2016 Barruol-Lynch, Crozes-Hermitage Rouge “Tenay” Northern Rhone, France -photo grapelive

2016 Barruol-Lynch, Crozes-Hermitage Rouge “Tenay” Northern Rhone, France.
The two barrel Tenay cuvee, both from the lieu-dit of the same name, Crozes-Hermitage by Barruol-Lynch is a polished effort with distinct wood presence in this 2016 and loads of ripe fruit, making it a bit unique, it is almost Aussie like at first, but does unwind nicely gaining the classic granite based soil character with air, though lacking the aromatics of vintage at this early stage. After having the Saint-Cosme Crozes recently, I must admit to be somewhat disappointed by this version of which I had so much hope for, though that said it is a well made and offers a lot of Syrah for the money and it has pleasing depth of black and blue fruit that shows detailed flavors and mouth filling hedonism. There is also the expectation of evolution over the next three or so years in bottle.

The Barruol Lynch project may seem strange, considering they, Kermit Lynch the famed importer and Louis Barruol the owner winemaker at his Chateau de Saint-Cosme, are in almost every sense competitors, but such is the respect for each other the two have, it not only works, it thrives and they have found a complete separate niche into which to join forces. Over the last five or so vintages the range has expanded beyond the original Cotes-du-Rhone into this series of wines work for both parties, that includes a set of Cote-Rotie, a Saint-Joseph and three Crozes-Hermitage-Hermitage(s), with this Tenay being one. Kermit Lynch, the American importer and wine crazy pioneer, who owes the Gigondas domaine of Les Pallieres and who brings in the famous Vieux Telegraph wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, is very much involved in creating each cuvee, sometime hand picking barrels or helping in blending trials. This under the radar lineup deserves attention and it is worth searching them out, in particular the Cote-Rotie bottlings, I especially like the Neve and La Viaillere, both stellar values and beautiful wines.

The 2016 Tenay, coming from 30 to 50 year old vines, as mentioned set on pure granite soils, was all hand picked and carefully sorted, and with the Barruol-Lynch practice of using only about 10% whole cluster and only used barrels, with this 2016 getting about a 3 week maceration and cement tank fermentation. The evevage lasted close to 15 months in the 1 and 2 times used barrels and it was bottled unfined and unfiltered, which may explain the more sweet and toasty oak presence at this point.

The profile stays dark on the rich palate and it is lovely deep in color in the glass showing a bright garnet edge and an opaque purple core, very traditional 100% Syrah in look and feel, it just is missing the classic violets on the nose, keeping it from being a true great, though I could be eating my words in a few years, I hope it’s potential is realized as it does have a ton of class and length. The layered fruit includes blackberry, boysenberry, plum and a mix of kirsch and cassis elements, along with vanilla, smoke and cedar notes as well as subtle spice, fig paste, mineral and anise. Ultra refined and with seductive density there is plenty of pleasure on offer here, I’d hold it for a few years more to allow it to mature, best from 2021 to 2028, and be sure to have with robust cuisine, especially if you open it sooner.
($35 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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