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Posted October 28th, 2011 in Wine Review

Côte-Rôtie: Life after Marius


Many years ago, I had the blessed privilege of sharing in the drinking a bottle of 1991 Marius Gentaz Côte-Rôtie with a group of people. I thought to myself of how lucky I was to be able to share in that experience and wondered if anyone else felt the same way I did. I came to find out as I grew up in the wine business that many before me considered Marius the “godfather of Côte-Rôtie”, perhaps the single best raiser of Syrah. Marius was the uncle of Rostaing who took over the vineyards after Marius retired. In my humble opinion, his wine was forever gone the day he retired. To me Marius was to Côte-Rôtie what Noel Verset was to Cornas.

What I loved about his style was the purity of his wine. When you drank his wines, you tasted the earth, the roots of his vines, its soul itself. His Syrah was full of complex flavors, yet simply staggering. I remember clearly from that 1991 Côte-Rôtie from Marius Gentaz that the perfume of spice, black olive and purple violets just glittered off the wine’s surface. It had a magical, silken texture and when my glass was empty nothing but that stunning perfume remained.

I recently had the privilege to visit Louis Barruol from Chateau Saint Cosme in Gigondas. He has teamed up with Kermit Lynch to put together some Northern Rhône beauties. I remember buying all that was offered to me before tasting the wines. I figured I couldn’t go wrong with Kermits’ tasting buds, and besides, not much was offered anyway. No serious risk taken in my part.

When Louis brought out the first of three different Côte-Rôties and I smelled the first one he poured in my glass, I felt like that moment all over again. That perfume! Oh that perfume! I could not believe something I thought had passed years ago, could come back to remind me that it does still exist. Yes, it is not exactly the same, but it tastes close on this simplest of thing any day any time. After all, Marius himself once said: “Wine is a little thing, like we, everyone single one of us-no?” This simple little fact is what makes life, each one of us beautiful and unique; it is what makes the Côte-Rôtie Les Roses from Louis Barroul a ride every wine lover should experience.

2008 and 2009 vintage now available.

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2 responses to “Côte-Rôtie: Life after Marius”

  1. There’s just something different about Cote Rotie ;).

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