Log In Sign Up

Domaine Xavier Gérard, Côte-RôtieNorthern Rhône, France 2018 (750mL)

The Daily Offer

Domaine Xavier Gérard, Côte-Rôtie Northern Rhône, France 2018 (750mL)

Fruit
Earth
Body
Tannin
Acid
Alcohol

I’ll never forget my visit to Domaine Xavier Gérard. We were in the midst of climbing a precipitous road on the slopes of Condrieu when our app told us we had arrived. It was wrong. We were instead at a fork: The “main” road kept winding up to our left and a narrower, wooded dirt path slipped along the hillside to our right. We chose the precarious route, and after about 30 seconds of jerking across rocky terrain, we realized our rental car was not cut out for this—especially after rounding a bend and seeing a near-vertical slope in front of us. Still, we floored it, gaining just enough momentum to crest the hill before our tires spun out. We came into a small clearing and there it was: A quaint homestead with Xavier out front, bewildered and grinning. “You came up that way? Nobody comes up that way! Next time use the road!” We then toured the surrounding vineyard and tasted through every barrel (including today’s 2018) in his garage-turned-cellar, and we knew: 


This one-man show was the next top talent of Côte-Rôtie. Gérard’s limited-production gems are Syrahs of genuine polish, power, and authenticity, priced far below blue chips Jamet, Rostaing, and Guigal. So, if you are building a wine cellar with an emphasis on intrinsic quality over “brand recognition,” today’s outstanding, handcrafted 2018 should hold a prominent position. I have no doubt this will age 10, 15, 20+ years with ease, making it one of Northern Rhône’s lowest-entry investments right now. How these wines haven’t yet lept across the $100 threshold is beyond me!




Xavier Gérard is a young gun who farms 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. Xavier is built like a football player, no doubt thanks to the dizzyingly steep inclines of his vineyards and the back-breaking labor involved, which is largely conducted by him and him alone (there’s only one full-time employee!). In the cellar, the Syrah—along with a splash of Viognier—is fermented on ambient yeasts and about 25% of the whole grape clusters are left in the must. Aging occurs in mostly used 600- and 228-liter barrels for a whopping 24 months before bottling without fining or filtration. 


This is a soulful, robust, and lavishly powerful 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 the granitic lieu-dit of “Mollard,” with the remainder hails from lieux-dits “Fongeant,” “Viallière,” and “La Landonne.” The latter, of course, is among the most famous and steepest sites in the darker-soiled “Côte Brune.”


Xavier Gérard’s 2018 Côte-Rôtie is a massive wine in the best possible way. It fills the glass with an opaque dark purple-ruby hue and fires back intoxicating aromas as if shot out of a cannon: blackberry and black cherry liqueurs, plum pie, cassis, espresso, smoked meat, green olive tapenade, black peppercorn, candied violets, damp herbs, tar, and pulverized black rock. The full-bodied palate unleashes dark, inky layers of black fruits and oak spice with fleeting moments of savory earth. It’s a wild, opulent tour de force that needs time and air. If you decant a bottle a good two hours before serving it, this wine will provide enough sappy, violet-scented, smoky/mineral Syrah character to make you swoon. Still, at this point in the wine’s life, it’s not yet ready to reveal its entire self to you. While its “golden age” of drinking will start around birthdays 5-7, this has the vigor and power to evolve for decades. Cheers!





Domaine Xavier Gérard, Côte-Rôtie Northern Rhône, France 2018 - SommSelect

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionNorthern Rhône
  • Sub-RegionCôte-Rôtie
  • SoilGranite & Schist
  • FarmingSustainable
  • BlendSyrah 96%, Viognier 4%
  • Alcohol14.5%
  • OakLarge French Barrels, 15% New
  • Service Temp.60° F
  • GlasswareBurgundy Stem
  • Drink2023-2040
  • Decanting2+ Hours
  • PairingRaan Masala

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionNorthern Rhône
  • Sub-RegionCôte-Rôtie
  • SoilGranite & Schist
  • FarmingSustainable
  • BlendSyrah 96%, Viognier 4%
  • Alcohol14.5%
  • OakLarge French Barrels, 15% New
  • Temp.Serve at 60° F
  • GlasswareBurgundy Stem
  • Drinking2023-2040
  • Decanting2+ Hours
  • PairingRaan Masala