“The year clearly eclipses 2009 unless you judge quality by size and weight of the wines." – Brigitte Clusel - Roche.

Ms. Clusel - Roche is speaking of the 2010 vintage in the Northern Rhone and its music to my ears. Yes, 2009 was a monster vintage. However, many critics are all ready pulling back from their initial assessment. The prevailing thought is that 2010 will be a greater vintage worthy of long term cellaring.

Founded by René Clusel in 1969, the winery is now run by his son, Gilbert. In 1989 the domaine changed its name to Domaine Clusel-Roch, borrowing the name of Gilbert's wife, Brigitte Roch, and giving the newer, larger winery its own identity.

Today the property is still tiny: just 3.5 hectares in Côte Rôtie and just half a hectare in Condrieu. The vines are planted on terraces along the Côte Rôtie, with two wooden stakes tied above each vine to help protect against the region's occasionally howling winds. Having officially converted to organic farming practices in 2002, most work in the vineyards is done manually, without the use of any chemical fertilizers.

In order to even better express the tradition of the vineyard, the domaine only uses vines from their own selection of Syrah plantings, which are grafted in their own small nursery. According to Gilbert, these traditional Ampius vines are less productive and give more complex aromas than available modern selections. When harvest time comes, the grapes are manually selected, and fermented with indigenous yeasts, furthering the site purity in each wine.

With annual production hovering at about 1250 cases per year, Domaine Clusel-Roch is able to focus all their attention on each aspect of the winemaking, from vine to bottle, and it shows!

I’m proud to announce that we have secured a small parcel of the 2010 Cote Rotie in both 750mL and Magnum formats. The wine will be available in the store shortly but only in small quantities. Yes, there is a slight up-charge for the magnums. There always is. However, the opportunity to own magnums of Cote Rotie is unprecedented. We are beginning to see a Rhone renaissance in CT. It’s a great time for lovers of Northern Rhone wines. Take advantage while you can.

2010 Domaine Clusel – Roche Cote Rotie
$65 per bottle (15% off case of 12)
$135 per magnum (15% off case of 6)