I recently got the opportunity to try five wines from the collaboration between Nicolas Jaboulet and the Perrin family. I’ve long enjoyed the offerings from both of these venerable families, and I was intrigued as to what they are producing together. Grapes for Maison Nicolas Perrin are sourced from choice northern Rhône parcels; wine selection and overseeing of the winemaking is Jaboulet’s concern, while blending and bottling is handled by Marc Perrin, who produces the wines at the family winery in Orange. They had been opened for a western Michigan trade tasting the previous afternoon, but when Vineyard Brands Mid-West Sales Manager Anne Keller asked if I’d like to try them, I jumped at the chance. To say that I was not disappointed with what I tasted would be an understatement, and they certainly didn’t suffer from extended aeration. Although made in the “international style,” they show great depth and character. These will not be available as the media review samples we receive from Vineyard Brands, and were poured for presell purposes, so this was pretty much my only shot at tasting them for now. Here are my impressions; prices are approximate markups of wholesale listings. Click images to enlarge. Notes in quotations below are From Vineyard Brands Maison Nicolas Perrin tech sheets.
2010 Maison Nicolas Perrin Hermitage, 70% Marsanne, 30% Roussanne, 13% alc., $74.99: A fragrant bouquet of white tree fruit shaded with floral notes echoes and expands in the lovely flavors with nice minerality underneath. Full bodied and thick, almost oily; rich and delicious. I actually liked this so much, I took a second pour before moving on to the reds. You can hold on to this for a few years, but I doubt I’d be able to keep my hands off for very long. “Varieties are vinified separately. Whole bunches are crushed and long fermentation at low temperatures of 12/15C. Ageing in new oak casks during 10 months rounding the wine.” Find this wine
Maison Nicolas Perrin Syrah Viognier Lot 10, Syrah 97%, Viognier 3%, 12.5% alc., $16.99: Aromas of wet dog fur and black fruit carry over onto the palate, revealing a fairly ripe mélange of dark plums, berries and cherries on an earthy base. Full bodied, with a smooth texture and good structure for at least a few years of improvement; the finish lingers nicely. This wine comes from young vines planted on the plateau and lower hillside of the appellation of Saint Joseph, between the villages of Chavanay and Mauves. Regarding the Lot #, Anne Keller informs me that “As the wine’s appellation is simply France, they are not allowed to include a vintage date. This rule for Vin de France is changing effective November 14, 2012. After this date, they will be able to include the vintage date on the wine.” Find this wine
2010 Maison Nicolas Perrin Saint Joseph,13% alc., $35.99: Almost opaque in color, with a perfumed nose of pretty black plums and cherries; plenty more of the same on the palate, with a big earthy anchor, and the barrel aging complements, rather that overwhelms. Thick, rich and almost unctuous; full bodied and well structured, with a long finish. “The grapes are cold-macerated before being fermented to increase the aromas of fruit. Maceration and fermentation for about 20 days with pumping-over for the first few days followed by punching-down. Ageing in 1 and 2 year old barrels for 10 months to bring concentration to the wine.” Find this wine
2010 Maison Nicolas Perrin Crozes Hermitage, 13% alc., $35.99: Deep, dark color, and equally deep, dark and rich aromatics; perfumed black plum, currant and berry character, with a big, earthy anchor. Again, the barrel treatment is obvious, but not intrusive to my taste. Full bodied and well structured, with a long finish. Old school Rhône-o-philes may not care for this, but I like it. “The grapes are cold-macerated before being fermented to increase the aromas of fruit. Maceration and fermentation for about 20 days with pumping-over for the first few days followed by punching-down. Ageing takes place in barrels for 10 months and then in stainless steel for another 6 months.” Find this wine
2009 Maison Nicolas Perrin Côte Rôtie, Syrah (98%), Viognier (2%), 13% alc., $79.99: Almost inky in color; perhaps the most opulent nose of these reds, with sweet black fruit, some underbrush and a pretty kiss of oak. Flavors echo, but with some of the tart astringency that young northern Rhônes can show. Full bodied, very well structured and very long on the finish. A wine of great charm, which should only grow more complex and satisfying with the passing years. “The grapes are cold-macerated before being fermented to increase the aromas of fruit. Maceration and fermentation for about 20 days with pumping-over for the first few days followed by punching-down. Aging in 1-year-old barrels for 15 months.” Find this wine
Reporting from Day-twah,