Chêne Bleu 2011 HéloïseRegular price £65
Chêne Bleu is a family-owned estate making handcrafted wines in tiny quantities. No more than 600 cases is made of any one wine, and the 30 hectares of vineyard are isolated around 600m above sea level in the Dentelles de Montmirail, a protected mountain saddle. This is one of the highest altitude wine estates in the South of France, and the cool nights bring a touch of freshness and elegance to the rich concentration typical of Southern Rhône wines. Héloïse is a blend of around 65% Syrah, 35% Grenache and 5% of either Viognier or Roussanne, depending on the vintage. It spends 18 months in barrel and is then held back for many years until deemed ready to release. It is a wine of amazing depth and complexity.
Wonderful mint, chocolate, bramble and baked spice – way more precision, power and complexity than their Abélard, tasted beforehand. Lovely elemental style – ferrous, rusty, bloody. Really wonderful.
18 pointsRichard Hemming MW, JancisRobinson.com, 06/05/2019
Deep crimson with very little sign of age in the colour. On the nose this is seductive like the northern Rhône in its complex peppery, smoky sophistication but with an added smoky bacon sweetness. On the palate, riper than the northern Rhône and more generous, still with lovely peppery Syrah flavour, plus a slight spicy meatiness and just a hint of leathery complexity and oak's sweet spice. The tannins are à point – ie you could drink this now, with food, as it was intended, or you could certainly cellar it for at least another decade. I admire the fact that this vintage has only just been released when delaying it has serious financial implications for the producer. Long, smooth, lingering and cool aftertaste, which is surprising given the alcohol level. Unusual to include Roussanne rather than Viognier in the blend. I am not sure how it influences the wine but I think it is in a slight creamy fruit sweetness on the finish. Tasted again, lightly chilled, two days later, this is still beautifully fresh and lively.
17 pointsJulia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, 02/11/2018
|Main grapes||Grenache, Syrah|