The first of the two screw-caps, the Cotes du Rhone Rose ’07:
An inviting blind of Grenache and Bourboulenc, Charvin’s ’07 rose is a bracincg effort full of fresh, crisp fruits. Characteristics of citrus blossoms and bright strawberry flavors emerge amidst the wine’s moderately dense, focused and finely textured rendition of Cotes du Rhone rose, 86 points.
Vine de Pays
This ‘Sideways Southern Rhone’ bottling demonstrates how Laurent Charvin can make very good wine, even if he decides to not take himself entirely seriously. A 50/50 blend of Grenache and Merlot (yes, Merlot) is a bit of an whimsical wine, using such a lofty proportion of a grape variety which Laurent doesn’t care for, but delivers a bit more than expected. There is a sound harmony between the chocolate coated plum flavors from the Merlot that marry well, if atypically, w/ the briary laced berry tones of the Grenache fruit. Not entirely provocative, but well balanced and delicious, 85 points.
Cotes du Rhone, 2006
The secret seems to be out amongst die hard Charvin fans that his Cotes du Rhone bottlings are not only consistent, but excellent values that provide a glimpse into the Provencal beauties the Domaine fashions from Chateauneuf. Textbook in its array of rugged, yet silky textured blackberry, graphite and plum fruit flavors that glide along to the nicely linger finish, thanks the wine’s crunchy acidity that reels in the focus, 87+ points.
Chateauneuf du Pape, 2005
My third taste of this wine confirms my initial impressions that it’s a step up from the ’04, but lags a bit behind in quality compared to the outstanding ’03 and ’01 (much less how gorgeous the ’06 and ’07 appear to be). An effusive perfume of dark fig, forest floor, strawberry sauce and licorice notes emerge from the glass in classic, Burgundian fashion. The wine demonstrates terrific elegance in the mouth, with svelte, silky tannins that pump out bright red fruit flavors, with an imbedded minerality checking in on the finish, 93 points.
Chateauneuf du Pape, 2006
This vintage seems to have played right into the hands of Laurent’s Northern, sandy soil terroir and looks to trump the ’05 in terms of vibrancy, freshness and its spectacular length. While still in barrel (I believe this is slated to be bottled very shortly), there is no denying the purity of fruit and I plan to purchase this in volume (which isn’t something I’ve felt regularly w/ this vintage), 93-95 points.
Chateauneuf du pape, 2007
It has become a bit of a broken record, but this barrel sample was absolutely out of this world! This was simply seethed in terms of its complexity, power and uncanny depth that gush from the glass. Yet another tour de force of the vintage that offers tremendous opulence, providing the bass to its ’06 sibling’s tenor, delivering hedonism in spades, 95-97 points.
*Another barrel sample that showed fabulously was the ’07 Cotes du Rhone Grenache. It’s currently isolated in tank and Laurent is contemplating whether or not he should bottle it as a pure Grenache or blend it. I’m rooting for the former…