The Northern Rhône produces the world’s most complex and balanced expressions of Syrah. Particularly in Côte Rôtie, at the region’s northern limit, the wines combine inky, black, masculine fruit with extraordinary lift and finesse. Our producer in Côte Rôtie is Christophe Bonnefond, who seems to make more impressive and well-balanced wines each year.
Indeed his 2020s are magnificent. Josh Raynolds of Vinous writes “the 2020s are shaping up to be as impressive, especially in terms of elegance, as any bottlings I have experienced here.” Having bought here for nearly 20 years, we agree — the wines have never been better.
Christophe and his daughter Léa Bonnefond make two site-specific bottlings, both of which border the famous La Landonne vineyard in Côte Rôtie. Both cuvées — Rozier and Rochins — are terrific in 2020, but we’re singling out Rochins today. It’s the more powerful of the two, with bigger shoulders and a longer finish. The 2020s will be delicious young — indeed spitting them out during our tasting last spring was a real challenge — but their intensity should carry them a decade in the cellar with ease.
The Côte Rôtie Rochins 2020 is beautifully balanced Syrah — the one third new oak provides careful guardrails for the lush fruit, and is perfectly integrated. The nose shows cassis, blackberries, toast, smoke and spice. The mouth is extremely long, but without an ounce of heaviness. Raynolds awarded 95 points, finding “candied flowers [that] take on a smoky mineral nuance with aeration,” calling the mouth “velvety and round” with notes of “cherry-cola, olive paste, and spicecake.”
If you’ve got a taste for Côte Rôtie, this is a stunning wine in a top notch vintage.
Bonnefond Côte Rôtie “Rochins” 2020
bottle price: $78
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