S & M Ogier Côte Rôtie (2010 or 2011) - Practicing Organic
Côte-Rôtie has a rich winegrowing tradition that dates back to the Greek and Roman eras, but in more modern times many of the area’s steep granite vineyards had been left to crumble, as negociants were the only wineries with the means to bottles wines. Indeed, this was the case for Michel Ogier, who for a long time sold his entire crop, on the vine, to the likes of Chapoutier and Guigal.
In 1980, however, he decided to make and produce his own wine and invested a considerable amount of time and capital in his well-suited 6-acre vineyard.
By 1988, the domain was exporting its first cases of Ogier to the United States. Thirty years later, and Ogier d’Ampuis has established a reputation that rivals even the grandest and longest-established producers of the region, thanks largely to the passion and talents of Michel’s son Stephane, who joined the family business in 1997, fresh out of wine school.
Widely regarded as one of the most promising and gifted producers of Cote Rotie, Stephane’s wines remain true to tradition, but offer a modern polish. Under his management, the estate has expanded, new wines have been created and Ogier has been shepherded to new levels of quality and consistency.
Côte Rôtie is a prestigious red-wine appellation at the northern tip of France's Rhône Valley wine region.
The Syrah vines on its steep, southeast-facing slopes produce wines that are both powerful and elegant. Improvements in quality have led to increases in demand for the wines – a cycle which turned so consistently that Côte Rôtie wines are now some of France's most sought-after and most expensive.
Situated immediately south of Vienne and 21 miles from the center of Lyon, the Côte Rôtie is the Rhône Valley's northernmost appellation, and one of its smallest. The parishes of Ampuis, Saint-Cyr-sur-le-Rhône and Tupin-et-Semons are the only three that may produce Côte Rôtie wines, and even within the parishes, only certain plots qualify for the appellation.
The steep hillsides (côtes) here rise sharply from the banks of the River Rhone to heights of 1,150ft. They form 10 narrow ridges no more than 2,000ft wide, each separated from the next by a narrow, tree-lined gully. The ridges run roughly northeast to southwest, providing the sun-baked aspects that help to make the appellation's wines so rich and ripe.
Côte Rôtie wines are renowned for being elegant and finely structured, with complex aromas typical of the local terroir and of the Syrah grape variety from which they are made. An addition of up to 20 percent of the white variety Viognier is permitted under the appellation law, and producers take advantage of this to bring elegance and balance to their wines.
95 points, Robert Parker: The largest cuvée (20,000 bottles) is the 2010 Cote Rotie Classique, Stephane Ogier’s “greatest vintage to date.” Seventy percent of the fruit comes from their holdings on the Cote Brune. It boasts a dense purple color along with a sweet nose of asphalt, licorice, forest floor, blackberries, cassis and bouquet garni, sensational concentration and sweet tannins. The structure, freshness, and minerality suggest another 3-4 years of cellaring may be beneficial. It has 25 years of potential evolution
93 points, Vinous: Inky purple. Cassis, candied cherry, and red berry skin aromas are lifted by an intense floral note. Supple and appealingly sweet, with spice cake and floral nuances adding complexity to the sappy red berry flavors. Youthfully taut but very pure. Finishes very long, with silky, harmonious tannins and lingering flavors of red fruits and licorice pastille.
93 points, Parker: The 2011 Cote Roties are all brilliant, and at the upper end, some of the best wines in the vintage. Perfumed and fragrant, the 2011 Cote Rotie Classique isn’t holding much back, with loads of spice, lavender, bacon fat, and sweet blackberry fruit all soaring from the glass. Very pure and lively, with great acidity, medium to full-bodied depth and superb length through the finish, this knockout 2011 will have 10-15 years of longevity.
93 points Wine & Spirits: This is spot-on Côte Rôtie, earthy and animal, floral and spicy, a world contained in a mouthful of liquid. It’s chewy and dense without being heavy, juicy in the same way as an aged rib eye might be, with a similar sanguine minerality. Give it a spin in a decanter
92 points, Vinous: Inky ruby. Fresh blueberry, cherry, and floral pastille scents are complemented by deeper notes of candied licorice and pipe tobacco. Offers an array of dark fruit and pungent spice flavors that gain sweetness with air and pick up a smoky quality. Finishes smooth and long, leaving juicy blue fruit and peppery spice notes behind. Lots of fruit that's normally earmarked for the Belle Helene and Lancement bottlings wound up in this wine in 2011, Ogier told me, and it shows in the wine's power.