2018 Blanc Domaine G&J Bott
This superb blend of 70% Roussanne and 30% Marsanne is a really successful White St Joseph. Their vines are just north of St Pierre de Boeuf, as with all their whites they train their vines up poles and over the top to create tall arches of foliage. This practice is popular in Burgundy with some exceptional growers (Lalou-Bize Leroy, Arnoux-Lachaux) but Julie and Graeme are the first here to embrace it. The vines are better shaded like this and the results are great. Aromatic and yet fresh, with firm apricot and white flower notes, bright citrus juiciness too. Really elegant white with a pretty floral lift. L&S (May 2020)
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Light, bright straw. High-pitched tangerine, melon and floral aromas show very good clarity and spicy lift. Taut and sharply focused on entry, then more fleshy in the midpalate, offering intense citrus and orchard fruit and honeydew flavors complemented by subtle fennel and orange pith notes. Finishes with nervy mineral cut and thrust, leaving a repeating floral note behind. Drinking range: 2021 - 2026 Rating: 91 Josh Raynolds, www.vinousmedia.com(May 2020)
Fresh, with verbena, talc and honeysuckle notes leading off, backed by juicy yellow apple and green fig fruit flavors. Everything knits wonderfully on the finish. Roussanne and Marsanne. Drink now through 2022. Drinking range: 2020 - 2022 Rating: 93 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator(May 2020)
Another good wine from this estate, the 2018 Saint Joseph Blanc (70% Roussanne and 30% Marsanne) has lively stone and peach fruits, a kiss of honey and white flowers, medium body, and a fresh, balanced, elegant style on the palate. It's well worth seeking out and should keep for 4-5 years. Drinking range: 2020 - 2025 Rating: 90 Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com(Dec 2019)
Domaine G&J Bott
We first encountered the young Kiwi, Graeme Bott, in the days when he and Julie were both working for the great Stéphane Ogier. We have kept in touch and 8 years later we are delighted that he and Julie are now married and have set up on their own. 2018 is their second vintage release and we could not be more excited.
Graeme's talents as a winemaker were never in doubt. To have become Chef de Cave for Stéphane Ogier is no mean feat, especially for someone from the 'outside' and New Zealand is a long way from Ampuis! This natural ability combined with relentless energy and creativity from them both has resulted in Domaine Bott.
'Les Kiwis d'Ampuis' have been resourceful in finding plots for vineyards. As newcomers they were never really in the market for buying existing, established vineyards. Prices here are now stratospheric. So, they got creative. First of all, their garden! This plot of land is within the Condrieu appellation, so they quickly planted vines and have a parcel here. In other zones they have studied the geology and history of the slopes in the northern Rhone. Identifying areas of rough land that were once vineyards, pre-phylloxera, but have since never been replanted. These plots were affordable, so the couple planted all the vines themselves and rebuilt the old stone walls. Today the estate has grown to 6HA through this resourcefulness and sheer hard work.
Their vineyards are now spread between Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, Crozes-Hermitage, Saint-Joseph and Seyssuel - and they have recently moved production from their two garages to a winery in Ampuis.
They want to make wines they want to drink and love finesse and poise. This means early picking of the white grapes to retain brightness and acidity and only 3 or 4-year-old barrels are used for the élévage.
Vineyard work on the reds is intensive - Graeme believes that wines are mostly 'made' before the harvest, on the vines. For the Botts, it’s all about the purity of the fruit and transmitting that sense of place. In the cellar they have an artisan approach, very gentle maceration - more of an infusion with a gentle single pump over each day, no punching down or effort to extract more grip or colour or flavour. The wines are a delight. There is a sleek feel and a softness that belies the smart intensity. They have lift and poise. Never over-bearing but they make you sit up and take note.
On this first UK release of these wines you can see the sheer class of what they are doing here. These are impressive, very likeable wines made on a small scale by a passionate and very skilled couple - it is no wonder they are already turning heads.
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