Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A 2010 Northern Rhone White Packs Punch

2010 Pierre Gonon St. Joseph Blanc "Les Oliviers" (France, Northern Rhone, St. Joseph)

Pierre Gonon produces relatively small amounts of St. Joseph reds (made from syrah) and St. Joseph blanc (made from marsanne grapes, although I think there's some roussanne in here as well.) The red "Les Oliviers" bottling is superb and can age for decades. I tasted a 1989 last year and it was beautiful, so I was obviously excited to try the white wine for the first time.

This 2010 wine is still in its incubation phase, very young and powerful but showing incredible potential. It's bright golden color in the glass  with very thick legs. The aromas are initially tight and compact, and this wine took a good three hours to open up and show cantaloupe rind, honey, oil and nougat on the nose. This white wine is very dense on the palate, leaving an almost tannic feel. Dense, grippy melon fruit, nougat and oil flavors bounce back and forth, but there's also acid and a shot of racy minerals which keeps the fruit from feeling goopy or baked. This is a beautiful wine, but this needs at least three-to-five years to show its true potential, and another ten to show the lovely secondary flavors that are packed in here.

Thanks to a good friend for opening this!

92 pts IJB

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