vines and river valley Cote Rotie

Regional photo Cote Rotie

Spring Wine Tasting Notes-Syrah  Côte-Rôtie

One of the best things about being a sommelier is the fabulous opportunity to indulge in wine tastings and writing up those so valuable to keep,  wine tasting notes. So in early Spring/late Winter I travelled to Ampuis for the foire des vins d’ampuis to gather some new wine tasting notes on the regional wine.  In essence this   meeting is when most of the producers of Côte-Rôtie wines show their wines to the trade and also to some of the public in the small county ball room of Ampuis.

The wines to be tasted are the 2011 vintage and as I have not been following this vintage closely it will be an opportunity to connect with few friends from the region. We enjoyed the tasting sessions, making our wine tasting notes and getting a clearer picture of the vintage as a whole.

Obviously, when tasting the 2011, the tastes of Hora 2010 still overshadowed, not just as the inner quality of the wines but also on the easiness to produce wine in 2010.  2011 was not so easy to say the least.

Impact of the weather-vines and wine tasting

Almost like in Burgundy, the very intense rain did not facilitate vineyards works and duties, and with the added pressure from vine illnesses, making it very difficult to act. It took very strong, old vines to manage the volume of water sent from the skies and which had the impact of diluting all minerals in soils.  Reduced crop, grass and soil management were key management techniques in 2011.

By mid-August, the weather turned around and wind picked up, leading to a maturity of fruit and stems, as well as having the benefit of opening the vineyards for late duties. The reduction in rain also reduced the pressure from illnesses.

Harvests happened toward the end of September, which means a very long hanging time for the fruit, but worth it! Production, like in burgundy, was down by 20% but everything I had the pleasure of making wine tasting notes about on that day was really driven and expressive.

In summary my wine tasting notes recored that overall the quality is up with some other great vintages, however, I think that the styles of wines and their composition will demand not much waiting time. In essence I do think that they will deliver for a while but that there is really no need to sit on those wines for too long either.

A great transition vintage for us to enjoy whilst waiting for some of the ‘05, ‘09 and ‘10’s.


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