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 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!