Late last week, Neal spent time visiting producers in the Northern Rhone. Here is his report on Guillaume Gilles:
September 20, 2013
“On Friday Sept 20, I visited with each of our five producers in the northern Rhone. I am pleased to report that the wines from both the 2011 and 2012 vintages are exceptionally strong. We will have the good fortune of working with two more fine vintages following the excellent wines produced in 2010 and 2009.
Guillaume Gilles will launch his harvest in 2013 on or about October 3. His Syrah has already developed strong color in the skins but sugars right now are at 11+. The forecast is for favorable weather for the next two or so weeks so, if that occurs, he is confident about the vintage as the grapes are clean.
His ’12s are very strong. The CdR “Les Peyrouses” is a wonder – typically showing a bit of “animal”; maturity was at ’09 and ’10 levels but with lower acidity; the somewhat short finish is all that separates it from reaching the level of “Cornas”. For the first time he left a significant % (33) of stems in the Cornas “La Combe de Chaillot” and it is the better for it – more complete in nose, mouth and finish. It is still in demi-muid. His ultimate Cornas (marriage of holdings in “Les Terrasses” and “Les Grands Murs”, in tonneaux and demi-muids), looks to be a classic Cornas – strong and strict with significant aging potential. Overall yields in 2012 were around 34 – 35 hl per hectare.
Harvest levels for Gilles in 2011 were higher (40 hl per hectare) thus the wines are more supple and elegant, a vintage to jump into here earlier than is our habit. That being said, the “Peyrouses” is really outside of its category, a rustic and assertive wine of substantial character. The “Combe de Chaillot” will yield very pleasant early drinking while its more distinguished companion – the “Cornas” of the domaine – displays more structure and material and will benefit from some more time.
We will ship the ’11s as we usually do in the spring of ’14. Note that Gilles has expanded the domaine with an additional parcel in Cornas (near the border with St Peray and St Romain de Lerps) and a small parcel in Cornas but classed Cotes du Rhone where he has planted Marsanne and Roussanne. The domaine is now at 4 hectares.
More to follow ….”