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Domaine Jean Grivot Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2004
"Good full medium red. Aromas of cherry, raspberry and red licorice lifted by a floral topnote. Lush and broad in texture but a bit youthfully inexpressive, showing less early sweetness than most of the 2004s at this address."
-International Wine Cellar
"This has aggressive tannins now, and needs air to reveal its mocha, cherry, spice and mineral notes, yet shows a purity like a beam from start to finish."
90-92 points Allen Meadows (Burghound.com): "Grivot said that the malo had only just finished 3 weeks before my visit and the nose reflects it as the heavy reduction rendered the nose almost impossible to read. The big, rich and youthfully austere flavors are bold, intense, powerful and chewy with an earthy, well-structured and impressively long finish."
Jean Grivot, Gaston's son, also studied at the University of Dijon. His marriage into the Jayer family (for whom Grivot also consults and produces wines) consolidated family holdings; vineyards in Chambolle, Vosne-Romanée, Les Rouges and Echézeaux were added through inheritance. A parcel of Richebourg was acquired in 1984 from the Vienot estate. Etienne Grivot, the family's youngest vintner, now runs this remarkable estate. He has been praised as one of Burgundy's most innovative new talents.
Etienne Grivot believes in dense planting for small crops, with a continuing emphasis on full, rich Pinot Noir fruit. He strives to make ripe wines with a complete, well-rounded bouquet. Grivot formerly employed the controversial oenologist Guy Accad. While Etienne learned a great deal from the Accad experience, he now practices gentle and non-intrusive winemaking.
An appellation full of some of the most delightful and particularly charming reds, Cotes du Rhone Villages includes the best villages of the greater Cotes du Rhone appellation. The possibility for an appellation promotion exists for each named village but each has to achieve and prove superior quality before an upgrade will be granted. The main ones today are Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Beaumes-de-Venise, Vinsobres, Rasteau and Cairanne.
The Gigondas appellation, while sometimes producing wines with a touch of rusticity, can often rival Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Its elevations are higher and soils richer in limestone. Vacqueyras reds are more concentrated than the generic Cotes du Rhone reds and must be at least 50% Grenache by law. Beaumes de Venise also includes some excellent higher elevation spots for making snappy, fruity and spicy reds but historically the appellation’s esteem came from its fragrant, sweet and golden Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.
In the Glass
The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.
Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.
Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin, and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.