Delas St. Esprit Cotes du Rhone 2007

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IMG_3756As anyone who has spent any time reading about wine in the last year likely knows, Robert Parker has declared the 2007 vintage in the Southern Rhone to be the best he has ever tasted. Wines are getting crazy scores from him in this vintage, all the way down to the basic Cotes du Rhone bottlings, like this one. I’ve always been a Rhone fan, particularly for their ability to pair with game, and given the price on this wine I thought it would be worth a try. Robert Parker scored this 90 points.

I don’t get the 2007 vintage scores yet. I am still waiting on the Chateauneufs, which are all too young to drink now, but for me 2007 has not been consistent at all at the low end. The 2007 Cotes du Rhone from St. Cosme is modern, fruity, balanced and clean and a great value for a big winter wine. This, on the other hand is a bit of a mess – even gunky – with too much brett. I recently tasted the Montfaucon 2007 and it had similar characteristics.

The nose had lots of red and black cherry with a touch of herbs and earth. The palate exhibited considerable spice, suggesting maybe over-use of oak here, and also black pepper, cherry, and a minerally gamey finish. In theory this sounds good, but this is an example of where flavour is not everything, and in fact, without the appropriate structural components, cannot keep a wine together. The flavours start to fall apart and dis-integrate after a while, fatiguing the palate not through alcohol (this is 13.5%), but through an unpleasant integration on the finish. The wine is somewhat gunky too, it just doesn’t sit cleanly on the palate. Maybe Parker fell for the fruit in this one, but so much else doesn’t work. Is this an example of the vintage gone wrong? Could the wines be somewhat messy and overly-viscous? Will they lack integration in a few years? I’m curious to see how the Chateauneufs and Gigondas fair. I’m always wary of vintage of the century declarations, and so far, based on the CDR wines, I’m wary of the 2007 vintage in the Southern Rhone.

$18 at BCLDB


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