Helen’s blog

Thoughts and tastings from Helen Savage, wine writer.

Michel Chapoutier

The House of Chapoutier not only produces some of the finest wines from the Rhône, but also from an increasing number estates further afield. The quality across the range is impressively high.

Here are some notes from white wines tasted at the winery in tain l’Hermitage on 25 June. I’ll post notes on the whites tomorrow – after a day trying to catch up after a hectic few weeks travelling, I need to get ready for the Vine Visit summer dinner!

Alsace Riesling  Grand Cru Wiebelsberg 2009

Fine, ripe lemony fruit, with a hint of honey. Good intensity, fine acids and classic lingering minerality – a wine with potential to age beautifully and an extraordinarily impressive début.

Le Vignes de Bila-Haut, Côtes du Roussillon 2009 (Blanc)

From a property bought ten years ago a blend of Grenache Gris, Grenache Blanc and Maccabeu. It shows honeyed,very spicy, slightly peppery, peachy fruit and a lot of minerality. The acids are again fine and fresh. The finish is both salty-mineral and quite phenolic.

Saint-Péray, ‘ Les Tanneurs’ 2010.

A classic blend of Marsanne and a little Roussanne (apparently Marcel is no great fan of Roussanne). It shows a lovely intensity of ripe honeysuckle-scented fruit, with clean acidity and a fine mineral persistence. An outstanding effort this year.

Chateauneuf du Pape, 2009 ‘La Bernadine’

Pure Grenache Blanc. This has a remarkably deep colour,  an aroma or orange and apricot and a rich minerality and a hint of spicy oak. Despite its big, spicy texture, it’s also focused and fresh.

Condrieu, 2009 ‘Invitare’

Unoaked, fine and complex, with an intense pear skin aroma and a very spicy flavour. Rich, round and really quite soft.

Hermitage, 2007 ‘Chante Alouette’

Already quite an old gold (the Marsanne is pressed very slowly) showing notes of confit lime and lemon and fine minerality. Big, rich but with balanced acids and  typically lingering minerality.

Saint-Jospeh 2007 ‘Les Granits’

More pour Marsanne from this special single vineyard – a creamier more intense wine than Chante Alouette with orange and greengage fruit and wonderful softness and impressive minerality.



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