2009Levet2009 Bernard Levet, Cote-Rotie, Les Journaries, Northern Rhone, France.
I was first introduced to the Levet wines with the 2005 vintages, and I was instantly smitten with them, the following three vintages even proved better still, and now the 2009 is out and it is hard to not absolutely love it, the Les Journaries is a wonderful Syrah from one of Cote-Rotie(s) best sites, the La Landonne Lieu-Dit in Ampuis. Neal Rosenthal, importer, while giving a seminar on his personal favorite wines, styles and terroirs picked this wine out in particular to show his preference for true authentic wines, and without question you can taste and feel that in this lovely and slightly funky wine. My written tasting note, starts with “Absolutely gorgeous Cote-Rotie” though very much what I felt in the moment I must also note that is not the polished, smoky sweet style that you see mostly these days, this is old world stuff that may even remind you of Hermitage or Cornas with loads of character, earthy/gamey elements and some solid/robust tannins. The Levet Cote-Rotie Les Journaries was fermented in epoxy lined vats, it see almost all stems included and is raised in mixed size wood for three years, the malo takes up to a year in big cask, then the wine is transferred to demi-muids, though some gets into small barrels, only about 10-15% of any oak is new, there is a light fining, but it is not filtered. The result is impressive and deeply flavorful, especially this warm vintage 2009 which really lends itself to Levet’s style and allows early drinking pleasure on a wine that ages sublimely and usually requires some patience. The 2009 Les Journaries starts with a heady mix of dried wild flowers, violets, cigar wrapped, white pepper, bacon fat and fig paste along with black fruits, the palate is full and dense with blackberry, boysenberry, damson plum, blueberry and dried currant fruits as well as graphite, truffle/loamy notes, fresh tilled soil, flinty/iron and lavender oil with a touch of cedar, anise and mixed spice. You can feel the stems, but they add charm and grip, this is not a shy wine, but there is a classic not perfect grace that shines through and it keeps you totally involved and intrigued throughout, this is pleasing and entertaining stuff, drink from 2016 to 2027.
($65 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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