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Rhône Wines

by Tom Cannavan, 02/98

This was part four of the private cellar assessment/tasting (see "Private cellar 1" for details). Once again, many of these wines should have been consumed years ago. In addition, I suspect several of them were never up to much. The difference between the range of wines from Paul Jaboulet and those from the négociant Leon Revol was remarkable and shows how potent good (or bad!) wine-making is. Scores awarded out of 100 again.

Flight One. Northern Rhône

St-Joseph 1985, Pierre Coursodon
Blackish colour fringed with ochre. Weedy, unattractive, wet nappy nose. Dried out on the palate, with no fruit and no obvious attraction. Dispose? 70/100.

St-Joseph Grand Pompée 1984, Paul Jaboulet Aine
Tawny brown colour. Giving very little on the nose - suggestion of burnt sugar/caramel. Mostly tannin now, with some peppery, meaty flavours, but seriously lacking fruit. Short on the finish. Drink-up. 82/100.

St-Joseph Réserve Personelle 1985, Paul Jaboulet Aine
Dark, opaque colour. Rather brackish, backwater nose. Loads of earthy flavour on the palate. Ripe black fruits, spice, nicely ripe and rounded tannins. Chewy texture. Fine finish too. Drinking well, but needs to be used up soon. 87/100.

Cornas 1981, Leon Revol
Revol is, I presume, a négociant. I've never come across his wines before. Ruby colour going brown. Dumb on the nose and a little rubbery. Sugared and unexpectedly sweet. Some fruit there too, and the finish is decent with very mellow tannins and no perceptible acidity. A bit unbalanced and artificially bright. Drink soon. 83/100

Cornas 1984, Paul Jaboulet Aine
Ruby red fading to amber at the rim. Grapey nose, woody and a little mouldy smelling. Out of balance now unfortunately and harsh on the finish. Past its best. Discard? 72/100.

Cornas 1983, Paul Jaboulet Aine
Still quite a bright ruby/garnet colour. A bit richer on the nose, with some dark fruit and spice. Pretty tough and sinewy this one with firm tannins, but fine structure and balance. Lovely savoury acidity and smoky, grilled fruit quality. The finish is long and pleasing. Keep 3 to 5 years. 87/100.

Crozes-Hermitage "Domaine Thalabert" 1986, Paul Jaboulet Aine
Blackish centre with rich, ruby rim. Tarry, blackcurrant nose. Some sweet cherry fruit on the palate with obvious peppery notes. Good tannins and succulent acidity leading to a long, pure finish. Absolutely point, but will keep a few years I guess. 88/100.

Côte Rôtie 1985, Leon Revol
Blackish colour, grey rim. Not entirely pleasant burnt, weedy nose. Very sugary again. palatable but non-descript. Mellow finish with soft tannins and low acidity. Easy drinking but not going anywhere. 83/100.

Hermitage 1983, Leon Revol
Quite brown with wide, pale rim. Nice nose of sweet red fruit with a smoky edge. Trademark over-sweetness again, and some nice dusty fruit. Very commercial. Drink over next couple of years. 85/100.

Flight Two. Southern Rhône

Gigondas 1986, L'Oustau Fouquet
Very watery, tawny colour. Slightly acrid nose, but some fruit. Dumb really. Palate is better. Quite well balanced, with soft raspberry fruit, nice soft tannins and decent weight. Structured and finishes quite well. Drink over next 3 years. 86/100.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1982, Château de la Gardine
Really murky brown colour. Burnt, peppery edge to the nose, but plenty of sweet black fruit too. Drying up a bit and rather astringent. Drink up soon. 84/100.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1987, La Bouqueterie
Thin, browning colour. Very clean on the nose with green bean/vegetal quality. Slightly sweet, jammy fruit but good structure with firm tannins, lemony acidity and medium weight. Finish is long and pure. Good for 3 to 5 years. 86/100.

Go to Private cellar 1