2016 Domaine de Rosiers Cote Rotie “Besset”
At the farthest north bastion of the Rhone River lies Cote Rotie – the roasted slope. While this was probably the first vine plantings in all of Gaul, by the 1960s this heralded terroir was close to extinction – only 60 acres remained planted to the vine, producing what was then an obscure wine of almost entirely Syrah co-fermented with a touch of Viognier.
Today, Cote Rotie (as with much of the northern Rhone) remains tiny, but also a hotbed of activity, with young new producers making wines of astonishing quality (if also absurdly low quantities). One such producer is the Domaine de Rosiers.
Founded in 1976 by the Drevon family, today a young grandson tends the vines and makes the wine. The wine is named for the grand-cru quality Besset Vineyard, which is northernmost in the appellation. Once in the winery, they further make a barrel selection of their top barrels, leading to only 125 cases of this wine being made per year. But what a remarkable wine it is:
Dark and powerful in every direction – aromatic intensity, palate depth, and mineral length—this wine is just a baby now. But when it goes grow up and come around … trust me.. I always love to write “drink now, but will hold” but with this guy, I must admit that I tried coaxing it out of its shell for several days straight and it just needs time. Give it at least two years, and then lay down for the next 20.
And let me tell you – it’s going to be worth it. Powerful aromas of scorched earth, black pepper, and deep black fruit combine with savory garrigue and roasted fennel. The palate is powerfully intense with fully integrated tannins and lots of them. It’s got amazing structure that will yield great time in the cellar.
These days most Cote Roties are highly allocated and extremely expensive. This one is highly allocated, too, but we imported it as directly as the law will allow. It’s an amazing bargain. Don’t miss this opportunity to round out your cellar.
“95 points. Cellar Selection.
“Dark char, iron and black pepper lend an earthen tone to sultry black cherry and plum in this wine. It’s richly concentrated and studded with piquant notes of vanilla, anise and nutmeg, but vibrantly balanced too. A bit flamboyant in its youth it’s structured enough to gain balance and finesse through 2035.” – Wine Spectator
“This is a single vineyard cuvee from the Besset vineyard that is situated at the northern end of the appellation and at the top of the slope. Besset is very steep and considered a “Grand Cru” quality vineyard. Never more than 250 (6pk) cases made; 98% Syrah & 2% Viognier; aged in a maximum of 50% new oak for 18 months. The backward, tannic 2015 Cote Rotie Besset is a barrel selection of the estate’s best parcels. It’s inky in hue, with dark aromas of charcoal and espresso. Rugged and intense tannins are balanced by a ripe, velvety feel and mouthwatering meaty, dark-fruit flavors. Impressive.” – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate