2012 La Viallière Domaine Clusel-Roch
Denser richer fruit nose, spice, woodsmoke, quite glossy, blackberry, cherry fruit core. Palate has greater ripeness, dark fruit, spice, meat and toasty oak. Drinking range: 2018 - 2028 L&S (Nov 2015)
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Inky ruby. Complex aromas of fresh red berries, cherry compote, smoky minerals and potpourri, with spicecake and anise nuances emerging with aeration. Smooth, sappy and sweet, displaying very good focus to its intense red fruit preserve, violet pastille and allspice flavors. Shows excellent energy and lift on the floral finish, which is firmed by supple, harmonious tannins. Drinking range: 2017 - 2030 Rating: 93-93 Josh Raynolds, www.vinousmedia.com (Feb 2016)
Solid, with brambly edges along the core of dark cherry and black currant fruit, while notes of bay, black tea and iron drive the finish. Sleek and mouthwatering. Best from 2016 through 2022.— Drinking range: 2016 - 2022 Rating: 92-92 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator (Jun 2015)
(20% new oak): Bright violet color. Highly perfumed aromas of spicy blackberry, violet and smoky minerals, along with a hint of black pepper. Broad and fleshy, with juicy dark berry flavors accented by candied flowers and star anise. The rising, persistent finish features bitter chocolate and blueberry flavors and fine-grained, sneaky tannins. There's about 20% new oak here. Rating: 91-93 Josh Raynolds, www.vinousmedia.com (Mar 2015)
Founded by René Clusel in 1969, the winery is now run by his son, Gilbert and wife Brigitte Roch with their son now Guillaume taking more and more on when not working on his own wine-project nearer Lyon. Today the property is still tiny: despite the addition of a small parcel in St Joseph they retain just five hectares in Côte Rôtie and just half a hectare in Condrieu. The vines are planted on terraces along the Côte Rôtie, with two wooden stakes tied above each vine to help protect against the region's occasionally howling winds. Having officially converted to organic farming practices in 2002 (and now fully certified organic), most work in the vineyards is done manually, without the use of any chemical fertilizers. In order to even better express the tradition of the vineyard, the domaine only uses vines from their own selection of Syrah plantings, which are grafted in their own small nursery. According to Gilbert, these traditional Ampuis vines (vieilles serines) are less productive and give more complex aromas than available modern selections. The grapes are all hand-picked, backbreaking work on these perilous hills and left to naturally ferment with wild yeasts. This approach furthers the site purity in each of their wines. Annual production here still hovers at about 1250 cases per year, these are beautifully made wines with a very pure expression of place from this great region.
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