One of the southern Rhone’s top buys in vintages since 1998 has been the sensational Cotes du Rhone Clos de l’Hermitage. Made from equal parts Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre, and aged nine months in barrel (one quarter new French oak), it emerges from a 9-acre vineyard that was purchased by Formula 1 race car driver, Jean Alesi in the mid-nineties.
The 2003 boasts a dense purple color in addition to a big, sweet, but backward bouquet of scorched earth, roasted meats, black fruits, and a hint of barrique.
Medium to full-bodied, more tannic and backward than vintages such as 2001 and 2000, but concentrated and rich, the 2003 requires 1-3 years of bottle age. It should hit its peak by 2006-2007, and last for a decade or more.
This large, 108-acre estate was long in the doldrums, but the quality over recent vintages has been top-notch. Moreover, the wines sell for a song, so bargain hunters have been beating a path to their door since the late nineties.
Run by Henri de Lanzac, Chateau de Segries’ 2003 cuvees performed well.