2022 Rousset Crozes Hermitage les Picaudieres

2022 Rousset Crozes Hermitage les Picaudieres


Their flagship vineyard, if there had to be one, would have to be their one hectare in the private woodsy retreat named les Picaudières, long esteemed as perhaps the finest site in all of Crozes Hermitage; John Livingstone-Learmonth, perhaps the most prolific writer on the Northern Rhône valley, has often cited the noteworthy nobility of this place and its wines. This site came into their family in 1996 (acquired from Raymond Roure), roughly at the beginning of Stéphane’s career as a young vigneron. Pictured above is Stéphane standing in the young vines portion of the site; the picture does not do justice to the sense of steepness, especially in the 90+ year old vine terraced section below me, the photo taker. A steep and cool little valley pocket, entirely surrounded by woods, with a stunning view to the south of the unfolding Rhône valley and its vineyards, this place has a special sensibility and then some; it is no mystery to me why the wine is so damn good…..

The ’17 Picaudières gave its typical incredibly deep palate impact out of cask, these 100+ year old vines not shy on substance. It is in a blacker fruited register this year, and even sexier in its come hither ripeness than the profile of the cooler 2016 vintage. I honestly imagine that this will please an even broader swath of wine drinkers than the ’16, as i’ve found that for many folks, bigger is better. This is not to say that it lacks for tonic freshness or grip whatsoever, as it has excellent lift and ripe tannin. This continues to be another ridiculous, bursting-at-the-seams value on the world stage, from an undervalued and under-the-radar gem of a site that deserves a place among the iconic vineyards of the N Rhône. Yes, it is that good……a little * awarded here.

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This is what I would dub the flagship bottling of the estate, from the steep and secluded oasis known as les Picaudières. John Livingstone Learmonth regularly refers to this as one of the best Crozes wines made in the entire appellation, and scored this the highest he has ever scored the Picaudières, just behind the 2016 (4.5 vs 5 stars). This is an exceptional wine of substance and value, that any red wine loving person will likely adore. The 2022 is packed and stacked, with an uncommon sense of balance which will allow for both early pleasure and long ageing…..My note on the 2016: it is once again a knockout success in precision, poise, and muscly 100+ year old vine depth, representing the very best of the finessed and moderate 2016 vintage. This could serve as an exhibit A of Northern Rhone Syrah classicism, and I have every confidence that this will be a long lived and tremendous bottle to follow. Its commanding palate presence is built on its other-than-fruit stuffing, the old vine substance is undeniably driving the show. Do not pass this up…..BRAVO STÉPHANE! A little * awarded here.

“(4 year 228-litre cask) full robe; the nose has a gentle aroma with a good, sure filling of blackberry, a floral sprinkle, pot pourri dried flowers, rose hip, a hint of oak – it’s an absorbing nose with subtle prompts. A blood-mineral fuse runs through the palate, which is close-knit with an inner surge, good momentum, with iodine and firm salt drive to it. The tannins are ripe, and layer it comfortably. It has superior freshness to 2019, notably on the second half, has a criss-cross, active palate, carries complexity. 13°. “Picaudières had a blockage of ripening – the phenolic ripening took time due to the impact of the drought on the granite, unlike the foot of the slopes, flat ground with a bit more clay,” From 2026. 2044-46 Feb 2023” Four and a half stars, John Livingstone Learmonth for this 2022


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