Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

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Z. A c s a n
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Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#1 Post by Z. A c s a n » May 23rd, 2013, 4:43 pm

Having followed the Northern Rhone Syrah styles thread started by Kevin Harvey (see: this thread), I found its value somewhat diminished by the hard to ignore, hush-hush-wink-wink undertone created by members afraid of posting the names of their favorite producers and/or specific bottlings, for fear of possibly reducing the available supply of Northern Rhone gold to hoard for themselves. Keeping things to yourself is a personal choice, but all of this "first rule of Fight Club" hinting around and editing after posting is annoying to observe. Thankfully, there is a yin to that selfish yang, in the form of deeply appreciated open dialog from the far less piggish amongst us. [cheers.gif]

I'm one of those that took the value of the great Northern Rhone wines for granted, when the prices were reasonable from almost every producer. In those days, no one bothered much with St.-Joseph and Cornas exploration as Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie were not yet priced out of reach. The world of wine has become a much smaller place since those halcyon days of abundant Northern Rhone Syrah for very little money. While I'm still willing to spring for a taste of Northern Rhone greatness, those bottles are mostly squirreled away and reserved for occasions befitting the lofty price tag those wines now command. Wish this weren't the case, but such is my reality.

Demand exceeding supply creates panicky buyers, as is evidenced by all of the mums-the-word cautioning about any mention of the exceptional St.-Joseph and Cornas producers. No great mystery here, as these appellations are where the laddering down to reasonable values has moved serious wine drinkers, and is in turn driving demand and allowing for ever higher pricing. For some Berserkers, the 'Gonon effect' is a painful reminder of the limited nature of supply side of the equation. My awakening came with the realization that the best Herimtage and Côte-Rôtie wines had moved out of comfortable reach. Good things never remain a secret for long and the only sane response is to consider other options.

Laddering down a bit further to include VDP/IGP wines is one option. There are producers offering Rhone Valley VDP (IGP) wines that capture some of the Syrah goodness that one looks for in Northern Rhone wines. While most are not as nuanced, many are still quite enjoyable. Limiting expectations to what is reasonable for a price point is a given, as is taking advantage of the qualitative trickle down effect of better vintages. For fans on Northern Rhone wines, one place to begin turning over rocks is with the Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes offerings. While more extracted offerings complicate the selection process, the offset is lower price points work to limit the excessive use of oak.

In trying to dredge up a list of wines to kick this off, I now realize that I've never bothered entering a single one of these wines in to CT or taking any sort of formal notes. I buy the occasional bottle or two here and there and simply haven't put much effort in to the process. My bad. While Syrah still seems to remain mostly unloved (in the US) relative to Pinot, Cab or even Grenache, there does seem to be some interest building. I'm hoping increased demand in the US will cause more of the good stuff imported. I've tasted enough solid VDP wines while in Europe to know we're missing out on some gems. A few names to start the conversation:

Michel & Stéphane Ogier Syrah Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes La Rosine
Domaine Yves Cuilleron Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes Signe
Les Vins de Vienne (Cuilleron Gaillard Villard) Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes Heluicum
Domaine Georges Vernay Vin de Pays Fleurs de Mai
Rene Rostaing Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes Les Lézardes
Cave de Tain l'Hermitage Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes
Domaine Faury Syrah Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes
Domaine Jamet Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes
Pierre Gaillard Syrah Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes La Dernière Vigne
Domaine Jasmin Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes Chevaliere
Domaine Stephane Montez Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes
Domaine Durand Syrah
Domaine Garon Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes
Pierre Jean Villa Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes Seyssuel Esprit d'Antan
Domaine Louis Cheze Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes Saxeolum Terrus de Viennae
François Villard Syrah Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes L'Appel des Sereines
Domaine Monier Perreol Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes
Jean-Michel Gerin Syrah Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes La Champine
Charles Helfenbein Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes La Syrah.
Paul Esteve Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes
Maison Nicolas Perrin Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes
Domaine Barou Syrah Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes
Either way, it sounds like Z e e

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Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#2 Post by rachel mcdonald » May 23rd, 2013, 5:14 pm

I have to admit, I've never really heard of Collines Rhodaniennes, but it seems like I need to pay attention to these since I love Syrah. Thanks for providing a sizable list to get me started. Any idea on how hard these are to find?

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Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#3 Post by Z. A c s a n » May 23rd, 2013, 5:41 pm

rachel mcdonald wrote:I have to admit, I've never really heard of Collines Rhodaniennes, but it seems like I need to pay attention to these since I love Syrah. Thanks for providing a sizable list to get me started. Any idea on how hard these are to find?
A fair number of these wines are available in the US. Both ends of the price spectrum are covered here, so don't be put off if the first couple names are spendier options. I used CT to create wine names that were compatible for searching there. Just copy and paste the names in the search function and you can pull up the wines and related notes. Pick a more recent vintage for the note ('09/'10'/'11) and then click on the "$$ FIND THIS WINE on WINE-SEARCHER.COM $$" link and you can quickly get to a source. The list is more exhaustive with the Pro W-S, but you should still get some hits. Play around with the vintages as well to expand the search. HTH.
Either way, it sounds like Z e e

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Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#4 Post by Zachary Ross » May 23rd, 2013, 6:06 pm

In my experience: Faury's is great. Helfenbein's is pretty nice and Barou's is ok.
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Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#5 Post by Michael Davidson » May 23rd, 2013, 6:43 pm

I didn't like a 2011 Jasmin. Too polished and generic.

Love Faury and Barou.

Does anyone know what the appellation really means? How does it differ from CdR, which can also be all syrah? Been curious for a while.

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Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#6 Post by Mike Evans » May 23rd, 2013, 7:07 pm

This is a good topic, since it is easy to overlook these wines. That said, I posted a TN on Ogier's 1998 La Rosine among a bunch of Cote Rotie TNs in the last couple of days. La Rosine was always a great value, though I don't know what current pricing is. There have been plenty of notes here on Gonon's VdP as well. But while I've tried a number of the wines you've listed in France, I rarely see them here.

I also think some people drink them, but don't post on them because they don't think there will be interest, or they don't think it is worth the trouble for an inexpensive wine. I've been guilty of that myself. But I honestly find TNs on inexpensive wines with character and a sense of place more useful than many of those on more prestigious wines. And for many of the producers on your list, these aren't just a paycheck, they are made with passion.

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Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#7 Post by GregT » May 23rd, 2013, 8:30 pm

Rachel - they're not all that hard to find, but there aren't that many of them.

I have to say tho, that the tone of the OP is a little strange. I have never put a TN in CellarTracker or posted "formal" notes. No hard and fast moral reasons or anything - I don't know - it's just not something I find particularly interesting to do. Is that a bad thing?

Also, the idea that Syrah is unloved isn't really accurate is it? On this board, people want to talk about Burgundy. A lot of people are fairly recent to wine and learned that's what they're supposed to love, or gravitate towards. But I've been drinking wine a long time and I've always loved Syrah far more than any Pinot Noir I've ever had. The thing to remember is that the N. Rhone isn't really all that big and outside of a handful of producers, there aren't thousands of small boutique wineries dying to be discovered. What IS encouraging is that there are many US producers who are making wonderful Syrah these days that can rival a lot that's coming out of the N. Rhone. There are a few down in Pic St. Loup who've asked me to include their wines in N. Rhone tastings I talked to them about, and there's a huge increase in planted acreage of Syrah in Spain, particularly in the high mountainous regions off the coast.
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Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#8 Post by Gerhard P. » May 24th, 2013, 7:35 am

The list above is good.
The designation "Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes" (headache name) has to be used for wines either outside of the "better" Appellations of the Northern Rhone or for declassifying the latter.
There ARE vineyards entitled to the Cotes-du-Rhone appellation, too, but only few around the Cote-Rotie, St.Joseph and Cornas regions ... rather more down the Rhone South of Crozes-Hermitage or Valence etc.

While these Syrah-wines can be fine values and are great everyday drinks - usually they are more fruity and foreward - AND there is a huge step up to a Cornas, Cote-Rotie or Hermitage - the latter being much more complex and deep ... some can be cellared for 5, 6, 7 (10) years, but rarely will they benefit much from prolonged storage.
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Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#9 Post by jcoley3 » May 24th, 2013, 9:55 am

I've had a few on the list. The Vernay is my favorite - the 07 (under a different name) was my unofficial WOTY a couple of years ago and, when I worked in a restaurant, one of my most successful glass pours. New vintages are outstanding, but the price has gone up a fair bit the past few years - not to where it is a bad value, but it isn't the stunning QPR that it was.

Gerin's example I like very much. Rostaing's not quite as much.

The Vins de Vienne example is outstanding, but it is priced like basic Cote-Rotie or Cornas, so it's not necessarily a value. That said, I believe that wine is being made from vineyards reclaimed across the river from Cote-Rotie, rather than on the plateau above, and the thinking is that there is more potential for top wine from there.

They do take some effort to sell - the appellation is a mouthful, few people have heard of it, and if you're not actively there explaining what they are, they will collect dust.
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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#10 Post by Arv R » August 1st, 2019, 6:30 pm

I've been enjoying a 2014 Jean Michel Gerin 'La Champine' Viognier [VdF] the last few nights. Even though its not VdPCR, I'm grouping it mentally into that same area since its bottled up in Ampuis from regional grapes. (Can viognier get that AOC, or does it have to be syrah only?) This is only 12.5% abv, and raised in steel tanks, but it tastes a fleshier than descriptors might make it sound. It gains weight and depth each day it is open (but kept corked in the fridge, and is nicest on the last / third night). It's a medium gold, mild viscosity with a bouquet of stone fruit and flowers. There is a little Provencal herb note here too. It's great on its own on a hot day, but also quite nice with a slab of pan seared Coho salmon. Good finish of 20 - 30 seconds. I was hoping it would be like a baby Condrieu, but I don't think it has all the same elements, since there's a touch of bitter quinine here too. But its still quite likable, although only an 'ok' value at $24 on the West coast. My SO tasted it and didn't want any ... and generally she'll always glug back a glass of Condrieu.

It's been a long time since I've had any of Gerin's wines, maybe the last I can remember was a zippy Cote Rotie from the 90's era. But it remains a fair enough strategy to buy the better producers smaller AOC wines, relying on their cellar skills and vineyard connections for quality. I'd give this a B+ on its last night. Maybe it just needed more air? I never really decant whites/dessert wines (ex Porto). It was a couple notches lower on the first night I thought, tight and no bouquet.
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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#11 Post by c fu » August 1st, 2019, 6:48 pm

Had the 17 Jamet collines. That’s a seriously impressive wine for the $25 I paid.
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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#12 Post by Marcus Dean » August 1st, 2019, 7:09 pm

c fu wrote:
August 1st, 2019, 6:48 pm
Had the 17 Jamet collines. That’s a seriously impressive wine for the $25 I paid.
+1 on the Jamet
also Cuilleron and Vernay for Viognier VDPs

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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#13 Post by Robert Sand » August 2nd, 2019, 12:13 am

This thread is 6+ years old - and I can only agree to what Gerhard wrote above then: a lot of enjoyable wines for everyday, but often lacking depth and complexity, so no real substitute for a Cote-Rotie, Hermitage or Cornas (which have still gone up in price) - but good values. I usually pay not more than 12-20 € for these in Germany.

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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#14 Post by Dale Williams » August 2nd, 2019, 5:23 am

I didn't realize at first this was a 6 year old thread, can't really understand OP as I read through the linked (also 6 year old) thread without seeing the piggishness.

I like the Barou "Vernes" syrah, but it's only a few dollars cheaper than their St. Joseph. I bought a case of '01 Ogier Rosine for $12-13 each, they drank great at 10-15 years old, but I think have gotten pricey.

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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#15 Post by Robert Panzer » August 2nd, 2019, 5:57 am

Clusel Roch's Traboules and Galets certainly deserve a place on this list......All Gamay. Plain delicious.
Disclaimer, I import them.
Jasmin '16 is delicious as well, someone whom I also represent.
Indeed, these bottles aren't going to be anything to rival Côte Rôtie, but for everyday N Rhône architecture/profile, can't be beat for the $.
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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#16 Post by IlkkaL » August 2nd, 2019, 6:27 am

I am personally a fan of this appellation as many of these wines provide proper Syrah aromatics at very friendly price points. I have to agree that most are relatively light-bodied and intended for early, uncomplicated enjoyment but I posted a TN some time ago on one that is somewhat an exception: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=160385
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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#17 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » August 2nd, 2019, 7:03 am

I’m not sure if it falls within this sub-region titled, but Clape’s Vin de Amis should scratch the itch of anyone that appreciates Northern Rhone syrah. It should be an easy case purchase for most here.
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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#18 Post by Michae1 P0wers » August 2nd, 2019, 7:52 am

I like these wines and have had good luck with some of the board favorite producers listed above. I've also liked Faury's syrah, which I think is also within this appellation. The only thing I'll say is that I've also had some duds for my palate, leaning towards very unripe, which for me can show way too much black and green pepper without sufficient fruit to balance it out. It's funny because I'm fine with green notes in cab franc, but underripe syrah can seem off to me.

Oh, another that I've liked is Baret's Petit Ours Brun. As with the Clape Vin des Amis I don't think it is a Collines des Rhodaniennes wine but in a similar vein as the regional option from a Cornas producer. And of course, the Gonon Iles Feray is amazing (I might like it better than the St. Jo) but sadly so much harder to obtain than it once was.

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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#19 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » August 2nd, 2019, 7:57 am

The 2015 and 2016 Iles Feray are Stoopid good. And like you said, actually harder to get. I got one half of the allocation that I got on the St Joe itself. Right now the 2015 Iles Feray outshines the St Joe.
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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#20 Post by Josh Grossman » August 2nd, 2019, 8:32 am

Christophe Billon Vin de Pays Les Corendies: from Vienne and Boucharey, right across the river from Cote Rotie part younger vines and, part 1960s) aged in 3-4 year old 228 L oak casks for 18-21 months on the '15 and 30 months on the '16. This stuff is killer for the price. More modern but great!

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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#21 Post by c fu » August 2nd, 2019, 9:30 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
August 2nd, 2019, 7:57 am
The 2015 and 2016 Iles Feray are Stoopid good. And like you said, actually harder to get. I got one half of the allocation that I got on the St Joe itself. Right now the 2015 Iles Feray outshines the St Joe.
Iles feray isn't Collines Rhodaniennes IGP. It's under the Ardeche IGP, a much smaller "region".
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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#22 Post by HMechbal » August 2nd, 2019, 10:03 am

I tasted Pierre Jean-Villa's Esprit d'Antan 2010 3 months ago and it could give a lot of basic Cote-Roties the run for their money.
For a more immediate enjoyment, glou-glou wine, Gerin made a beautiful La Champine in 2016. Less than 10 euros and great and fresh Syrah there, can't recommend it enough.
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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#23 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » August 2nd, 2019, 11:40 am

c fu wrote:
August 2nd, 2019, 9:30 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
August 2nd, 2019, 7:57 am
The 2015 and 2016 Iles Feray are Stoopid good. And like you said, actually harder to get. I got one half of the allocation that I got on the St Joe itself. Right now the 2015 Iles Feray outshines the St Joe.
Iles feray isn't Collines Rhodaniennes IGP. It's under the Ardeche IGP, a much smaller "region".
Wat!?! Not roasted slope?

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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#24 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » August 2nd, 2019, 12:47 pm

I'm a fan of Cuilleron's bottling. At one time, for a particular vintage, I think I may have called it the best red wine QPR I've ever come across.
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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#25 Post by Bryan Carr » August 2nd, 2019, 1:39 pm

We've had the '14 and '16 Rostaing Lezardes; the '14 was pretty amazing QPR and drank really well last year, but the '16s are babies and need a little rest before they show their stuff. We opened one from our case last week to test and it just started to get good after about an hour open but by then it was almost gone. Definitely on the serious end of things for this type of wine and one that would likely reward a little cellaring.
We had the '16 Jamet last January and thought it was awful, just purple and under-elevaged tasting, I think we sinked it.
We brought a '98 Vins de Vienne Sotanum to a group tasting at Wild Ginger a year or so back and it showed really well, so that's one data point for these wines aging.
The Helfenbein in our experience is easy drinking but nothing too serious, though it wasn't bad for the (I think) $12 we paid.
I think we're bullish on Collines Rhodaniennes generally and if we see one we've not had we always snap it up for a taste.
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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#26 Post by Arv R » August 2nd, 2019, 10:09 pm

I think for American's the odds are pretty good that if someone has imported a Collines Rhodaniennes all the way here, it's likely to be a solid wine. The importing effort is a good filter for quality for these lesser known (to US consumers) appellations.

Somewhere upthread Josh mentions a Billon wine which I think the 2015 is on a rack in my closet somewhere. I'll open that once the weather cools down a little!
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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#27 Post by Chris V. » September 18th, 2019, 3:57 am

Bryan Carr wrote:
August 2nd, 2019, 1:39 pm
We had the '16 Jamet last January and thought it was awful, just purple and under-elevaged tasting, I think we sinked it.
I've had this twice. First time about a year or more ago I would agree. Another bottle a couple months ago was beginning to show some syrah character after a couple hours. IMO this wine needs a few years in the cellar and/or a few hours of air.
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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#28 Post by Charles Weiss » September 18th, 2019, 7:34 am

Here’s a comparative note on two of these wines from 2012, from April 2015:


2012 Domaine Faury Syrah Vin de Pays des Collines
Rhodaniennes

April 13, 2015 - I was quite interested to taste this in comparison to the 2012 Syrah Collines Rhodaniennes from Jamet that I had a few weeks ago. This is all about olive and black pepper. Good acidity. A wine with some muscle but not meant to age I think. The Jamet on the other hand was a prettier wine, with "pure" Syrah fruit, violets and some meat. Both certainly have merit but I prefer the Jamet.

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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#29 Post by Arv R » November 2nd, 2019, 5:33 pm

Josh Grossman wrote:
August 2nd, 2019, 8:32 am
Christophe Billon Vin de Pays Les Corendies: from Vienne and Boucharey, right across the river from Cote Rotie part younger vines and, part 1960s) aged in 3-4 year old 228 L oak casks for 18-21 months on the '15 and 30 months on the '16. This stuff is killer for the price. More modern but great!
+1 This is really good !
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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#30 Post by PeterH » November 2nd, 2019, 8:52 pm

Buried in the notes of a recent tasting of northern Rhone wines in Seattle is mention of Sotanum, a joint venture of Yves Cuilleron, Pierre Gaillard and Francois Villard.

https://www.winespectator.com/articles/ ... -the-rhone

The wine fit right in with the notable competition. Brian Carr mentions the 1998 earlier in this thread. I believe the vintage he brought to the tasting was 2006, and it tasted still young.

I notice in the list from the starting post that most of the better wines from this region are made by respected winemakers from the most famous parts of this wider area, which technically includes all of the classified areas. This seems to be a case of rising prices leading to rising quality of the nearest substitutes.
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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#31 Post by Brian Glas » November 2nd, 2019, 10:19 pm

Yes I enjoyed the Sotanum at the recent Northern Rhone tasting at PeterH's place. Even though is has a generic Vin de Pays classification it held up well against some very fine Cote Rotie and Hermitage wines. It was one of my favorite wines of the tasting.

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Edward H. Earles
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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#32 Post by Edward H. Earles » November 3rd, 2019, 7:09 am

GregT wrote:
May 23rd, 2013, 8:30 pm

There are a few down in Pic St. Loup who've asked me to include their wines in N. Rhone tastings I talked to them about....
That's a good place to look for undiscovered treasure. Here's a tasting note for one I had a few years back:

2010 Domaine Clavel Pic St. Loup Bonne Pioche

Very old-school and very Languedoc-ish. Printer's ink, old library books, blackcurrant, mourning dove feathers (hunters will understand), and "grandma's purse". Hints of "French roast" coffee and orange Pekoe tea at the end. Restrained but utterly charming.

This wouldn't be every wine drinker's cup of tea (James Laube probably wouldn't approve), but I could drink this stuff by the gallon. AFWE folks, back the truck up to the door.....

Addendum: with air, this wine becomes more floral, perfumy, and Cote-Rotie-ish; and a slight, but not unpleasant, astringency creeps in to the finish.

The southern French are very canny Syrah-crafters.

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Re: Outside of the Northern Rhone Box: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

#33 Post by Michae1 P0wers » November 7th, 2019, 7:24 am

Based on this thread I picked up some of the 2016 Jasmin Chevaliere. It's a really excellent value. It's not as good as the Gonon Iles de Feray, but it can actually be had, so that's a big plus. In any case, it's a lot of Northern Rhone Syrah character for the price. Blackberry and tapenade, similar to the Gonon actually just a bit less of everything. Fun and direct, open now but I wouldn't be surprised if it was just as strong for several years. I prefer this to the Faury and some others I've had.

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