Xavier Gérard, Côte-Rôtie
Xavier Gérard, Côte-Rôtie

Xavier Gérard, Côte-Rôtie

Northern Rhône, France 2020 (750mL)
Regular price$89.00

Xavier Gérard, Côte-Rôtie

It’s a fall tradition at SommSelect to eagerly anticipate the latest release from rising Rhône superstar Xavier Gérard. Each vintage seems to outdo the last, which is further evidence of the rocket-like trajectory of this talented winemaker, who still has less than a decade of solo cellar work under his belt. The blockbuster 2020 is no exception: Robust, richly complex, deep and profound without losing any of the telltale savory marks of this famously wild Northern Rhône appellation. If you’ve been dutifully stocking your cellar with the fruits of Xavier’s labor for the last few years, then you know exactly what to do—and if not, now is the time to jump on the bandwagon. And don’t hold back! This is a wine that has a very, very long life ahead.

Xavier Gérard is a young gun who farms about three hectares of Côte-Rôtie vines by hand (as if there was any other way) and vinifies wines in the most traditional manner possible. He took over the operation from his parents, from whom he learned his craft, and completed his first “solo” vintage in 2014. 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. 

This is a soulful, robust, 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.” In the stellar 2020 vintage, 50% of the grape clusters were left intact, and the Syrah co-fermented with a splash of Viognier on ambient yeasts. Aging occurred in 600- and 228-liter barrels (a small percentage was new) for a whopping 24 months before bottling without fining or filtration. 

The 2020 we believe may be Xavier’s greatest effort to date: It is a wine of extraordinary balance, depth, density, and perfume. Blessed with a vintage that brought powerful concentration, he decided to increase his percentage of whole-cluster inclusion and it shows in a Bordeaux stem. This unleashes a fusillade of lush black cherry, framboise liqueur, boysenberry, and blue fruit followed by another volley of smoke, crushed black stone, candied violet, charred rose, baking spice, cardamom, and cracked pepper. The palate is robust and full-bodied but the soft, fine-grained tannins allow each layer to glide into an ultra-savory, dark-berried finish. The longer it stays in a decanter, or just open in your cellar, the better it gets. As such its ideal drinking window is very long, and its peak is many years away. So stock your cellar with as many bottles as you can fit, or until we run out!

Xavier Gérard, Côte-Rôtie

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