2012 M. Chapoutier Rosé Belleruche Côtes du Rhône ($12.00) 88
Slightly deeper in color, with more fruit, purity and freshness, the 2012 Belleruche Rosé is loaded with juicy cherry, melon, spice aromas and flavors. Made in an upfront, pure and clean style, with more fruit than a typical Provencal styled effort, yet still classy and fresh, it should be consumed over the coming year or two. [Drink now-2013]
Excerpts from Jancis Robinson’s interview with Michel Chapoutier:
“If you use reverse osmosis to reduce the alcohol, you sacrifice some of the aromas. When you concentrate, you concentrate everything — including less desirable aspects. It’s better to add back water. But I’m the only one to actually talk about it. Lots of winemakers actually do it, but I think we should make it legal and bring it out in the open. It’s the future of wine: we can’t make Châteauneuf with 16% alcohol. We must have the courage to defend this point of view. I love to make a tasting of 2003s, adding a little water to them — they’re much better.”
He’s also very hot on the difference between the geological soil deep below the vines and “pedalogical soil” immediately below the vine, pointing out that only about 10% of vine roots actually reach the geological soil “that we’re always on about,” which is a fair point.
He added, “my personal conviction is that the complexity in a wine comes from the level of microbiological activity around the vine roots.” Hence his early adoption of biodynamic viticulture.
The 1999 Côte-Rôtie La Mordorée is the finest he has produced since the 1991 (two bottles drunk over the last six months confirm this fabulous wine’s potential as it is just now beginning to emerge from a cloak of tannin).
The 1999 has closed down since its pre-bottling tasting. The color is an inky purple, and the wine is dense and powerful, with notes of smoky blackberries, creosote, and espresso. Concentrated flavors reveal high levels of tannin (surprising in view of last year’s report), and a rich, long, 45-second finish.
Pale in color, this is a cherry-scented rosé crafted by biodynamic wine guru Michel Chapoutier, whom some consider to be the Rhône’s most accomplished producer. Its aromas are subtle, with appetizing green herb and earthy notes. Strikingly crisp with a mineral stoniness, this is a “serious” slightly peppery rosé ideal for Mediterranean fare. It’s not what you’d describe as very fruity, but the herb-accented red cherry fruit is authentic and lingering.