Friday, August 17, 2012

Clos Bellane Cotes du Rhone

This has just arrived in - the  new vintage of Clos Bellane Cotes du Rhone 2010. Clos Bellane is situated on a plateau 400m above sea level in the northern part of the Southern Rhone about an hour north of Avignon. The altitude and the fact that the vineyards are north and east facing give their wines a freshness and an elegance that appealed to us immediately. Their white wines are really well regarded for this very reason - in fact, when we were in Slovenia recently, Liam gave us a glass of white, blind, and asked us what we thought. Everyone around the table thought it was a really good Burgundy, maybe Meursault or Chassagne, but it turned out to be a white wine from this estate "Les Echalas" - a 100% Roussane, late harvested and aged in oak - it was fresh, balanced, complex and delicious.

We also really like the red...

The Cotes du Rhone typically has a decent dollop of Syrah in it which gives their entry level wine a distinct Northern Rhone feel to it and makes it stand out from the crowd. We tasted this in the Spring with Stephane Vedeau and, apart from noting another simplification of the label and the dropping of the "Petite" from the name, we were slightly worried that the trademark elegance had been compromised for power.

However, tasting it now, 6 months later and it has really settled down. Yes, there is power, yes there is concentration, but there is a harmony and elegance there that makes this wine utterly gorgeous to drink. The mineral finish reflects the chalky soils from the mature vineyards.

Bravo, Stephane, we shouldn't have worried...

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