Grumpy Gaby

Crozes-Hermitage ‘Cuvee Gaby’ from Domaine du Colombier is my favourite Crozes. Of course, that is a blatant lie: Alain Graillot is my favourite Crozes, but I am buggered if I know how to get any. Therefore Colombier wins. This is his prestige cuvee of Crozes and, whilst it is only a few quid more expensive than his basic, it is worth every penny.

What one really wants from Domaine du Colombier is their Hermitage – it is brilliant and a bargain. It ages delightfully – I popped my last bottle of 1997 a few months back and it was a delicious treat. This Crozes also ages rather well, ten years no probs. 2014 produced some fun wines in the Northern Rhône, so we are hoping for fruity larks! Onward to the wine!

Crozes-Hermitage Cuvée Gaby 2014 Domaine du ColombierCrozes-Hermitage ‘Cuvée Gaby’ 2014, Domaine du Colombier

Lots of fruit on the nose: yummy blackberries and a sprinkling of ripe blackcurrants. All nice and ripe with not a hint of dirtiness or over-ripeness to them. Smells very enjoyable in the restrained Colombier style.

This means the alcohol level is moderate and does not add any excess sweetness, let alone burn, to the nose, and there is no titting around with any new oak. It smells like a deliciously attractive, quite classy Crozes. Good!

Ah, now we have a problem on these palate. It is a problem I have caused and it will go away, but it will go away in 3-5 years time in the other bottles I have in my cellar.

People are quite used to talking about the awkward patch that red Burgundy goes through in its middle age – Burgundy is not alone in suffering from this. Syrah, particularly from the Northern Rhône, can spend several years being irritatingly quaquaversal after a few years in bottle. This is the stage this wine had reached.

Consequently, the tannins seem a touch tougher and angular compared to what I was hoping for. If I had popped my first bottle six or so months ago I bet it would have been lovely.

However, there is enough fruit on the palate to see if through this patch and I do not think there are any problems with its underlying harmony. There is bright but far from excessive acidity. Indeed, this makes the palate seem quite fresh and without those angular tannins you would this this was ripe for plucking.

No! Keep your bottles! I have two left and I will hold back as long as I can. I know I will be generously rewarded with a soft, svelte treat of of a Crozes. It will be wonderful!

  • James

    Want some Graillot. Give Yapp Brothers the required amount of “fun tokens” and the Crozes is yours. I followed this advice myself and I now have several bottles of said wine. Simples

    • They have always claimed to be sold out when i have offered them money. I never had any problems getting whatever the hell i liked whilst i was at Oxford, but i haven’t been able to buy a single bottle since i left. Distinctly odd! Tweaks my paranoia circuits, to be honest.

  • Christian

    Davy, I happen to have some Graillot, will bring some next time I am in Winchester!

    • No don’t, Christan! Bring one (or more) interesting (and good) things you can do as blind tasting challenges for The Editor and I. But good, definitely good – or better! ?

  • Blinking heck, I’m depressed. Not terribly suicidally depressed, you may or may not be pleased to hear, but definitely really, really depressed. It was a real fight getting this note out of my faulty mind and it’s a crap note after all that effort. Everything is so difficult: I’ve been doing some filming for the Beeb over the past couple of months and, even if one passes over the stunning agony in my back it generates (which is a bit of a challenge), is taken me days and days to recover to my normal hopeless levels of semi-functioning afterward. Some good things have to happen soon – i need some hooks to hold onto to keep me going – otherwise i doubt my ability to avoid having a longer sleep than usual – let’s call that length, say, eternity.