Louis Bernard Reviews
Bright and juicy, with cherry paste and raspberry purée notes spilling forth, backed by anise, apple wood and tobacco notes through the rich finish. Approachable, but no rush at all. Grenache and Syrah. Drink now through 2030. 2,700 cases made, 200 cases imported. — JM
The full-bodied 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Domaine la Crau des Papes is a fine effort from this widely distributed négociant. Garrigue, tea and floral notes accent raspberry and cherry fruit in this silky-textured wine, which remains lively and fresh through the long finish.
As I predicted last year, Louis Bernard's 2016 Gigondas has turned out well and will undoubtedly be an excellent value once pricing is released (the 2014 is the latest vintage available in the United States at the time of this writing). Hints of garrigue accent ripe cherry and stone fruit aromas, while the full-bodied palate is creamy and supple in texture. It's already so drinkable, so sexy, that I question its ability to age, so enjoy it over the next 6-7 years.
Slightly more expensive, the 2016 Vacqueyras Domaine de Montbayon is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre that was brought up all in tank. It offers plenty of earthy black and blue fruits, peppery herbs and hints of violets in a full-bodied, impressively concentrated, balanced style. It’s just another outstanding looking barrel sample from this negociant.
The 2015 Côtes du Rhône Villages is an outstanding Southern Rhône that has loads of ripe strawberry and raspberry fruits, medium-bodied richness and a peppery, spicy style on the palate that makes it a joy to drink. It’s a terrific value to buy by the case and enjoy over the coming 2-3 years.
Year's Best Rhone
Red cherry flavors ring out with bell-tone clarity in this wine, herbal notes edging the ripe, juicy flavors. It feels cool and fresh, with a little vanilla and spice to smooth over the stony flavors beneath the fruit.
This isn’t the biggest or ripest Côtes du Rhône, but it balances hints of greenness with fresh cherry fruit. The floral notes on the nose are attractive, while the wine finishes firm and crisp. Boisset Family Estates. —J.C.
This well known négociant has turned in a sold effort. The nose is slightly herbal, but with attractive black-pepper shadings, while the fruit flavors favor dark skinned plum. Drink this medium-bodied, supple wine over the next few years. —J.C.
Lightly nutty, with a toasted almond note followed by yellow apple and shortbread flavors. A dried pineapple hint shows on the finish.