[LONG] TN: J et R Selections (mostly Rhones)

Here are my notes from a recent tasting put on by JC Mathes of J et R Selections
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, a smallish importer who specializes in wines from small domaines in the Rhône Valley, with a few domaines from elsewhere in France. All told, they import 140 different domaines, and IMO generally bring in wines of character and value. Last night's wines:
2001 Dom. des Fortiéres Beaujolais-Villages nose: slightly corked (but less than the previous bottle that they opened -- not a good sign), with a touch of heat and light fruitiness beneath palate: tart upon entry, light berryish fruit and finishes thin This was being offered for ~$5, but even at that price not much of a bargain. JC spoke about the commitment of the domaine to traditional vinification, but when compared to Terres Dorees it just doesn't compare.
1999 Thibert Pouilly-Fuissé nose: butterscotch and minerals palate: slightly creamy entry, with modest pineapple and lemon fruit At the price it was offered for (~$11), it makes for a decent Chardonnay for near term drinking, though not a big scale wine at all.
1999 Seguinot-Bordet Chablis Vielles Vignes nose: toasty, leesy elements with a hint of fruit showing palate: more leesy notes with lemon in the finish Another modestly priced Chardonnay (~$15), but not my cup of Chablis. I've been spoiled by Dauvissat, alas, and there's just no going back...
Then, on to the Rhone: 2000 La Tourade Côtes du Rhône nose: bananas (!!) and bright red fruit palate: slightly gamey upon entry, with acids and red fruit in the midpalate, before a moderately tannic finish Somewhat bizzare for CdR. I tried to find out if they were using "maceration carbonique" but didn't get a chance. That nose sure put me in mind of wines of that ilk, though.
1999 La Tourade Vacqueyras nose: gamey , cherries, smoke palate: acidic on entry, giving way to cherry fruit and medium body, giving way to gaminess in the finish. Now this is more like it (at ~$15)! Made from 80/10/10 Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre (as are all their Gigondas cuveés), it has that funkiness that I associate with Vacqueyras (guaranteed to turn Jean off in a heartbeat). Quite a nice value.
2000 La Tourade Vacqueyras nose: gamey, cherries palate: softer on entry than the '99, rich fruit in the midpalate before an acidic finish. Softer and simpler than the '99, but still a decent wine. Between the two, however, I preferred the '99.
1999 La Tourade Gigondas nose: slightly floral, with minerals, cherry and smoke palate: acidic entry, cherry, gaminess, with mild tannins and acid in the finish This cuvée was made from younger vines, but still has substance and character. Quite typical of Gigondas (IMO) and a decent bargain at $18.
2000 La Tourade Gigondas nose: cherry and minerals palate: acidic, slightly thinner and less appealing than the '99, but similar in character
1998 La Tourade Gigondas Cuvée Font des Aieux nose: deep cherry fruit palate: pencil lead, tannins in the midpalate, modestly fruity Similar in many ways to a decent CdP, this wine didn't have quite enough fruit to go with the still substantial tannins.
2000 La Tourade Gigondas Cuvée Font des Aieux nose: some heat, and oak(??) with deep cherry fruit palate: rich mouthfeel, lots of cherryish fruit and a tannic finish This was the biggest of the Gigondas stable, but also more expensive (~$24). This one might develop into something very interesting in a few years, though.
2000 La Tourade Gigondas Cuvée Morgan nose: licorice and volatile esters palate: licorice, cedar, red fruit and an oaky finish This, according to JC, is the domaine's bow to American taste: Gigondas aged in new barriques. JC only imports it because his customers love it (he doesn't). I'm with JC: this is closer to Zin or Aussie Shiraz than Gigondas.
Of all the Gigondas tasted from this producer, the '99 regular cuvée and the 2000 Font des Aieux stood out. It would have been fun to try the '99 Font des Aieux as I generally preferred the wines from that year, but it wasn't available.
1999 Grand Tinel Chateauneuf du Pape nose: leather, tobacco and some fruit underneath palate: rich mouthfeel, cherry fruit, before a clean finish A very nice CdP selling for a Gigondas price (~$25). After the earlier wines, this came across as big and rich. Yum!
1999 Bois de Boursan Chateauneuf du Pape nose: gamey, leather and seaweed palate: slightly alcholic on entry, giving way to deep cherry fruit and an acidic finish Yes, this is the same wine I tasted last week! (5 wines from J et R at the last tasting) If you go back and read my notes from that tasting, you'll see why I'm not a professional wine reviewer. ;-) Good stuff, though (~$30).
2001 Domaine du Pégaü Chateauneuf du Pape nose: slightly corked (dammit! it was the last bottle, too), flowers and fruit beneath palate: big wine, lots of cherry and berryish fruit, tannic and tarry before a 60 second finish. WOW! I can only imagine what this wine would have been like if it hadn't been corked, but still impressive. I missed out on the 2000 Pégaü, but as I had it at last year's J et R tasting, I wasn't too torn up. People who had both were largely more favorable about the 2000, but it could simply be that it was a year softer (actually, the 2000 is probably bigger IIRC). The only thing not to like is the price ($48), but that's the price of success...
Overall, a great tasting put on by a great guy (JC). The wines were generally of quite high quality, with lots of personality and very reasonably priced wines. As they are now distributed in over a dozen states in the US (see the website for names) these are wines worth looking for.
Mark Lipton
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Mark Lipton
] Here are my notes from a recent tasting put on by JC Mathes of J et R ] Selections
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, a smallish importer who ] specializes in wines from small domaines in the Rh=F4ne Valley, with a few ] domaines from elsewhere in France. All told, they import 140 different ] domaines, and IMO generally bring in wines of character and value. Last ] night's wines: ]=20 [snip] ] Then, on to the Rhone: ] 2000 La Tourade C=F4tes du Rh=F4ne ] nose: bananas (!!) and bright red fruit ] palate: slightly gamey upon entry, with acids and red fruit in the ] midpalate, before a moderately tannic finish ] Somewhat bizzare for CdR. I tried to find out if they were using ] "maceration carbonique" but didn't get a chance. That nose sure put me ] in mind of wines of that ilk, though. ]=20
Hi Mark,
Thanks for the notes. I don't know La Tourade, but looked it up following your post. The wine above is listed as 90% Grenache, 10% syrah (in Hachett= e) and the writeup mentions "traditional" CdR style, not reflected in your tas= ting. I wonder if these wines had just arrived, and were suffering from a bit of= =20 travel shock?
[] ] 2000 La Tourade Vacqueyras ] nose: gamey, cherries ] palate: softer on entry than the '99, rich fruit in the midpalate before ] an acidic finish. ] Softer and simpler than the '99, but still a decent wine. Between the ] two, however, I preferred the '99. ]=20
They disagree specifically on the finish, noting a "soft, short finish." (r= oughly). Again, bottle shock? The rest of your note agrees with the panel, though.
[snip] ] 2000 La Tourade Gigondas Cuv=E9e Font des Aieux ] nose: some heat, and oak(??) with deep cherry fruit ] palate: rich mouthfeel, lots of cherryish fruit and a tannic finish ] This was the biggest of the Gigondas stable, but also more expensive ] (~$24). This one might develop into something very interesting in a few ] years, though. ]=20
Hachette's panel loved this wine, too. Listed in the 11-15 EU range "depar= t cave."
[] ] 1999 Grand Tinel Chateauneuf du Pape ] nose: leather, tobacco and some fruit underneath ] palate: rich mouthfeel, cherry fruit, before a clean finish ] A very nice CdP selling for a Gigondas price (~$25). After the earlier ] wines, this came across as big and rich. Yum! ]=20
I've always had a soft spot for this domain, a very nice family (kids and a= ll) and thankfully wines that have never been "parkerized." You may remember my relating that we used to get scads of a young vine CdP declass=E9 sold as table wine for 12 FF a bottle in the early-mid 90s, until the neighbors= =20 complained (theirs, not ours -- our neighbors often took a case or two of our order).
Glad to hear that the price is staying reasonable in your neck of the woods. Grand Tinel usually does very well in "lesser" years, with bottles that can be drunk or held.
] 1999 Bois de Boursan Chateauneuf du Pape ] nose: gamey, leather and seaweed ] palate: slightly alcholic on entry, giving way to deep cherry fruit and ] an acidic finish ] Yes, this is the same wine I tasted last week! (5 wines from J et R at ] the last tasting) If you go back and read my notes from that tasting, ] you'll see why I'm not a professional wine reviewer. ;-) Good stuff, ] though (~$30). ]=20
Yep, my consistancy suffers too, when compared to the pros! :)
But, this sounds shocked too. An out!
] 2001 Domaine du P=E9ga=FC Chateauneuf du Pape ] nose: slightly corked (dammit! it was the last bottle, too), flowers ] and fruit beneath []
Too bad! Was there no other bottle? He's selling the stuff, right? Why let the clients taste a corked bottle?
Thanks again for the notes.
-E
--=20 Emery Davis You can reply to snipped-for-privacy@ebayadelka.com by removing the well known companies
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Emery Davis
Mark, thanks for the notes
Few basic Beaujolais-Villages do!
Yes, once R & V have a hold of you.... But I've enjoyed some Brocards, Picqs, Savarys and Droins lately (though that "it ain't Dauvissat" chorus can get in your mind, I always think "but it's not Dauvissat pricing either").
I've read that banana nose to the DuBoeufs relates to the yeast used- maybe they use the same strain?
At least success as referenced by ParkerPoints! :)
great notes, thanks, best to Jean Dale
Dale Williams Drop "damnspam" to reply
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Dale Williams

tasting.
Emery, The CdR was in truth quite traditional, apart from the volatile esters in the nose. Several other people I talked to didn't get it, so maybe I was just off that night.
(roughly).
Well, I did find it soft on entry, but in any tasting where I'm not pairing the wine with food the acids will tend to show in the finish. Not a bad sign at all IMO, so maybe the Hachette tasters were simply differently calibrated.
cave."
*sigh* Sounds about right. At that price, I would have bought a case. For the benefit of US readers unfamiliar with the marketing of wines in France, it should be noted that wines will tend to be less expensive at the winery than in the store, unlike the situation in the US.
Yes, though keep in mind that the prices I quote are "sale" prices as J et R try to sell of their back inventory as they bring in the 2001s. On release, the Grand Tinel would have sold for ~$30. Still, Grand Tinel, Font de Michelle and Vieux Donjon represent the "values" in CdP these days -- and at least the first two are run by very nice folks.
Part of the problem may have been "taster shock." It was -3° F that night, and I had to drive 60 miles to the tasting (one of the several reasons that I spit!) -- but they might also have trucked the wines down from Michigan that day (where the weather was far worse) so the bottles may have suffered somewhat.
Here's the story: they brought 3 bottles, but one of the sad realities of tasting in Indy is that the majority of people will automatically gravitate to the big, expensive wines instantly. I, OTOH, tasted slowly through the entire line, so when I got to the Pégaü at the end the 2000 was gone entirely and the 2001 was down to the last bottle -- which was slightly corked to my taste. Also, the guy pouring is less sensitive to TCA than I (and we both know it), so unless someone else told him, he wasn't likely to know it. It is a testament to the power of the wine that I was able to get any sense of the wine at all.
You're most welcome, as always, Emery. Thanks for the input.
Mark Lipton
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Mark Lipton

True. I guess I'm spoiled in that region, too! ;-)
Most recently, I believe that René's name no longer appears on the label. Since my first bottle had *only* his name, I suppose that I've now presided over the generational change there, as I suppose I also have with Chave's wines...
Those names are now recorded for future reference. Truth be told, however, I have to order Dauvissat from Chambers St., so thin is the selection of Chablis out here (even at Sam's).
Perhaps, though it'd be a bit odd for them to use it only in that one CdR. Still, it's a possibility...
Well, they are one of *my* favorite domaines in CdP, too, and not only because of their very attractive winemaker Laurence Feraud! ;-) In our cellar you can find their '90, '93-'95 and '98-'00 at the moment. Alas, the price tag on the '90 reads $15.95 whereas the '01 is selling for $48 -- ack!!
Thanks, Dale! Say hi to Betsy for us, too. Best wishes to you during this latest cold spell.
Mark Lipton
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Mark Lipton

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