Patrick and Christophe Bonnefond’s wines somehow keep getting better. They’ve enjoyed a string of excellent recent vintages in the vines, but they also seem to be hitting their stride in the cellar. Once firmly in the ripe, oaky, “extroverted” camp that made them a darling of Robert Parker, the domaine has shifted towards subtler expression in recent years: less time in oak, larger barrels, and earlier harvests.
The Bonnefonds now achieve an extraordinary subtlety in their wines — it’s still bold, brooding, inky-dark Northern Rhône Syrah, but somehow also with subtlety, grace, and lift. Vinous’s Josh Raynolds called the 2018s “the single most impressive set of bottlings since I started here back in 2005.”
We were similarly blown away by the 2018s from Bonnnefond, and enthusiastically recommend their fancier cuvées (Rochins and Rozier) for the back of your cellar. Today we’re suggesting Bonnefond’s entry-level Côte Rôtie “Colline de Couzou,” a wine we think will continue to improve for a decade, but one that’s flat out delicious today.
Raynolds called it “awfully impressive” and “distinctly suave,” awarding it 93 points. We found the dark, ripe fruit just lovely, with added notes of pepper, minerals, and maybe a touch of iodine. If it doesn’t have quite the depth and teeth-staining concentration of its older brothers, it offers a remarkable amount of polish and sophistication sub $60.
This is certainly the best vintage of this wine in recent memory; we’d compare it to the Rochins cuvée in a less favorable year. Pair it with slow-roasted lamb on a springtime Sunday afternoon. (And if you’re looking for an excuse to pick up some 1855 Grassl Glasses, we can’t think of a better wine to christen them.)
Bonnefond Côte Rôtie 2018
bottle price: $58
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