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Sunday, June 29, 2008

A few reds from Chapoutier, '05s for the cellar and a noble Pavillon

2005 Cote Rotie Les Becasses
Again, monocepage dictates that no Viognier is added to the Cote Rotie at Chapoutier, and the nose of this ’05 follows in noble suit with perfumes of violet, black currant, smoked meat juices, spice box and tar. In the mouth, the wine is wound tight as a drum, locked down in a sinewy structure that flexes obvious tannin, yet demonstrates the subtle polish one expects to find in fine Cote Rotie. The finish unwinds a bit, letting a buried hint of iron sing. This ‘barrel sample-like’ ’05 is going to demand quite a bit of patience and I wouldn’t touch another bottle until at least 2013, 91+ points.

2005 Hermitage Sizeranne
Another massive, grip-laced ’05 from Chapoutier that sports smoky loam, warm ganache, blueberry, bramble and pepper notes that foreshadow an immensely taut body. The wine is currently slathered in backbone a la a Bordeaux ‘vin de garde,’ as layers of muscle slowly unfold in the mouth w/ vigorous swirling and aeration. In spite of the frankly high tannin, things come together nicely on the finish, as a waterfall of purple fruits and beef blood punctuate the package. Like the Cote Rotie, this requires a multitude of patience, best after 2017, 93+ points.

2004 Ermitage Le Pavillon
One of Chapoutier’s top cuvees, Le Pavillon comes from compact granite soils and is supremely situated on the Hermitage hill. In spite of the astronomically high yields of ’04, this red is surprisingly beefy and more compact than I imagined it would be. Deep, rich dark cherry, crème de cassis, smoke, tree bark, toasted brioche and grilled steak notes are fairly locked down in the mouth, yet coiled, poised and waiting to explode. The finish shows terrific focus and class, pumping out textbook minerality in spades. Don’t treat this ’04 ligthly, as aggressive decanting is mandatory for near-term consumption, 93 points.


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