Saturday, October 6, 2007

'05 Domaine Chèze, Cuvèe Ro-Rèe (St.-Joseph)

In Brief:

2005 Domaine Chèze Cuvèe Ro-Rèe (Saint-Joseph AOC, Rhône)($13 half-bottle, Corkscrew)
This 100% French Syrah possessed a lush, perfumed bouquet of bright warm hillsides, sun-drenched raspberries, gentle wood tones, and fresh bread. After an exceptional bouquet, quite distinct from Barrel Monkeys Shiraz and the Marquis Philips Shiraz, the light, acidic body with only moderate fruit concentration did not quite satisfy. The finish, though, lasted almost half a minute, with strong, fruity tannins.

Tasting Notes:

The bouquet was full and lush. Instead of the Marquis Philips' Plum and ripe pear notes, or the B.M.'s dark blackberries and smoke, this syrah smelled of bright warm hillsides, sun-drenched raspberries, gentle wood tones, and freshly baked bread. Not intense or powerful, the aromas were nevertheless mesmerizing, enchanting, and seductive. We tasted from two types of glasses - Reidel's 'Bordeaux' tumbler, and a Ravenscroft Vintner's Amplifier. While the Ravenscroft displayed a more concentrated aroma, each type of glass developed a distinct nose, both delicious. We took the first taste 20 minutes after decanting, and for the next hour or two, the bouquet continued to change, each inhalation releasing subtly different flavors.

If the bouquet was revelatory and beautiful, the taste and mouthfeel were not quite satisfying. It tasted good on the palate - all the elements of a Shiraz came through nicely, but it lacked texture, chewiness, and extract. The clear note of acidity (not present in Barrel Monkeys, present in Marquis Philips, but squashed by the sweetness) was not unpleasant, though wanted for more supporting fruit concentration. After such an attractive and lush nose, the mouthfeel and taste seemed a poor confirmation. The finish, however, was long, nicely tannic, and fruit-filled.

RP on the Saint-Joseph AOC:
"The northern Rhône's most underrated appellation for red and white wine. The reds and whites are juicy and best drunk young, preferably within 10 years of the vintage. No northern appellation has made as much qualitative progress as St.-Joseph. Moreover, these wines are fairly priced." - WBG 6th Ed. 698

Aromatic Profile:
"The red wines are the lightest, fruitiest, and mst feminine of the northern Rhône... Syrah can be at its fruitiest, lightest, and most charming in this appellation. A good St.-Joseph red should display a Burgundy-like black cherry, raspberry, and occasionally cassis-scented nose with medium body, light tannin, and zingy acidity. These are the Rhône's Valley's lightest reds and are best drunk in their first 5-6 years of life." - WBG 6th Ed. 705

Textural Profile:
"Good fruit presented in a medium-bodied, zesty format is the hallmark of a fine St.-Joseph red. They should not possess tannin for support, but rather crisp acidity"- WBG 6th Ed. 705

Louis Chèze:
"This is a northern Rhône estate to watch carefully. Chèze... has already made considerable progress with the quality of both his red and white wines. Moreover, he seems poised to soar enormously in quality over the next 4-5 years..." -WBG 6th Ed. (2002) 766

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