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The 2006's continue to show great potential as I head South


Day 2 lead me to René Rostaing, the sage of Ampuis, where we were able to and taste his mastered, elegant 06s.

Les Trois Côte Rôties, René Rostaing

Then a quick climb up into the arrière pays of Côte Rôtie and we arrived chez Pierre Gaillard. We tasted through the barrels with Pierre’s eldest daughter, Jeanne. Again we found great wines that were full of fruit and poise.

Lunch was at my all time favourite spot in the Northern Rhône, Hotel Schaeffer. Wonderful food and people make it a worthwhile destination spot. Unfortunately time was of an essence so lunch was short and brief before heading towards Tain l’Hermitage.

Pierre Gaillard's House
Pierre Gaillard’s House

Our first stop was with Etienne Pochon who produces our lovely and plump Domaine Barret, Crozes Hermitage. His wines have been wonderfully reliable every vintage and his 2006 rang true again.

Domaine de Colombier was our second visit outside of Tain. To my relief they had improved their driveway, widening it and solidifying it with tarmac. Hallelujah! I yet received another surprise once I saw Florent Viale, the man himself. His 6’5″ body emerged out of a tiny Citroen revealing a very new look, longish wavy hair, intellectual looking glasses…molto Italiano. The “˜Italian Stallion’ then proceeded to enlighten us about his very good 2007 vintage and guided us through the 2006s which displayed lots of zingy, fresh fruit.

Our day finished with Bernard Faurie, one of my all-time favourite growers, softly spoken, always smiling and…meticulous. I have always thought of his main cellar as a sort of hobbit’s lair. A small earthen floor underneath his home with no modern gadgets but one of the cleanest and fastidious producers I’ve ever met. He says, “Everything must be “˜nickel’ (or “˜spot on’). Hygiene is everything.” Impressive. His style reflects his cellar – old fashioned but wonderfully pure and soulful…like the man himself.

I finished the evening at a hotel/restaurant called Michel Chabran, a fairly renowned restaurant for its food. It must of had its hey day in another decade because I have never been in such an expensive restaurant outside of Paris that did not have 3 Michelin stars.