One Fine Bottle: Côte Rôtie, Clusel Roch, 2011
Fresh from the Rhone Valley, our Buying Director reports big smiles and a great sense of optimism about the quality of the upcoming vintages. In the case of the 2014s there are many delicious wines to be found, while the 2015 harvest appears to be a very healthy one indeed. For the team here in London, spurred on by the good news, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to re-familiarise ourselves with some of the great wines of the Rhone. So, without further ado we tasted through a range of wines across different styles, vintages and appellations, representing a fair snapshot of the Justerini & Brooks portfolio. Among many serious bottles, from Chateauneuf to Hermitage, one stood out for its quality, value and all-round gratification. This was the Côte Rôtie Classique 2011 from the artisanal Clusel Roch.
Clusel Roch is a biodynamic estate producing some of the most pure and gentle Cote Roties around. They avoid excessive oak and over-extraction and focus on traditional winemaking techniques that preserve the high toned fruit profile typical of the very best wines of the Northern Rhone. The Côte Rôtie Classique 2011 is 100% Syrah from vines up to 50 years old and matured for 24 months in 15% new oak prior to bottling. Open for an hour and the wine displays bright forest fruit, plums, black pepper and cloves as well as red cherry stones that lend a mineral edge. Its pretty ruby-purple colour betrays its youth and certainly there is a fine tannic backbone and crisp acidity to this, but these bring refinement and tension to the wine.
As autumn approaches and the evenings draw in, this would pair with many a hearty dish like game, roast meats, casseroles and cheese. Decanter for an hour and enjoy the bright, fruity aromas that make this wine so charming or pop a case in the cellar and follow its evolution over the years to come. At just over £30.00 per bottle all in, this offers a great deal of wine for the money.