Stepping up a bit to the “Roasted Slope,” La Boisselée is a proprietary cuvée whose blend changes from year to year based on whatever tastes best. In 2013 the wine was sourced exclusively from the lieu-dit of Le Plomb, a mica-schist terroir north of Ampuis, above Nève and Viallère. The aroma of well-made Côte-Rôtie (stems included) is unmistakable. When you smell it, you wonder whether the appellation was named for the sunbaked slopes or the wine’s roasted aroma; suggestions of charred meat and sometimes coffee are usually present. Floral perfumes are also typical, especially white lilies. On the palate, this wine is ample, with a full, mouth-filling texture, and the tannins are smooth as silk—the sun gets the best of the earth. As good as La Boisselée is now, it will be glorious in ten years.
Louis Barruol is an indefatigable force in the Rhône, the 14th generation in his family to be making wine in Gigondas. On what was once the site of a Roman villa, Louis’ cellars show spectacular remains of Roman vinification vats carved into the limestone. Here, Louis works with different grape varietals from the Rhône, vinifying each parcel separately. He’s taken to acting as a micro-négociant, working with top growers in the region who still work with Sérine. Producing only a few precious barrels of each cuvée, Louis is helping to save the authenticity and identity of old Côte Rôtie parcels. Together, he and Kermit blend our Northern Rhône wines and a Southern Côtes du Rhône Blanc and Rouge from a selection of Louis’ purchases.
I want you to realize once and for all: Even the winemaker does not know what aging is going to do to a new vintage; Robert Parker does not know; I do not know. We all make educated (hopefully) guesses about what the future will bring, but guesses they are. And one of the pleasures of a wine cellar is the opportunity it provides for you to witness the evolution of your various selections. Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.
Inspiring Thirst, page 171