2016 Gilles Robin, Crozes-Hermitage Rouge “Papillon” a Leonie et Lucie, Rhone Valley, France.
A brilliantly pure Syrah from Gilles Robin, the Papillon cuvee Crozes-Hermitage is a fresh, un-oaked and destemmed wine that delivers a medium/full bodied dark fruited and hued example of northern Rhone charmer! If you want absolute clarity of what a shear and transparent Syrah should be, you should get yourself this wine, it defines, simply and with some class what this grape is and what terroir does. I have enjoyed many vintages of Robin’s wines and in particular this cuvee Papillon and have always admired their feminine, authentic and vigorous style, and this 2016 is showing wonderfully well and it’s bright youthfulness a welcome detail, this is a wine to enjoy now. Gilles Robin has more serious Hermitage, Saint-Joseph and higher end Crozes too, all of which deserve far greater attention, but it is his Papillon that always catches my eye and taste buds, it’s a superb value as well as a tasty spicy treat. Gilles Robin took over the vines in 1996 and they practice organic farming, these wines, imported by Martine’s Wines, are always impressive, if not exotic or blockbusters, they are good standard bearers for solid quality, I’m lucky enough to have tasted with Gilles Robin on more than a few occasions over the years, so it’s always a pleasure to taste his latest releases, and this 2016, with it’s juicy acidity, is a beauty. This vintage, which follows a much hyped year, is remarkably expressive and exciting with crushed violets, flinty/peppercorns, blue fruits and a savory mix of earth, bitter herbs/bay leaf and anise with a core of boysenberry, black cherry, currant/cassis and damson plum fruits. This wine has a lighter/brisk feel about it, without taking away from it’s complete joyous whole and can be very stylish with robust cuisine and even served as a slightly chilled red quaffer, this is the little Syrah that could, drink over the next year or so.
($24 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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