Hottest Wines on the Planet Part 2

The longer someone is in the wine business, the harder it can become for someone such as myself to have a favorite type of wine as a result of being exposed to hundreds of styles and a natural desire to be unbiased so one can expand my own and other’s horizons. That being said, something magical happened in the south eastern region of France in 2007 know as the Rhone region, the southern part of it especially. These wines became one of my biggest passions that I quickly became a super-fan of. Robert Parker had this to say about the 2007 southern Rhone wines:

“Last year, after tasting the 2007 southern Rhônes, especially the top wines from Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Côtes du Rhône, and the most hallowed appellation of the south, Châteauneuf du Pape, I stated it was “the vintage of a lifetime.” I also suggested it was a hypothetical blend of a very hot yet opulent, powerful, sumptuous year such as 1990 and a cooler, drought and Mistral-affected vintage such as 2001. Tasting the 2007s out of bottle has confirmed my thoughts – this is a truly historic and profoundly great vintage. As the following tasting notes and commentary suggest, this may be the most compelling vintage of any viticultural region I have ever tasted. I say that because the quality of a vintage is not only measured by what the reference point estates produce, but also by how well the generic appellations fare. I have never tasted better Côtes du Rhônes, Gigondas, or sumptuous, rich, complex Vacqueyras than the 2007s. Moreover, the profoundly concentrated, vividly aromatic, and remarkably fresh, yet substantial, full-bodied, and flawless 2007 Châteauneuf du Papes I tasted in the southern Rhône in late August and September were unforgettable.” Robert Parker, the Wine Advocate 10/09

These are a few of the shining stars in my set that I currently have in stock, but probably not for long.


Domaine La Bouissiere Vacqueyras – $28.99. Bright ruby. Highly spicy aromas of fresh red berries, white pepper, cinnamon and lavender. Lush raspberry and cherry flavors coat the palate, enlivened by tangy minerals. Turns sweeter on the finish, which strongly repeats the floral note. This wine’s abundant fruit will give it great early appeal. This blend of 64% grenache and 18% each of syrah and mourvedre will be the only cuvee of Vacqueyras made here in 2007. It’s 16% alcohol but there’s no heat or excess fat. 91-93 – International Wine Cellar

Domaine La Bouissiere Gigondas – $31.99. Inky ruby. Powerfully scented aromas of blackberry, brown spices, lavender and graphite. Fleshy but energetic, with spicy dark berry flavors and a velvety texture, with no tannins to get in the way of the fruit. Finishes broad, sappy and persistent. This is a blend of 67% grenache, 27% syrah and 6% mourvedre, vinified with 50% of the stems. 89-92 – International Wine Cellar

Brunier Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape $79.99. The 2007 Vieux Telegraphe may be the greatest wine made at this property since the 2005 and 1998. Dense ruby/purple-tinged with an exquisite nose of salty sea breezes, licorice, ground pepper, jammy black cherries, black currants, figs, and plums, this is a full-bodied, rich, Provencal-styled offering with lots of sweet, ripe tannin. It is surprisingly accessible for a Vieux Telegraphe (this wine normally shuts down several years after bottling), but it should have great longevity (25+ years) given its power, full-bodied mouthfeel, and enormous length and richness. This is a brilliant effort from brothers Frederic and Daniel Brunier. 96+ points – Robert Parker

Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf du papes Cuvee les Origines – $59.99. The 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Origines (50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, and 20% Syrah aged in small new oak barrels) is somewhat of an anomaly with such an amount of new oak, but it never seems to show given the wine-s concentration and richness. This may be the estate-s finest example of this cuvee, which generally represents 1,200-1,500 cases, all from their holdings in the northern sector of the appellation. A saturated purple color is accompanied by aromas of smoke, camphor, creme de cassis, licorice, and blueberries, amazing concentration, a full-bodied texture, and a stunningly long finish. The tannins are present, but silky, and the vintage-s freshness and vibrant fruit are evident. Powerful and loaded with substance, but at the same time endearingly elegant and ethereal, it will benefit from another 2-3 years of bottle age, and should drink well for 15+. 96 Points – Robert Parker

Domaine la Bastide Saint Dominique Chateauneuf du Pape Secrets de Pignan Vieilles Vignes – $52.99. The limited production, 350-case cuvee of 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Secrets de Pignan Vieilles Vignes reveals a darker ruby/purple hue in addition to notes of plums, pine forest needles, soy, and intense black cherry and black currant fruit. Opulent and full-bodied with silky tannins, stunning depth and texture, and a finish that lasts over 45 seconds, it is a blend of 95% Grenache and 5% Mourvedre from 90+-year-old vines. It is aged totally in stainless steel tanks. This cuvee comes from the famous lieu-dit of Pignan, the same area where the renowned Chateau Rayas is located. 94 points – Robert Parker

Dark and lush, with layers of raspberry ganache, crushed plum, melted fig and licorice all gliding over well-integrated structure. Long and fleshy, but well-defined, with buried minerality on the finish keeping all the fruit honest. Drink now through 2029. 93 points – Wine Spectator

Domaine Georges Vernay Cotes du Rhone Saint Agathe – $24.99. “A baby Cote-Rotie” Alluring incense, coffee and iron notes lead the way for a core of solid, medium-weight black cherry and currant fruit. A violet twinge checks in on the stylish finish, which also has some surprising grip. Syrah. Drink now through 2010. 90 points – Wine Spectator.

Domaine Georges Vernay Saint-Joseph – $34.99.

Racy and pure, with an enticing beam of blackberry and blackcherry fruit that’s pushed by invigorating iron and violet notes. The long, superfocused finish keeps bringing you back. Drink now through 2011” 92 Points – Wine Spectator

Next up on Part 3: My favorite Spanish wines with a spotlight on Jorge Ordonez


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