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A wine that will be in bottle by the time you read this, the 2012 Cote Rotie Chateau d’Ampuis (it always incorporates 7% Viognier) will check in behind the sensational 2009 and 2010, but should be on par with the 2005 and 2003. Cassis, licorice, smoked meats, graphite and peppery spice all emerge from this beautifully concentrated, full-bodied, seamless Cote Rotie that has building, ripe tannin, terrific purity and a blockbuster finish. It will have 20-25 years of longevity.
One of the highlight tastings during my two weeks spent working in the northern Rhône was with Philippe and Marcel Guigal, who in this critic’s opinion, consistently fashion some of the greatest wines in the world. Looking at the 2011 Côte Rôties, which were bottled earlier this year, these are gorgeous wines that show the perfumed, sexy nature of the vintage; yet, they have more density, concentration and depth than just about every other wine from the vintage. Marcel characterized the vintage as charming and elegant, and while they’re insanely good even today, they’ll evolve gracefully and have broad drink windows. The 2012s should be bottled next year and this is another terrific vintage at this estate, which shouldn’t be a shock to anyone who follows the estate. The wines are already expressive, yet have more fat and texture than the 2011s, although maybe not the same level of focus or length. I suspect this is another vintage that will show nicely on release next year and age gracefully, with broad drink windows. The 2013s, in contrast, are inky, masculine, structured and not very much fun to taste at the moment. The extended elevage will help, but these will certainly be longer term prospects that will demand cellaring.
This is lavishly toasted, with a frame of mocha, ganache and black tea notes, matched to a gorgeous core of raspberry pâte de fruit, blackberry puree and plum sauce flavors. Exhibits a long, alluring, polished feel through the finish. This has a ways to go before opening up. Best from 2018 through 2030. –JM