A Selection of Halpern’s Rhône Portfolio

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

One Restaurant at the Hazleton Hotel, 134 Yorkville Avenue

Domaine Du Pegau and Selection Laurance Féraud

Châteauneuf-du-Pape ‘Cuvée Laurence’ 2006 ($135) “is approachable” says Laurence because she does the ageing here for us. Somehow I still foresee an extended bivouac of hibernation. Though emerging due to four years elévage (double the reservée), this is Grenache running on a treadmill of adrenaline, a bear post gym workout, sweat glands pumping out the musk.  That Pegau perfume, unmistakable, omnipresent. Consistent with the ’05.  94

Pegau CL 2006

Châteauneuf-du-Pape ‘Cuvée Réservée’ 2009 ($85) sees higher co2 treatment to counterbalance the heat of the vintage. This is “necessary for ageing,” admits Laurence. Here a return to the Pegau of old, perhaps as far back as 1990 but for sure 1998. The perfume can’t be missed, as are notes of phrygana sprouting up through the crevices of boulders. A very traditional CdP, smokey, herbal and spiced on a berry bed of rubies.  93

Cotes du Rhône 2010 ($14) comprises grapes selected by Féraud and succeeds in ’10 because of the high percentage (80%) of Syrah. A purple slew of black cherry fruit mixed with bocage and earth. Well-made despite its negociant pedigree. The purchase of 38 hectares should result in the production of 20,000-25,000 cases of CdR under the auspices of the Pegau label for 2011.  85

Lot 2009 Selectionne Laurence Féraud Plan Pegau ($16) is non-vintage self-promotional branding, once again well-proportioned, if unexciting. It’s really de-classified, quaff material for undefined table wine. I’d drink it all year round at $5 bucks a shot.  84

Domaine de Cristia

Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2009 ($43) displays less funk and more finesse than most. “Oak is used not to oak,” says winemaker Baptiste Grangeon, “it is used to make the wines open.” A glass of strawberry jam in the morning. High in Grenache because “Syrah was too fat in 2009” adds Grangeon, this is benevolent, ‘resto ready’, lush stuff. Very underrated.  91

Châteauneuf-du-Pape ‘Renaissance’ 2009  ($85) is made from 100-year old vines in sandy soils and aged in 100% new oak. Grenache (60%) and high in Mourvedre (40%) because the latter “worked so well in 2009” says the man. Found to be tight, biting and beastly, but shows signs of a meaty future with thyme on its side.   92

Cristia CdP 'Renaissance' 2009

Cotes du Rhône ‘Les Garrigues Vielles Vignes’ 2010 ($20) personifies old Grenache, as the name would suggest. High toned, ethereal, subaqueous, stygian and complex.  90

Grenache Vielles Vignes 2010 ($17) is an excellent Vin De P’ays, full of red cherries, strawberries and petiole. A well-orchestrated one-grape symphony. 88

Paul Jaboulet Aine

Châteauneuf-du-Pape ‘Les Cedres’ 2007 ($52) shines purple and blue like a Van Gogh starry night over the Rhône. The colour of heuchera growing out of tanzanite, the ‘cedars’ offers the sensation of chewing on a wooden bat smothered in pine tar and sugary plum pudding. Thumbs want to go two up but the bitumin is in need of a snooze. 88

Crozes-Hermitage ‘Les Jalets’ Blanc 2010 ($29) faces antipodal to a promise of a shaped stone. Ore is subdued in favour of fun, cheery, soft fruit in a flocculent, alabaster frame. Nectarine blossom and fresh shucked peaches and cream corn give way to the finishing purity of Marsanne. 89

Crozes-Hermitage ‘Domaine de Thalabert’ 2007 ($49) with its caper and black pepper infused black cherry cordial cries kush with its powerful, purple crush. 100% Syrah and nothing but Syrah. Defines the appellation. 90

Jaboulet Thalabert CH 2007
Hermitage ‘La Petite Chapelle’ 2007 ($109) hails from six granite hillside vineyards known as ‘Hermitage Hill’ and the ‘Sunshine Slope.’ “Now somewhere in the black mountain hills” there lived a pretty baby composed of 100% Syrah. This little raccoon is warm, fuzzy and ready. Too soft for long life. 89
Châteauneuf-du-Pape Grand Vin 2010 ($38) is gentle and unpretentious. Higher on botany, quieter in depth of power fruit, but still early in its evolution. A sound composition if quiet on the back beat. 88

Luberon Vin Gourmand 2010 ($13) is the sweetest thing, “blue-eyed boy meets brown eyed-girl.” You two can enjoy life as a bowl of cherries, fresh, light and lithe. 86

St. Joseph Vin Rare ($32) mismatches expressions, sits cumbersome, heavy and noses disjointedly. Dendritic forget-mineral-me-nots burst in vacillating waves and the concentration wavers erratically. 86

Vacqueyras 2009 ($25.95) is restricted, opening with benign notes, sleeping hollowly in mid stride and closing tight in the end. Pithy Kirsch wants to appear but only time will let it act. 87


Vignobles Michel Gassier and Les Halos de Jupiter

Halos de Jupiter Cotes du Rhone 2010 ($17.95) is no orphan of the storm. It strides in angelic and sweet talking. Just plain smooth, cream filled and easy to drink. This CdR gives up copious Grenache from a velvet glove, ready to perform miracles88

Halos Jupiter CdR 2010

Halos de Jupiter ‘Phillipe Cambie’ Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2009 ($67) may currently be more beast than beauty but the concentrated levels of cassis and raspberry cuddle and spoon. Six months in bottle will soften the edges and it too will be a woo monster. Shares a La Crau locale with Vieux-Telegraphe.  89

Halos de Jupiter ‘Phillipe Cambie’ Gigondas 2009 ($34) battles harder to win adoration with its sharp lines and deep cutting acidity. Cooling menthol and eucalyptus strays from its homeland to distant heights and locales. There is a permanent drip and dampness here and an odour of mossy rocks. Unconventional.  87

Halos de Jupiter ‘Phillipe Cambie’ Vacqueyras 2009 ($30) would champion this flight if only it were priced as a Vacqueyras. The first Halo to show garrigue and spice, it also flaunts ethereal hydrogen, helium, and methane gasses.  A wine of luxury living beyond its means.  88

Michel Gassier ‘Lou Coucardie’ Costieres de Nimes 2007 ($34) speaks volumes in alcohol. Here Kirsch and crunchy raspberries are on steroids. Chewing off both arms may be necessary to get away from the Couc’s bed.  89

Michel Gassier ‘Notre Pais’ Costieres de Nimes 2009 ($19) travels a spice route from Asia Minor to Indonesia. Notes of peppermint tea and Kretek cigarettes are joined by aromatic bitters and dark, nutty ale.  87





Good to go!




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