Northern Rhône 2012
38 wines from the 2012 vintage tasted en primeur

On Monday (March 3 2014) I attended  the Berry Brothers & Rudd Rhône en primeur tasting. Although wines from both the southern and northern Rhône were shown, I focused on the north, and almost exclusively on Syrah, because I love it so much, and I didn’t have enough time or palate capacity to do everything.

2012 is a good but not great vintage in the region. It has made wines that show freshness, but which in some cases lack the personality and depth you’d expect from these wines in really good vintages. There were quite a few wines that I really liked, and fortunately these weren’t just the expensive ones. Good wines from St Joseph, Crozes Hermitage and Cornas seem to be the smart buys in the northern Rhône at the moment.

The vast majority of these wines are cask samples, so for this reason the score is a range, representing the uncertainty of judging unfinished wines. Prices are in bond – to these you’ll have to add duty plus VAT.

The BBR en primeur offer is here.  

Domaine François Villard Côte-Rôtie Gallet Blanc 2012
Lovely floral, peppery nose with olives and cherries. The palate is fresh, peppery and pure. It shows a little new oak but it’s pure, floral and fine. 92–94 (6 for £168.00 ib)

Domaine Stéphane Ogier La Rosine Syrah 2012 Vin de Pays
Nice black cherries and plum fruit nose with some bright peppery notes. The palate is focused and bright with spice and olives. Structured and savoury. 91–93/100 (6 for £66.00)

Domaine Stéphane Ogier L'Âme Soeur Seyssuel 2012 Vin de Pays
Fine, fresh and bright with focused red cherry fruit and good acid. Mineral and pepper complexity; good focus. 92–94 (6 for £126.00)

Domaine Stéphane Ogier Côte-Rôtie 2012
Fresh and focused with mint, pepper and meat notes as well as pure raspberry fruit. Lively with high acidity and a linearity. 92–94/100 (6 for £192.00)

Domaine Jean-Michel Gerin St Joseph 2012
Meaty nose with some roast coffee. The palate is sweet, ripe and dense with meat and roasted notes from the oak. 90–91/100 (12 for £144.00)

Domaine Jean-Michel Gerin Côte-Rôtie Champin le Seigneur 2012
Meaty, spicy, savoury nose is peppery and a bit floral. The palate is bright and fresh with lovely focus and texture, as well as black cherries and meat. Some new oak evident. 91–93/100 (12 for £360.00)

Domaine Pierre Gaillard St Joseph Clos de Cuminaille 2012
Bright, juicy and fresh with black cherries – a nice vivid peppery expression of Syrah. Juicy and supple. 90–92/100 (6 for £78.00)

Domaine Pierre Gaillard Côte-Rôtie 2012
8% Viognier. Fresh and a bit juicy. Light bodied with some floral cherry fruit and a bit of pepper. Sappy, fresh, elegant style. 90–92/100 (6 for £138.00)

Domaine Pierre Gaillard Côte-Rôtie Rose Pourpre 2012
100% Syrah. Floral raspberries, cherries and spice on the nose with some herbiness. There’s evident oak. Juicy, mineral, spicy palate is light and quite elegant with juicy fruit. 91–93/100 (6 for £312.00)

Domaine Yves Cuilleron St Joseph L'Amarybelle 2012
Supple and juicy in a fresh style, with nice cherry and raspberry fruit. Subtle pepper notes. Light. 89–91/100 (6 for £90.00)

Domaine Yves Cuilleron Côte-Rôtie Bassenon 2012
Juicy and focused with fresh red berry and cherry fruit. Quite mineral and bright with nice focus. Lighter style. 90–91/100 (6 for £180.00)

Domaine Combier Crozes-Hermitage 2012
Lovely meaty olive nose is ripe and expressive with some perfumed violetty notes. The palate is fresh and expressive with lovely purity. Ripe yet fresh, this delivers immediate pleasure. 92–94/100 (12 for £144.00)

Domaine Combier Crozes-Hermitage Clos des Grives 2012
Hint of mint and olive supplementing the black cherry fruit on the nose. The palate is lively and quite serious with spice, herbs, some meat, black cherries and plums. 93–94/100 (6 for £120.00)

Domaine du Colombier Crozes-Hermitage 2012
Minty edge to the nose which shows fresh raspberry and cherry fruit. Supple and tasty with nice berry fruit palate. 90–92/100 (12 for £120.00)

Domaine du Colombier Crozes-Hermitage Cuvée Gaby 2012
Fresh, bright and a bit peppery with nice pure raspberry and cherry fruit. Good acidity and grip here. Primary, structured and pure. 91–93/100 (6 for £78.00)

Domaine du Colombier Hermitage 2012      
Lively, bright, fresh and supple with some elegance to the bright raspberry and cherry fruit. Primary, structured and pure. 91–93/100 (6 for £216.00)

Domaine Maxime Graillot Crozes-Hermitage Equinoxe Domaine des Lises 2012
Screwcapped. Exuberant peppery nose showing fresh, slightly minty cherry and plum fruit. The palate is bright, zippy and juicy with fresh raspberry fruit. 89–91/100  (12 for £114.96)

Domaine Maxime Graillot Crozes-Hermitage Les Lises 2012
Peppery, slightly meaty nose with some substance on the fresh, vibrant black cherry and plum palate. Pure with nice grip. 90–92/100 (12 for £144.00)

Domaine Maxime Graillot St Joseph  Domaine des Lises 2012
Floral, peppery black fruits nose leads to an attractive, dense, structured palate offering peppery black fruits and potential for development. Nicely savoury. 92–94/100 (12 for £156.00)

Domaine Coursodon St Joseph L'Olivaie 2012
Distinctive, meaty, peppery nose has notes of mint and olives. The palate is fresh and focused with supple black fruits and fine-grained tannins, as well as nice pepper notes. Very stylish with mid-term ageing potential. 92–94/100 (6 for £96.00)

Domaine Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage Les Trois Chênes 2012
Lovely complex, savoury pepper nose with black cherries and plums, as well as some meatiness. Lovely savoury, grippy palate with fresh black fruits and some meat, as well as a hint of animal. This is a lovely old-fashioned style. 92–94/100 (12 for £144.00)

Domaine Marc Sorrel Hermitage Classique 2012
Paler coloured than most. Lovely floral, fine peppery red cherry nose. The palate is fresh and expressive, with lovely red cherries and fine mineral and pepper notes. Burgundian finesse here: elegant and precise. 93–95/100 (6 for £264.00)

Domaine Marc Sorrel Hermitage, Le Gréal 2012
Fine, peppery cherry fruit nose. Lovely taut, fine, structured palate with fine, floral cherry and plum fruit as well as good structure. Expressive, mineral and taut, this is a beautiful wine with real potential. Not a blockbuster. 94–96/100 (6 for £450.00)

Maison Chapoutier Hermitage Blanc Chante Alouette 2012
Expressive white peach and pear nose with subtle nuts, leading to a fresh, textured, fine palate with peachy fruit and nutty richness. 92–94/100 (6 for £162.00)

Maison Chapoutier Ermitage Blanc Le Méal 2012
Rich pear and peach fruit with some spice on the nose. Fresh, concentrated palate with pear, nuts, peach and grapey notes. Textured and rich yet retains freshness. Compelling. 93–95/100 (6 for £414.00)

Maison Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage Les Meysonniers 2012
Tastes like a supermarket wine, albeit a nice one. Very pure aromatic beery fruits with sweet perfume and a bright, juicy palate. Modern style. 88–90/100 (6 for £48.00)

Maison Chapoutier Ermitage Le Pavillon 2012
Concentrated and rich, and showing some barrel influence. Spicy, ripe, fresh cherry and berry fruits on the palate. Very modern, sleek and a bit oaky. May develop well though. 91–93/100 (6 for £732.00)

Maison Ferraton Crozes-Ermitage Le Grand Courtil 2012
Ripe, sleek and modern with lush black fruits. Quite a bit of oak impact. 87–89/100 (6 for £84.00)

Maison Ferraton Ermitage Le Méal 2012
Ripe and dense with some spice and charred oak. Ripe berry fruits. Very primary with good structure and nice density, as well as lots of oak. 89–91/100 (6 for £276.00)

Maison Nicolas Perrin Crozes-Hermitage 2012
Lovely dense meaty nose of ripe, spicy black fruits with some olive notes. The palate is ripe and rich with dense, spicy blackberry and black cherry fruit with lovely meaty undertones. 92–94/100 (6 for £72.00)

Maison Nicolas Perrin Côte-Rôtie 2012
Perfumed and slightly minty cherry fruit nose. Supple, warm, spicy palate with ripe cherries and plums. There’s a bit of warm, sweet oak too. Nice freshness; a lighter style. 91–93/100 (6 for £174.00)

Maison Nicolas Perrin Ermitage 2012
Fresh, supple and vibrant cherry and plum fruit. Elegant, fresh style with nice structure and purity. Good focus. 92–94/100 (6 for £234.00)

Domaine du Tunnel St Joseph 2012
Very fresh, supple, bright raspberry fruit showing nice purity and freshness. Some olive and pepper notes too. Good potential. 92–93/100 (6 for £108.00)

Domaine du Tunnel Cornas 2012
Bright, fresh with nice black cherry and raspberry fruit. Supple with nice acidity and goo tannins, with a savoury edge. Very fresh style. 92–94/100 (6 for £132.00)

Domaine Durand St Joseph Les Coteaux 2012
Fresh, lively and supple with bright raspberry and black cherry fruit and some nice pepper notes. Juicy, fresh and attractive. 90–92/100 (12 for £144.00)

Domaine Durand Cornas Empreintes 2012
Olive and spice nose. Nice dense cherry and berry fruit with a savoury, spicy edge. Good structure, with some freshness. 91–93/100 (12 for £228.00)

Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 60 2012
Dense yet fresh with good structure to the peppery fruit. Real presence here. Nice cherry, raspberry  and plum fruit with firm, fine-grained tannins. 92–94/100(6 for £138.00)

Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas La Geynale 2012
Fresh, focused, bright juicy cherry and plum fruit with nice tannins as well as some peppery savouriness. Good tannins on the finish. Structured and fine. 92–94/100 (6 for £156.00)

See also:

The Hill of Hermitage (series)

Wines tasted 01/11  
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