Monday, January 2, 2012

Updated Review: *** $ Delas Saint Esprit Cotes du Rhone Rouge, France, 2007 - BEST VALUE

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By way of background: The Delas Saint Esprit Cotes du Rhone Rouge is made from a blend of syrah, grenache, mourvedre and carignan grapes, which come from a small village in the Ardeche region of the Cotes du Rhone, France. The 2007 vintage is finished at 13.5% alcohol.

Original Review:  February, 2010:

In the glass: Delas Saint Esprit Cotes du Rhone shows as deep purple burgundy in the glass, opaque to within an inch of the edge.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, this Cotes du Rhone offers deep, bold fresh aromas of just squeezed blackberries and red and black currants.

On the palate: The first element on the palate is a peppery red fruit smack in the middle of your tongue.  This opens into more pepper sliding along your tongue to your cheeks on waves of a bright red and purple fruit. 

And the finish: The finish begins with bright pepper acids in your cheeks, ejecting additional red fruit.

In summary: Overall, a brighter experience in the palate than the nose would have suggested.  Rates two stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus because it has the stuffing to mellow down to a better balance with age or air.

The Wine Advocate awarded 90 points to this Cotes du Rhone, with this commentary: "This great northern Rhone negociant, spearheaded by their brilliant oenologist and winemaker, Jacques Grange, has consistently made fabulous wines from the northern appellations, but only recently upgraded the quality of their southern Rhone selections. These are the finest southern Rhones they make, and their Cotes du Rhone St.-Esprit ranks alongside the offerings from Guigal and Chapoutier."

Following a four-day decant under vacuum in a partially-filled bottle:  The aroma is solid and has grown even meatier.  Still all pepper and redness in the middle.  Slightly better balance overall.  Still intensely "bright".

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Updated review, almost two years later,  January, 2012:  Consistent color.  The nose has grown old-worldish and almost vegetable in nature, with mush blackberries as a key component.  And the palate has grown softer and more luxurious too, with languorous fruit being toned just a little bit by the hints of remaining pepper.  It does touch three stars now, but not a single additional month should be allowed before this bottle - five years from vintage date - is enjoyed. Best value. 

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