Some Northern Rhone flash for not much cash

I love Domaine du Colombier’s Northern Rhone wines – not only are they brilliant examples of their appellations they are also extremely reasonably priced. When one is on a nutcase income that helps a lot.

Clearly, the red and white Hermitage wines are the things to get if you have (a not excessive amount of) the sponds, but the Crozes are also serious kit. The top Cuvee Gaby is far from shabby. Needs less time than the Hermitage to be worth popping as well. I cannot remember the last time I had a young Crozes that I enjoyed as much as this bottle.

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Crozes-Hermitage Cuvee Gaby 2008, Domaine du Colombier

This is a joyous, lively nose that delivers all the pleasure one could hope for from a bottle of Crozes. It has plenty of berry fruit, a powerful pepper character and bags of lovely earthy richness to get your hooter into. Whilst it is throbbing with exuberant pleasure and a joy to sniff, there is more there if you want to engage your more critical faculties. I love the fact that it is 12.5% – it doesn’t smell hot, stewed or heavy. What a delight! Tastes just as alluring – it is just what Syrah from this area should be like. Good fruit, lovely, really lovely, acid and tannins just on the right side of rigour. Enough complexity and style too. There is nothing tiring about drinking this, it such a pleasure to enjoy – and we are enjoying it greatly. Drink now with a big grin on your face or come back in five years time.

Since scribbling down my note I’ve been trying to think what Crozes this most reminds me of. The answer? It doesn’t. The closest thing to this I’ve tasted was the 1995 Clusel-Roch Cote-Rotie when it was a similar age. This has a similar harmony, elegance and complexity but – dare I say it – might be a bit more fun. It really deserves such high praise.

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