While no ink needs to spill on the Chapoutier wines, last night's line-up in the blind tasting some is rewarding in knowing even more about their actual cost and performance. All wines are good. Therefore, when we say it 'light', we just mean its being 'lighter' in the class. All are excellent wines which mark our no-return for a new interpretation of the balance of power and elegance.
Tasting starts 730pm; wines pour directly to glass 630pm. Because the whites and reds are ranked together, I choose not to discuss the places, and I present just the cost performance.
The 1st glass a full nose of white flowers mingled with the fresh and bright fruit of tangerines, apricots, quince. There are tones of leather, beeswax, vanillin. The palate reflects the nose, with bright, long, fruit+ spice taste edged out. Very balanced and sleek compared to the 2nd glass, which is packed with orchard fruit, apricots, quince, oranges. With popcorn and rubber tones, it is significant, nutty and unfortunately clumsy to me despite its' intensity and shocking concentration. It just needs time and is unyielding. For potential and latent energy, the second glass is far better. For immediate enjoyment, the first glass stays smart throughout the dinner. The 1st glass is a 2007 La Mordoree White, Cote Roti; the 2nd is 2007 Blanc, Le Meal, Ermitage!
Te 3rd glass is relatively mature with ripe, dry red and dark fruit. Inky, musky, pork-jerky, white peppery. Plummy fruit shines through throughout the tasting. As good as and is different to all the rest. On the palate, it is as plummy with beautiful edges and tastes long and goes on and on. Soft structure though; matured by now; not much potentials. It is 2007 Barbe Rac Red, Châteauneuf Du Pape.
The 4th glass noses like a young Bordeaux regarding fruit(blackcurrant) and structure(tannins, acidity). The makers and owners will not be happy about this comment, though I intend it as a compliment. With high tones like iodine, new oak, new leather, it is involved on the palate with strong ABV, big fruit and structure. It remains closed for the 1-hour tasting. It is 2007 Les Varonniers Red, Crozes-Hermitage.
The 5th glass feels as 'new wave' as the 4th glass, and is less demanding. It does not play with power, but with natural fruit. It seems to have even more fruit, more extended white peppery spice, sweet coffee bean, with even less structure. With fine tannins, the mouth also displays a good length. It is 2007 Les Granits Red, Saint Joseph.
The 6th glass a bouquet of rose, lavender, violet. Bright and fresh dark cherry fruit, raspberries, dark currants, figs, with tar, sandalwood lingering in the finish. Almost nose like bubblegum, but in a natural fruitiness and is charmingly comfortable with lots of substance and length. It is 2007 Les Greffieux, Ermitage, which is one of the best-valued wine of the evening.
The 7th glass is exquisite. Amidst the bright dark fruit come the light-being of heavenly roses, violets, lavender. There's a clean wind blowing. Very natural wine. It is 2007 Le Meal Red, Ermitage.
The 8th glass provides power, with strong tones of Hawthorne, beef jerky, old leather, liquorice, recalling some of the very old and excellent Shirazes from McLaren Vale. So the finish is very very long. It is 2007 Le Pavillon, Ermitage.
The 9th glass gives a bouquet of rose, violets, lilac and lavender. It is my view is more integrated than the 8th glass. Still, close, but there is an air of smart energy. My Number one of the evening, it is 2007 L'Ermite, Ermitage.
The last glass is funkily bretty, intense, significant, fruit packed, filled with beef jerky tones and oak spices. Despite its hard palate, it is chalky, peppery and tannic. Against all the odds, I give this my Second for the length and balance. It is 2007 De L'Oree, Ermitage.
It is a blind tasting of superb value.
Dinner white is 2004 Chave White Hermitage, which is still running fit. Dinner red is 2001 Les Becasses Cote Rotie, which gives a bretty and fruity nose and a soft palate. Dessert wine is 2007 Vin de Paille, Ermitage which works perfect with my baked apple tart.