Near Perfection in the Northern Rhône

Château Grillet 2004 **** / *****

I have only tasted Château Grillet once before in my life - a rather disappointing 1979 that I picked up realtively cheaply in a wine oddments shop on the outskirts of Derby. Until recently the wine did not live up to its name or price. Now under the management of a new generation of the Neyret-Gachet family who have this 3.8 hectare vineyard since 1825, Grillet is worthy once more. Pale straw; restrained (closed initially though not over-chilled), opening up to reveal its wonderful perfume, apricots, blossom and something nebulous which I can only describe as being akin to a fine soap; lovely texture (suggesting low yields - Grillet was at one time regularly yielding considerably more wine per heactare than the appellation allowed),  rich, soft, creamy, fat but very well balanced with years still to live. Worth its price tag of  £59.00.  18.5

Cornas, Les Chaillots, Thiérry Allemand ****

From younger vines (less than 40 years old) on this small, relatively new estate (established in 1982): still deep and youthful in colour; classic, well-developed northern Rhone Syrah aromas: open, perfumed with black pepper, dark chocolate and blackberry; similarly opn and receptive on the palate, fine spicy character, great purity (blackberry and blackcurrant), lovely streak of acidity, not big but fine and taut, tannins verging on sinewy. Perfect now but should continue to develop for another five years.  £29.00 18 


Location: The Wine Society, Stevenage


19 - 20 An outstanding wine (*****)

17 – 18 An excellent wine in its class, highly recommended (****)

15 - 16 A good wine, with much to recommend it (***)

13 - 14 An enjoyable but simple, straightforward wine (**)

10 – 12 A very ordinary wine without faults but with no great merit (*)

8 - 10 Disagreeable (no stars)

Below 8 Faulty