Côte-Rôtie, Côte Brune, Gilles Barge 2010 – 100% Syrah – Averys £40.00
Côte-Rôtie is part of French wine legend, situated in the northern Rhone and practically unknown outside of France until the 1980’s. Côte-Rôtie commands an impressive and expensive reputation. First made famous by Marcel Guigal, who single handedly crafted arguable the best examples and was instrumental in the development and discovery of the area.
The vines of Côte-Rôtie cling perilously to the steep southeastern slopes of the two main peaks above the town of Ampuis. Côte Blonde, part of the Massif Central and Côte Brune. Both share similar soil makeup, consisting of predominantly Schiste and a combination of sand or clay and limestone. Wines from Côte Blonde, (sand and schist) display slightly more elegance whilst wines from The Côte Brune, (clay and limestone) are often deeper and more intense. With gradients of 60% harvesting and vineyard maintenance are seriously labour intensive, with some producers favouring pulleys and monorails in order to gain access and transport grapes down the steep terraces.
The Barge family have been growing grapes since the 1860, with Giles now head of the family. He farms 8 hectares split over Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu and Saint-Joseph, and produces wines which are held in high esteem. This is thanks in part to the use of old oak over new oak which really allows the character of the wines to shine through.
To the eye this wine is clear, with a deep appearance and a Garnet hue, there are thick tears on the swirl. The nose is pronounced and nearing full development, with a smokey, meaty and at times leather note, which almost overwhelms the delicate background of red fruit vanilla and cedar. A quick slurp displays a dry wine with high acid, and medium to high levels of tannin, it’s pronounced and certainly full bodied, with a medium level of alcohol. Notes of leather and spice coupled with the gamey meatiness are present, but there is a delicate red fruit note also. The finish is exceptionally long and the tannins are beautifully soft and integrated. This wine is outstanding and is drinking excellently now.
Pairing with hard cheeses, meaty rich casserole style dishes, this is something very special indeed. The wines of Côte-Rôtie are truly something to savour it’s not hard to see why they were kept secret for so many years. Parfait!