I was quite pleased with the 2009 vintage in the Rhone, and frankly in most of Europe… The wines were universally lush, mouth-filling beauties with smooth, well-integrated tannins. Drink now, or in some cases, lay down for a little while to invoke more subtle flavors and aromas.

The 2010 vintage provides a great example of just how variable factors in grape growing and wine making can change the profile of wines, especially those from Europe. In the Rhone, the wines are denser, darker, more closed with much more structure, almost angular, seemingly edgier. My experience thus far is that with many of the wines, there is enough fruit in the core to allow for considerable aging. This bodes well for folks like me who like to buy several bottles, if not a case to stow away for more timely consumption.

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I tasted a range of 2009 Pierre Amadieu wines at a trade tasting and was smitten with the Grande Réserve. The wine was massive with an incredibly rich palate and enough stuffing to allow it to evolve with sometime in the bottle. I was excited about the price point, about $18 per bottle before the discount so I asked one of my favorite wine shops to order me a case. Bad news initially… the 2009 may not be available… Fortunately for me, a case of the 2009 was found and brought in… or so I thought.

In the process of taking the wine from will call, the box broke open and two bottles crashed to the floor, breaking… Upon closer examination, it was revealed that the wine was actually the 2010, despite the box being labeled 2009. Decision time… do I take the 2010 pro-rated for breakage, or, roll the dice and hope that an actual case of 2009 would materialize. I opted for the former – take the 2010 and see how it fairs.

The 2010 vintage is very consistent with the overall vintage profile – more structure, denser mid-palate although closed with edgier acidity. Much better aging potential than the 2009. Overall, while I fell in love with the 2009, the 2010 is an erstwhile companion who will likely age more gracefully and evolve more beautifully with time.

My tasting note:

Earthy nose – minerally with cherry, tobacco and garrigue hints. Medium-bodied with moderate acidity and firm, dry tannin – Good balance. Bright cherry fruit on the palate with tart red berry and dried herb notes. Moderate length with a tight, well-structured finish and cedar and allspice on the aftertaste. Needs time – should improve with another 5 to 7 years in bottle. Good value.

Cheers!

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