in 40% new barrels) gives up terrific notes of black raspberry, cassis, toasted spice, graphite and crushed rocks. Possessing full-bodied richness and a concentrated and beautifully-textured style, with building tannin, it should be given 3-4 years of cellaring and enjoyed over the following 10-15 years.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2016)
M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Meal Blanc, Rhone 2014 (750 ml) M. Chapoutier Cote Rotie La Mordoree 2012 (1.5 Liter) E. Guigal Ermitage Ex-Voto, Rhone 2013 (750 ml)
WA 97, WS 95, V 93-95

Similar in style to the hedonistically-styled Cuvee de l’Orée (especially when compared to the structured, mineral-laced l’Ermite), the 2014 Ermitage le Méal Blanc (aged in 10% new demi-muids) offers layers of celery seed, brioche, caramelized pineapple and citrus oil on the nose. Thick, rich, voluptuous and full bodied with a massive finish, drink this sensational white anytime over the coming two to three decades.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2015)
WA 96, WS 96

While I loved Michel's 2012 Cote Rotie la Mordoree from barrel, it blew me away from bottle, and I think bares more than a passing resemblance to his 1991. About as elegant and seamless as they come, it exhibits incredible notes of violets, peppery spice, spring flowers, rose petal and darker berry fruit. This is followed by a full-bodied, sweetly fruited, expansive Cote Rotie that's perfectly balanced, has beautiful mid-palate density, and ultra-fine tannin that emerge on the finish. It's a blockbuster effort to drink over the coming two decades.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2014)
WS 97, WA 94-97

This is intense, as dense ganache, espresso, roasted juniper and alder notes form an impressive frame around an equally ornate core of steeped fig, blackberry and black currant fruit flavors, all while maintaining terrific cut and drive despite the heft. A mouthwatering iron accent at the very end seals the deal. Best from 2020 through 2040. 30 cases imported.

- James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (Oct, 2017)

M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Pavillon, Rhone 2014 (750 ml) Delas Freres Hermitage Les Bessards 2013 (1.5 Liter) Delas Freres Cote-Rotie La Landonne 2013 (1.5 Liter)
WA 96, WS 95, V 94-96

The 2014 Ermitage le Pavillon is another wine from this team that defies the vintage. Full-bodied, concentrated, impeccably balanced and seamless, with classic notes of crushed rocks, graphite, cassis and blackcurrants, it hits the palate with no hard edges, has a great mid-palate and possesses sweet tannin. Michel commented that this wine reminded him of the 1982, and while it offers pleasure even today, it won’t hit maturity for another decade.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2016)
WA 94+, WS 93

Dense and fleshy in feel, with twinges of espresso and baker's chocolate running amid the core of dark plum, steeped currant and blackberry compote. The finish has a dark tobacco note lurking. This will need some time to settle in. Best from 2017 through 2024. 65 cases imported.

- James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (Feb, 2016)
WA 94+, WS 93

Very solid, with a loamy edge that melds slowly into the core of steeped plum and blackberry fruit, while smoldering alder, bay leaf and dark olive notes flitter throughout. Cellar for maximum effect. Best from 2018 through 2024. 35 cases imported.

- James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (Feb, 2016)
M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Pavillon, Rhone 2013 (1.5 Liter)
WA 98+, WS 96, V 96

The star of the show in 2013 is the 2013 Ermitage le Pavillon. Coming from the west and eastern edges of the Bessards lieu-dit and aged in 30% new French oak, its sensational black/blue color is followed by the awesome bouquet of cassis, smoked earth, graphite and caramelized meats that could come from no other terroir in the world. Full-bodied, massive, dense, sexy and with a liquid rock-like character that comes out with time in the glass, it has sweet tannin and a blockbuster finish that keeps you coming back to the glass. It needs 5-6 years of cellaring and will have 30-40 years of more of ultimate longevity.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2015)