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2009 Chateau Bizard Montagne de Raucoule Coteaux du Tricastin
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- Cellar 3 - 4 years (2014-2015)
- ABV 14.5%
- Closure: Cork
2009 in the Southern Rhone is been lauded in some circles as a successor to the stunning 2007 vintage; if not the 'vintage of a lifetime', then at least the 'vintage of a decade'. While it's true that there are remarkable bargains to be found and prices generally remain stable, it is not a carbon copy of 2007. 2009 was characterised by extended dry, hot conditions (there were 24 days on which the thermometer reached 35ºC, compared with only seven in 2007). Drought prevailed and some traditional, non irrigated vineyards exceeded stress thresholds rather than controlling tension. Scanty rains that came too late restored a semblance of balance, but it was only the less well drained and more expensive terroirs, like Vacqueyras and Gigondas, that produced uniform results.
The consensus amongst those who have conducted a comprehensive survey is that, overall, the quality is excellent but not as high as 2007 and, like the shock heatwave that hit South East Australia in '08, it is the seasoned and highly skilled vignerons who have risen to the top, (in particular, those who postponed harvest and benefited from the late September rains. This increased acidity and slightly diluted grape sugars). At the bottom of the pool are a minority who, for various reasons, including difficulty fermenting to dryness due to the elevated sugars, produced wines lacking the fruit/acid/tannin balance that winelovers expect from even the lowest appellation cuvees.What does all this mean for the consumer? No question, 2009 in the Southern Rhone is another bargain hunter's delight. On the village level it offers opulent reds with outstanding concentration that are freak values by global standards. One only needs to exercise a little more caution and discernment to find them. Two other pluses make it a compelling vintage for Australian palates: The slightly less effusive international hype for '09 means that producers have had no justification to raise prices (except for the fact that yields were down). In fact, given their desperation to move mediocre wines from the diluted, rain drenched 2008 vintage (which we have completely passed over) they’ve been open to negociate - good news, but very good news when combined with the strength of the Australian dollar. In yet another direct shipment, we’ve secured wines from some of the Southern Rhone’s most adept grower/producers.
We have also shifted focus further north than any previous Rhone offer, with an exceptional offer from little known Coteaux du Tricastin, in fact the northernmost wine-growing AOC of the Southern Rhone, “...better known for its wealth of black truffles than high quality wines,' according to U.S. wine critic, Robert Parker. He does note one exception to this rule: Chateau Bizard. This estate sits on gravelly clays over hard limestone in the village of Allan, fairly close to the Rhone river corridor. The area benefits from the Mistral wind, which wards off any vine disease and also moderates heat. A slight hydric deficit was experienced here in 2009, but not harsh enough to impair grape maturation. Parker sums up Bizard's wines as '... delicious, fruit-forward reds that sell for a song.'This estate falls under the supervision of star Rhone viticultural consultant, Phillipe Cambie, a man who seems as ubiquitous in the region's vineyards as he is consistently brilliant. Of the four different estates represented in our 2009 shipment he is the common driving force. A legendary Rhône consultant, Phillippe Cambie, whom we first introduced by way of our 2007 Rhone offers, is a man whose huge physical proportions are matched by his obsession for ripe fruit and an uncanny ability on the blending table (backed up by a track record for re-invigorating estates stagnating in tradition). Cambie also consults to many of the top wines in Chateauneuf du Pape, including Pegau and Vieux Donjon. Described as 'a magician', he is said to possess an incredible ability to visualize final blends while tasting dozens of barrel samples. Combining the exceptional conditions of 2009 with Cambie's genius, all four producers have crafted some phenomenal wines.
Tasting note...Deep, dark crimson red colour with dark, crimson mauve hue. The nose displays aromas of black cherry, toasted earth and spice. Good palate weight with generous flavours of ripe black cherry, liquorice, spice and earth followed by a strong blackpepper back palate. Good length with very fine grained tannins and long aftertaste of blackpepper, liquorice and earth.
Cellar 3-4 years (2014-2015)