This smart package just happens to contain two of my favorite wines of the year, winemaker Alain Jaume's sumptuous Grand Veneur Lirac, and the shockingly delicious Becassonne Cotes-du-Rhone Blanc, from the portfolio of Washington DC's own Robert "Bobby" Kacher. Rounding it out are two stylish Rhône reds from master blender Alain Corcia, a.k.a. "Our Man in France."Grand Veneur Lirac "Clos de Sixte" 2010 (France)Clermont-Tonnerre (Corcia) Cotes du Rhone "Cairanne Tres V.V." 2010 (France)Clermont-Tonnerre (Corcia) Ventoux "Patricia" 2011 (France)Becassonne (Brunel) Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2012 (France)
?Bright purple. This looks like a much younger wine. Heady aromas of candied black and blue fruits, garrigue and licorice, with a smoky overtone. Rich but lively, offering vibrant cherry and boysenberry flavors that gain energy and sweetness with air. Quite showy, with excellent finishing clarity, soft tannins and lingering sweetness. Demonstrates the best attributes of this ripe vintage.?
The 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape is performing even better from bottle than it did last year. Composed of 47% Grenache, 38% Syrah and 15% Mourvedre, it is surprisingly soft and evolved for La Nerthe, but that actually gives the wine additional appeal. Its dense ruby/purple hue is followed by aromas of blue and black fruits, lavender, licorice, truffles and garrigue. Full-bodied, supple textured, fleshy and succulent, it will provide enjoyment over the next 10-15 years.
Super-negociant Alain Corcia has come up with another remarkable series of single cuvée Châteauneuf-du-Papes in 2009, each named after a different member of his family, including this outstanding bottling, named after daughter Julie. Robert Parker gives it 90-92 points in The Wine Advocate, saying it "… has a more saturated ruby/purple color and a big, sweet kiss of blackberry, boysenberry, black cherry, licorice, and camphor. Full-bodied, with unctuosity and some heady alcohol, it displays impressive purity, texture, and depth and should drink well for at least a decade or more."
The 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc is a 1,500-case blend of 50% Roussanne and the rest Grenache Blanc with a tiny dollop of Clairette, one-third of which is fermented in barrel. The bottled 2010 reveals notes of orange rind, citrus oil, honeysuckle, white currants and quince.
The dark crimson 2010 Clos de Sixte is a classic Châteauneuf-du-Pape-type blend of 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 15% Mourvèdre, aged for 14 months in 35% new oak barrels. Opens with a warm, ripe, perfumed bouquet of black cherry fruit and wild violets. On the palate, luminously fluid and supple, with bouncy, spicy blackberry and dark fruit notes seasoned by spice. Marvelously detailed finish of subtle minerality and warm, well resolved tannins.