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2010 Chateau Bizard Serre de Courrent
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- Cellar 4 - 5 years (2016-2017)
- ABV 14.5%
- Closure: Cork
Long term surveyors of the Rhone viticultural landscape are ranking the 2010 vintage alongside 1990, others drawing comparisons to 1978. Regardless, the consensus that these are three of THE top vintages in modern times is not up for dispute. If you enjoyed the 2009s, the 2010 wines embody their ripeness and concentration, but add more freshness and acidity to the mix, overall slightly elevated alcohols (some special cuvees rising up to 16.5%)! and ripe, balanced tannins for good mid to long term cellaring. Growers tended to keep fruit on the vine until the phenolics, of which tannins are some of the most important, were fully ripe, specifically to avoid the overly drying tannins some commentators disparaged in 2009. Here is Robert Parker commenting, undoubtedly one of the world authorities on the Rhone (such is his passion for the region, he has now divvied up the Wine Advocate to other writers, himself choosing purely to focus on this part of France, as well as Bordeaux). “As I predicted last year in Issue 197, 2010 is a great vintage that is extremely close in quality to 2007. The wines are not as exuberant, flamboyant or unctuously textured as the top 2007s, but they have the advantage of being slightly more delineated/ focused with greater freshness. They are just as high in alcohol as the 2007s, but the fermentations of the 2010s were easier, and the wines come across as having slightly higher acids. The downside is that after abundant crops in 2007 and 2009, the 2010 harvest was tiny, largely because the Grenache crop had significant losses due to problems during and after the flowering. It was down by 30-40%, which has made the production levels of most of the Grenache dominated wines much smaller than normal”. This last point was the only potential downside (for producers) and one might have expected some significant price increases passed on to consumers. It would be justified. In fact, the crop level was reduced by coulure (fruit not developing from flowers) to one of the lowest in recent memory.
While Grenache suffered from cold weather in June, Syrah (Shiraz), Carignan and Mourvedre were ‘able replacements.’ Even the Cinsault was of the highest order. The fabulous quality and foreseeable potential of the 2010 vintage in the Rhone has been acknowledged world-wide and so the wines are being snapped up at an unprecedented rate. What will make it into Australia is uncertain. But then, choosing from a vintage like this should be akin to shooting fish in a barrel. Chateau Bizard takes our focus further north than usual, with three exceptional buys from little known Coteaux du Tricastin, (recently renamed Grignan-Les-Adhemer) in fact the northernmost winegrowing AOC of the Southern Rhone, “... better known for its gorgeous black truffles than high quality wines,' according to Parker. He does note one exception to this rule: Chateau Bizard. Established in 1862, it is located in Allan, fairly close to the Rhone river corridor, just south of Montelimar, in the centre of a natural amphitheater delimited by the Montagne de Raucoule, La Grangette and the Serre de Courrent ranges. The area benefits from the Mistral wind, which wards off any vine disease and also moderates heat. Parker has summed up Bizard's wines as 'remarkable values... delicious, fruit-forward reds that sell for a song.' We shipped the 2009 wines from this estate and they hit the bulls eye then for undervalued early drinking pleasure. 2010 is right on target, but with more substance and structure in the wines for extended cellaring - wines to get you through the dearth of 2011 Australian reds and beyond with minimal outlay. And once again, we've dealt directly with the winery to ensure just that.
As the northernmost appellation of the Southern Rhone, the Cotes du Tricastin offers the perfect field for understanding how Syrah (Shiraz) and Grenache behave smack bang in the middle of the Rhone valley. Travel a few miles north, and you're in Syrah stronghold. Move several miles south, and Grenache is king. It's no surprise vignerons have been roused by this viticultural tipping point. Set within a natural amphitheater, the owners of Chateau Bizard have exploited the wealth of possibilities offered by the surrounding hills. Named after their respective locations on these slopes, the philosophies behind their three cuvees differ slightly.
Fruit for the Serre de Courrent finds protection from warmer southern influences by the Montagne de Raucoule, while its exposure to the Mistral is magnified by higher hills to the east, channeling the fierce wind straight onto its exposed southerly slopes. Here, Olivier Chanzy, winemaker and chief vigneron, wanted to showcase the power of Northern Syrah, while retaining some of the opulence of Southern Grenache. To that effect, they decided on long fermentations, 35 to 40 days, typical of the Rhone valley, and manual plunging with rack and return for the extraction regime. New Burgundian barrels were employed for the 11 month maturation in order to tame the majority Syrah component (70%), while the Grenache was left in tank to retain its vibrant fruit flavours. Tasting note:
Bizard's majority Syrah will no doubt please many palates accustomed only to South Australian Shiraz. It offers a totally opaque inky black purple colour with very deep dark purple hue. The nose displays lifted aromas of black cherry and liquorice along with some meaty characters, a touch of clove and spice. Densely concentrated and very rich the palate delivers a sumptuous flavour profile of black cherry, black raspberry, liquorice, some meaty earth like characters and spice all framed by a muscular tannin structure that’s perfectly balanced and provides the wine with a chewy mouthfeel. Boasting impressive length, richness and structure this wine has all the qualities one has come to expect of a classic Rhone vintage. Long aftertaste of black cherry, liquorice and meaty spice
Cellar 4-5 years plus (2016-2017+)
Alc 14.5% Other Reviews….
As good, perhaps even better, is the 2010 Coteaux du Tricastin Serre de Courrent, a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache... A spectacular effort, it possesses lots of blackberry, cassis, licorice, acacia flower and truffle-like earthy notes. Long and luscious, it is ideal for drinking over the next 5-6 years.
Robert Parker – The Wine Advocate