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Domaine Xavier Gérard, Côte-RôtieNorthern Rhône, France 2017 (750mL)

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Domaine Xavier Gérard, Côte-Rôtie Northern Rhône, France 2017 (750mL)

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It’s not every day—year, rather—that we can offer a second allocation from one of our favorite new producers in the entire Northern Rhône, so please excuse us if the following sounds repetitive: For those building a wine collection purely based on intrinsic quality, Xavier Gérard’s breathtaking Côte-Rôties should be priority number one. Having personally visited and tasted through each barrel in his compact cellar/garage, it’s clear that young gun Xavier has scaled the ivory tower of Syrah producers in record time.


Most impressive of all, his limited wares are still available at welcome prices that deliver just as much pleasure and authenticity as top-dollar cult labels like Jamet and Guigal. Truly, how his prices comfortably remain in double-digit territory is beyond us, considering how sought-after and exalted these Syrahs have become. Although already delicious, complex, and ultra-perfumed, this ‘17 Côte-Rôtie has the vigor and power to evolve for decades, with its “golden age” of drinking starting around birthdays six and seven. Gérard ranks among the most under-valued investments in wine right now, so if you haven’t already, we urge you to take all six bottles available today!



My colleague Mark Osburn and I enjoyed a memorable visit with Xavier Gérard in 2018; he is a young guy farming about three hectares of Côte-Rôtie vines by hand (as if there were any other way) and vinifying wines in the most traditional manner possible. He took over the operation from his parents, from whom he learned his craft, and as we’ve noted in previous offers, he definitely looks the part: He’s built like a football player, no doubt thanks to the dizzyingly steep inclines of his vineyards and the back-breaking labor involved in tending them. In his small cellar, fermentations are initiated by ambient yeasts and varying percentages of whole grape clusters are left in the must. His Côte-Rôtie is aged in large, used demi-muids before bottling, leaving nary a trace of toastiness or vanilla in the finished product. This is a soulful, high-toned Syrah that perfectly captures what Côte-Rôtie is all about.


Given the wine’s premium vineyard sources, this should come as no surprise. The majority of the blend comes from a lieu-dit called “Mollard,” with the remainder of the fruit hailing from the “Font-Jean,” “Viallière,” and “La Landonne” vineyards. The latter, of course, is one of the most famous (and steepest) sites in the darker-soiled “Côte Brune,” singled out on top-dollar bottlings from Guigal and Delas, among others.


As I noted above, Gérard’s 2017 Côte-Rôtie will reward patience in the cellar, but it certainly isn’t forbidding now—for that we have (1) the vintage, (2) partial whole-cluster fermentation, and (3) a long aging regimen in French barrels to thank. That said, we all recommend a minimum two-hour decant if consuming in the next few years. We tracked our sample bottle over four days and it only kept blossoming and developing with each revisit. In the glass, the wine reveals a deep purple-red core and expresses a breathtaking mosaic of elite Northern Rhône aromatics: grilled meat, sun-roasted brambleberries, tar, olive tapenade, freshly cracked pepper, ripe black cherries, Chambord, dried violets, and crushed hot stone. Because it is such a generous example of Côte-Rôtie, it’s exactly what I would bring to a dinner party with a lineup of world-class French wines. Medium-bodied and gushing with fruit and a compact mineral core, this promises to win over those who appreciate a muscular, powerful Syrah that sings with high-toned energy. I can’t think of a better pairing than a tender, judiciously herbed rack of lamb still sizzling from the grill. Cheers!




Domaine Xavier Gérard, Côte-Rôtie Northern Rhône, France 2017 - SommSelect

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionNorthern Rhône Valley
  • Sub-RegionCôte-Rôtie
  • SoilGranite & Schist
  • FarmingSustainable
  • BlendSyrah
  • Alcohol14%
  • OakLarge French Oak 'Demi-Muids'
  • Service Temp.60-65° F
  • GlasswareBurgundy Stems
  • DrinkNow-2040
  • Decanting2+ Hours
  • PairingGrilled Rack of Lamb

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionNorthern Rhône Valley
  • Sub-RegionCôte-Rôtie
  • SoilGranite & Schist
  • FarmingSustainable
  • BlendSyrah
  • Alcohol14%
  • OakLarge French Oak 'Demi-Muids'
  • Temp.Serve at 60-65° F
  • GlasswareBurgundy Stems
  • DrinkingNow-2040
  • Decanting2+ Hours
  • PairingGrilled Rack of Lamb