As I sit contemplating the virtues of Domaine Belle’s 2009 Crozes-Hermitage Les Pierrelles the soundtrack in my head keeps playing “Reunited…and it tastes soooo good”! Corny, without question, but then I didn’t get the nickname Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah just by chance. Domaine Belle has been a favorite Northern Rhone producer here at The Wine House for 20 years but it has been only recently that we’ve had the opportunity to import the wines directly. This development has allowed us to offer Belle’s wines, which have historically been considered one of the Rhone’s great wine values, at even more attractive pricing. The staff sampled the 2009 Les Pierrelles last year and the conversation wasn’t whether we should import the wine or not, that was a given, the concern was how much could we get! What’s not to love? Inky, deep purple Syrah exhibiting blueberry and black cherry fruit, pepper spice, and a plush juicy texture that sits pretty on the palate. I am amazed at how approachable and drinkable it is at this stage. I wouldn’t think twice consuming this now and over the next couple years. This is Syrah to drink tonight!
I was able to visit Domaine Belle a few years back. Up until 1987 the Belle’s sold their grapes to the local co-op as many growers in the area do each year. It is a working farm known for growing apricots as well as wine grapes. I wouldn’t say the estate lacks charm, but it is bare bones in the sense that the winery is nothing but tanks and barrels. Clearly they’ve allocated their resources towards production and not ambiance. The estate is located near the town of Larnage about 2 miles north of the 300-acre vineyard of Hermitage. The Les Pierrelles vineyards sit just below Hermitage and are covered with small calcareous/limestone granite pebbles with an average vine age of 25 years.
For those of you who already know you love Syrah from Northern Rhone:
The 2009 Les Pierrelles offers rich fruit, spiciness both in the aromatics and on the palate, at a price that makes drinking Northern Rhone less of a special occasion drink.
For those of you who know little or nothing about Northern Rhone Syrah: The 2009 Les Pierrelles is a great place to start your vinous journey into the pleasures of Northern Rhone Syrah. There is an intrinsic approachability to this wine that whether you drink Old- or New-World wines, you’ll get this one immediately. Tasty juice is just that, delicious.
Yellow daffodils are coloring the freeway medians of Northern California, a sign that spring is entering its stride. Last night’s glass of 2009 Les Pierrelles had me salivating for some spring lamb and tender greens, but that itch will need to wait to be scratched as I’m doing my best to go meatless for the next 6 weeks. But then again the ’09 Les Pierrelles isn’t so big and burly it needs animal protein. Not at all. Tonight I’ll finish the rest of the bottle with a pizza topped with carmelized onions and goat cheese. Add to that a salad of bitter greens on the side and I’m set. —Anya Balistreri