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V 91-93, WA 90

Strawberries, raspberries, flowers and mint all emerge from the medium-bodied 2014 Gigondas les Souteyrades, and this beautiful, forward 2014 has no hard edges, tons of charm, fine tannin and a good finish. It plays in the style of the vintage and is an early drinker, but it has loads to love.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2016)
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 89

A more rounded, complete wine is the 2014 Châteauneuf du Pape Domaine Du Père Pape (60% Grenache, 25% Syrah and the rest Mourvèdre and Cinsault). It is expansive and layered, with medium-bodied notes of black cherries, licorice and hints of roasted herbs. Drink this supple, elegant Châteauneuf du Pape through 2023.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (Oct, 2016)
WA 90

Offering up lovely notes of framboise, wild strawberries, candied violets and licorice, the 2014 Chateauneuf du Pape is medium-bodied, forward and elegant, with sweet tannin and a clean finish.

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

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)
WA 95

About as polished and elegant as they come from the appellation, Michel’s 2012 Cornas offers rocking crème de cassis, raspberry, spice, toasted bread and licorice to go with an elegant, medium to full-bodied profile. Possessing no hard edges and slightly hidden, sweet tannin, this is an awesome wine that will have 15+ years of sexy drinking.

Johann Michel continues to produce brilliant wines from the steep, granite infused slopes of Cornas. Both his 2012s, which I raved about last year, and his 2013s are some of the most successful in appellation.


- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (Dec, 2014)
WA 90

Looking first at his whites, the 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc is an outstanding, medium-bodied, refreshing and classic white that would be a terrific case purchase for Southern Rhône white lovers. Made from 40% Clairette and 30% each of Grenache Blanc and Roussanne, aged in a mix of new and old barrels, and stainless steel, it gives up notes of citrus blossom, honeysuckle, white flowers and maybe a touch of white peach in a balanced, layered, fresh and rich package. Drink it anytime over the coming decade or more.

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

A terrific white that delivers on all accounts, Brunel’s 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc is a Roussanne-dominated blend that includes 20% Grenache Blanc. It comes all from the southern part of the appellation, in the lieu-dit of Les Serres. Aged in concrete tanks, it has a ripe, rounded, beautifully textured style to go with lots of ripe peach and tropical fruit aromas and flavors. I love its texture and it has first rate purity, as well. This is a classic Châteauneuf du Pape white that will shine on the dinner table over the coming 2-4 years.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (Oct, 2016)
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, 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)
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)
WA 94

The 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvee Chaupin, which I was able to taste (and drink) from multiple bottles, is a beautiful Grenache that comes from the cooler, northeastern edge of the appellation. Coming almost all from the Chapouin lieu-dit (it gets a small bit from La Janasse), it gives up the classic notes of black berries, spring flowers, violets, and licorice that I always seem to find in this cuvee. Building nicely on the palate, it is medium to full-bodied, beautifully textured, has tons of sweet fruit and solid, if not firm, tannin that come out on the finish. It will be better in another couple of years and have 15+ years of overall longevity.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Spectator (Oct, 2014)
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)
WA 91, IWC 91

The 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Barberini is virtually two-thirds tank-aged Grenache with the balance Syrah and a little (about 10%) Mourvedre, the latter aged in small oak barrels. It exhibits a dense ruby/purple color and a more modern style than the traditional cuvee or the 100% Grenache cuvee Cornelia Constanza reviewed below. Despite its so-called -modern leanings,- which some people deplore, this is a beauty. Dense purple, with elegant blueberry and blackberry fruit as well as hints of garrigue, vanillin and spice box, it is dense, full-bodied, yet wonderfully precise and fresh, given the vintage's liveliness and vibrancy. In light of some noticeable tannins, give it 2-3 years of cellaring and drink it over the following 15-20+ years.

One of the most significant estates in Chateauneuf du Pape and one of the earliest to estate-bottle, the Lancon family has been producing these wines for many, many decades. They have 75 acres, with most of it situated in the widely renowned rocky plateau in the eastern part of the sector know as La Crau, the hottest, earliest-maturing sector of the appellation. The Lancons don't believe in showing barrel or tank samples, so everything I tasted was already in bottle, and no 2011 reds were tasted. The 2010 vintage is another strong one for them, keeping their track record of hitting home runs for much of the last decade intact.


- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (Oct, 2012)
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)
V 92-94

Youthful violet. Vibrant, spice- and mineral-laced black and blue fruit scents show excellent focus and pick up suggestions of cola and violet with air. Sappy, concentrated and pure, offering juicy blueberry and boysenberry flavors firmed by a spine of tangy acidity. Blends power and vivacity with a deft hand and finishes very long and minerally, with supple tannins building steadily and in harmony with the wine's fruit. All of the fruit from Rostaing's Côte Blonde and La Landonne holdings are in this bottling this vintage.

- Josh Raynolds, Vinous
WS 92

Silky in feel and very long, with lovely raspberry and boysenberry coulis flavors that glide through, flecked with anise, rooibos tea and well-roasted sandalwood notes. The long finish lets everything drape gracefully. Very suave. Drink now through 2027.

- James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (Web, 2016)
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)
WS 94, WA 91-93

Solid, with an alluring core of lightly steeped plum, anise, blackberry and boysenberry flavors that rolls through, picking up dark tea and warm fruitcake hints along the way. Shows a light echo of apple wood on the finish. Drink now through 2027.

- James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (Sept, 2017)

WA 99

Easily one of the greatest Condrieu I’ve ever tasted is the 2015 Condrieu La Doriane. A wine that needs to be tasted to be believed, it possesses a huge nose of toasted brioche, liquid rocks, apricot, flower oil and salty minerality. Unctuous, full-bodied, massively rich, yet also elegant and graceful, with beautiful freshness, enjoy this tour de force over the coming 5-6 years.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (Dec, 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)
WA 93, WE 93

The 2013 Châteauneuf du Pape is a beauty and has a rare level of concentration and depth in the vintage. Blueberry, crushed flowers, pepper, and violet aromas and flavors flow nicely to a medium to full-bodied, structured and tannic Beaucastel that has impressive purity and plenty of length. It’s not massive, but still needs 4-5 years of cellaring and will keep for a decade after that.

- Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate (Oct, 2015)
WA 95, WS 93

As one might expect, the 2010 Clos de Beauvenir blanc is luxurious, with super-intense fruit, a full-bodied, multi-dimensional mouthfeel with hints of dried apricot, honeysuckle, peach jam, rose water and a touch of almond paste all present in this lavishly rich, expansive and full-throttle dry white. Drink it over the next 10+ years, as it is nearly impossible to predict how these white Rhones age.

Readers should realize that neither the luxury cuvee, the white Chateauneuf du Pape, La Nerthe Clos de Beauvenir, not the sensational top red cuvee called Cuvee des Cadettes were produced in 2011. The seriousness of La Nerthe is evidenced by the introduction of a second wine in order to preserve the integrity and exquisite quality of their top cuvees. Their new red, the Chateauneuf du Pape Les Granieres, is primarily a blend of nearly 50% Grenache and almost equal portions of Mourvedre and Syrah, with a touch of Cinsault, aged largely in old wood foudres, but with some of the Syrah and Mourvedre components in small barrels.

- Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (Oct, 2012)
WA 94, WS 93, V 93-95

On another level, the 2014 Côte Rôtie La Mordorée is a perfumed, incredibly layered and even sexy 2014 that has lots of black raspberry fruits, flowers, potpourri, and spice aromas and flavors. It’s a deeper, richer wine than the Les Bécasses, has solid mid-palate depth and sweet tannin. It will drink well for at least a decade.

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

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)
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)
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)