2015 Domaine Robert Serol, Cote Roannaise “Oudan” Loire Valley, France.
Once thought of as the lost Cru of Beaujolais, Cote Roannaise is in it’s own unique terroir and completely isolated from it’s own region which is technically the Loire and it shares more with the upper Rhone if you were to be honest, but it is home to some of the finest and most intriguing Gamay wines in France, and Domaine Serol is one of the best, especially this single south facing plot Oudan. The Cru Beaujolais, Fleurie or Morgon say, in 2015 were super charged and fruity expressions from this warm vintage, where the higher elevation and cooler Cote Roannaise was better suited to make the most of what nature provided and the wines are less candied and more finessed, but still with deep richness and amazing texture. Usually warm vintages prove to be good for the high acid Gamay, though they can lose a bit of complexity, not the case here with Domaine Robert Serol in 2015 where Stephane has crafted a fantastic Gamay collection from individual parcels, in particular this Oudan shines, it takes on a granite influenced, almost Rhonish personality. Stephane and Carine Serol’s estate is now certified Ecocert organic and their Gamay is a rare clone called Gamay Saint Romain, which I’m sure contributes to the wines color, profile and details which are expressive and charming, but with a remoteness and poise that make them highly entertaining in a way you would normally feel about a Saint-Joseph or a Cote de Nuits Bourgogne, these are wines full of passion and energy, though somehow subtle and restrained, they seduce on a emotional level. The 2015 Oudan is dark with a purple/garnet core and ruby edges, it starts with crushed violets, cool stones, mineral and blue fruits with vibrant flavors, wonderful textural mouth feel and exotic spices, it expresses wild plum, strawberry, black cherry, sweet and tangy currant jelly and earthy blueberry fruits along with anise, flint dust, saline, lavender oil and light cedar/walnut shadings. This partial whole cluster Gamay shows joyous plush depth, satiny tannin and stylish length, this Serol Oudan rocks, Cote Roannaise is to France what the Ribeira Sacra is to Spain, maybe the best yet from this estate, drink from 2017 to 2024, don’t miss this one!
($23 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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