Exquisite 7-Year-Old Côte Rôtie

“Perfectly formed,” “seamless” Syrah from a master

The impossibly steep hillsides of the Côte Rôtie seem like the last place in the world to grow vines. With slopes reaching 60 degrees in places, all field work — planting, pruning, treating, harvesting — must be done entirely by hand. Every time we visit we wonder aloud what on earth would drive people to plant vines here.

And then we visit the Bonnefonds. Côte Rôtie syrah is unlike any other — at once dense and balanced, inky and crisp, mouthfilling and fresh. Christophe and his brother Patrick produce small batches of beautiful, concentrated syrah. Their domaine is a bit hard to find, but their wines are pure and exquisite.

Today’s offer is for one of their two top cuvées — the Côte Rôtie “Côte Rozier” 2014. Syrah simply doesn’t get any better than this. From a plot bordering the famous La Landonne, the Bonnefond brothers produce only 125 cases of their Côte Rozier per year. Think of a flabby, high-alcohol, warm weather shiraz — this is its opposite.

Côte Rôtie famously ages well, and we think this wine has many happy years ahead of it. But its soaring aromatics and gentle secondary fruit make it really beautiful today. Vinous’s Josh Raynolds awarded the 2014 Roziers 92-94 points, calling it “extremely long,” “seamless in texture” and “powerful yet lithe.” Jancis Robinson’s reviewer called it “perfectly formed.”

We found a dark perfumed nose of violets, cloves, and black raspberries. The mouth is inky and long with sturdy tannins but an unmistakable elegance — the texture is dense and very fine. On the palate there’s cherry jam, black pepper, and a hint of smoke. Picture the subtle elegance of a fine red Burgundy, with the dark fruit and spice profile of something further south.


Bonnefond Côte Rôtie “Rozier” 2014
bottle price: $59

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