This wine, drunk from a small bottle, was another step towards discovering wines from the Northern Rhône. I was curious how this region would show in this vintage which is known as sizzling hot in European meteorology, and also how a Crozes-Hermitage, probably the AOC with the biggest reputation for making cheaper wines in the region would perform, knowing that Alain Graillot is alledgedly one of the secret tipps there.
First of all, one has to mention that the vintage 2003 has been rated 96 Points by the Grand Poobah of Points, Robert M. Parker Jr, which means according to him, the best Northern Rhône vintage since 1978 and only topped by the recent 2009 vintage (98 pts). Well, of course we all know the preferences of Mr. P. for full bodied and fruit-intense wines, so I guess we can say one thing for sure: this ain’t a “classic” vintage! I was curious to find out how this translates on my palate.
So as expected, there was fruit in the nose. Intense fruit, of berries and maybe some spice, but also seeming very very ripe, a tad plum-like, a little cooked, maybe reminding grandma’s jams.
On the palate though it is another world. The typical Rhône tannins are there as well and account for some rustic grip, but at the same time they also feel a little drying out. Fruit is there on the palate as well, but the masculine tones prevail.
So as a whole the wine seems a bit disjointed since nose and palate don’t appear totally coordinated. Judging from the tannins one could argue that this is a wine for the long run. But will the 2 pieces ever melt together in a balanced way. Doubtful. I suspect the fruit won’t appear bright anymore once the tannins are softened.
Still, this Crozes was a wine with quite some presence on the palate and worked well with some barbequed beef. But in the future I’d rather concentrate on some other vintages for this region (of course, there are always exceptions).