2014 Domaine Clusel-Roch
Opaque ruby. Pungent, high-pitched aromas of fresh red and dark berries, potpourri and spicecake. Picks up a smoky mineral overtone and a hint of cola as it opens up. Juicy and sharply focused on the palate, offering sappy black raspberry and cherry flavors and a deeper suggestion of candied licorice. Closes with very good clarity, spicy thrust and harmonious tannins that lend shape and gentle grip. Drinking range: 2021 - 2027 Rating: 91 Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (Jul 2017)
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A classic Côte Rôtie that has lots of pepper, black raspberry, crushed violets, spring flowers and hints of olives, the 2014 Côte Rôtie Classique is medium-bodied, fresh, focused and lively on the palate. It shines more for its elegance and purity than power, but has beautifully purity and will keep for a decade or more. Drinking range: 2016 - 2026 Rating: 90-90 Jeb Dunnuck - www.robertparker.com(Dec 2016)
(aged in 20% new oak): Opaque ruby. Dark berries, cherry pit, olive and smoky minerals on the expressive, spice-accented nose. Juicy, sharply focused bitter cherry and blueberry flavors show very good depth and a peppery nuance. A sexy floral pastille note comes up with air and carries through a long, youthfully tannic and mineral-driven finish. Rating: 91-93 Josh Raynolds, www.vinousmedia.com(Mar 2016)
From the 1950s to 1980 René and Josephine Clusel grew fruit and vegetables as well as Côte Rôtie. Their son, Gilbert, with his wife Brigitte Roch, stopped farming fruit and vegetables alongside, and expanded the domaine a little. Brigitte and Gilbert's son Guillaume, who joined the domaine in 2009, has added significantly to the vineyard area, mostly with with the addition of Gamay in the Coteaux du Lyonnais. Guillaume has now taken over the running of the estate, and also buys in grapes from a few other other organic vine growers, notably for the Saint Joseph.
Today the property is around 13 hectares, but they still have only 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 fertilisers.
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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