Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 12, 2016

2014combierch2014 Domaine Combier, Crozes-Hermitage Rouge, Rhone, France.
The latest Domaine Combier Crozes is mineral and spice driven with a heady mix of succulent and savory layers with crushed violets, peppercorns, black olive, flinty stones adding complexity to blueberry, boysenberry, plum and kirsch fruit. This is a Domaine on the move with lots of energy and the wines are getting better each vintage, much of Combier’s rise can be seen in Maurice’s son and new winemaker Laurent Combier, he has revamped the program here, expanded the Chai and brought youthful passion into the winery and it shows in the wines here and the small lots he does under his own label, these are noteworthy wines in the same league as Alain and Maxime Graillot, pure Crozes-Hermitage goodness. Laurent, at Domaine Combier, ferments the Syrah in stainless, temp. controlled vats and then ages in used oak barrels, everything here is de-stemed. Note, Laurent’s own cuvees are now done in concrete eggs and he is also doing a special single site wine that sees 25% new wood. The sites for the Domaine Combier Crozes-Hermitage are mostly with light granite influence, some sandy soils and clay/silt, this mix gives plush fruit, mineral tones and hints of game. The 2014 is medium weight, lengthy on the palate with nice vigor and intensity, it has a juicy nature and lingers with a touch of creme de cassis, black licorice and loamy earth notes. Maybe not as thrilling as Cornas or as pretty as Saint-Joseph, this is a lovely Syrah that is finely crafted, well balanced and a joy to drink, it should develop over the next 3 to 5 years nicely, but it will not ever become overly serious, enjoy young.
($32 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive