2016 René Rostaing "Côte Blonde" Côte-Rôtie

SKU #1434901 98 points Decanter

 No destemming here, aged in mostly old demi-muids with no more than 10% new oak. A captivatingly pretty floral fragrance can be coaxed out along with aniseed and blackberry notes, but it's tightly wound for now. The rounded palate is dense, with good concentration of red fruit and delightfully perfumed juniper. Soft tannins coat the mouth, and oak is present but well judged. There's good balancing acidity and a lovely, gently mineral seam leads onto a long, saline, savoury, piercing finish. Real detail and precision. (MW)  (10/2017)

98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2016 Côte Rôtie La Côte Blonde (from the lieu-dit of the same name—not a blend of sites) is a terrific effort. It blends the structure of la Viallière with the elegance of la Landonne, making it a truly complete and compelling bottle. Some mocha, black olive and meaty notes lend it a savory cast, while the palate is creamy and concentrated, firm but silky. It's medium to full-bodied, with a fine, licorice-tinged finish that lingers a good long time. It should drink well for 20+ years. When I arrived at the domaine, I went in an opened door and came upon René Rostaing, who was putting labels on bottles for shipment to the United States. I told him I had an appointment and he said, "Let me get the boss." We went across the street to the winery building, where he handed me off to his son Pierre, who is fully in charge of the winemaking now. He cranked the ventilation fan up to high so we could taste in the cellars, despite ongoing fermentations above. Following up on his exciting 2015s, both the 2016s and 2017s look similarly outstanding. He's releasing two additional single-vineyard wines (Côte Brune and La Viallière) from the 2016 vintage as an homage to his ancestors, with label designs from the past (Gentaz-Dervieux and Dervieux-Thaize). Of course, quantities are tiny, but not only are the labels retro-cool but the wines are damn good also. (JC)  (10/2018)

96 points Jeb Dunnuck

 Lastly, the 2016 Côte Rôtie Côte Blonde is more seamless and elegant, with a more perfumed, pretty style in its red and black raspberry fruits, crushed flowers, game, violets, and crushed rocks. Medium to full-bodied, ethereal, seamless, and incredibly polished, it has building tannins, no hard edges, and a great, great finish. Where the La Landonne is all meat and smoke, this is floral and red fruit-driven. Hide bottles for 2-4 years and enjoy over the following 15-20.  (12/2018)

96 points Vinous

 Bright purple. Expansive blackberry, licorice, smoky bacon and potpourri aromas are complemented by a strong mineral overlay. Seamless and broad on the palate, offering concentrated black and blue fruit liqueur, salty olive and floral pastille flavors and an emphatic jolt of exotic spices. Finishes with repeating mineral, floral and dark fruit character, supple, well-knit tannins and outstanding tenacity. (JR)  (9/2019)

95 points John Gilman

 Traditionally, this has always been my personal favorite in the Rostaings’ cellars, but it may have a bit of competition from some of these other single vineyard bottlings in 2016. The Côte Blonde is going to be superb in this vintage, as it offers up a pure and complex bouquet of cassis, black raspberries, hazelnuts, gamebird, a beautiful base of soil tones, smoke, espresso, pepper and a distinct topnote of violets. On the palate the wine is deep, full and very pure, with a fine core, impressive nascent complexity, fine-grained tannins and outstanding length and grip on the vibrant finish. A great, great wine in the making! (Drink between 2031-2075)  (1/2018)

95 points Wine Spectator

 A fresh bay leaf note leads off, followed quickly by sleek black cherry and blackberry fruit flavors. Light savory, white pepper, olive and singed iron notes underscore the finish. This has serious latent grip, so no rush. Best from 2020 through 2035. (JM)  (2/2019)

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Price: $189.99

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- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.


- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them.


- Legendary wine-producing region in southeast France. Stereotypically speaking, Rhone wines are high in alcohol, and the majority produced is red. The northern Rhone is best known for outstanding 100% Syrah wines from areas such as Cote Rotie and Hermitage, as well as for fabulous white wines from Condrieu (where Viognier is king). In the southern Rhone, look for spicy, full-bodied wines that are blends of Grenache, Syrah, and other varietals coming from appellations such as Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas, or Rasteau. Wines labeled as Cote du Rhone or Cotes du Rhone Village (a cut above generic Cotes du Rhone) are frequently found here in the US because they often represent some of the best values on the market.
Specific Appellation:

Cote Rotie