2018 Coursodon New Releases

Northern Rhône wine lovers with purist leanings will be head over heels with the soon-to-be-released 2016 vintage, which offers an abundance of energetic, well-balanced and generally graceful wines. As impressive as the 2015s are, I’ve encountered a not-insignificant number of collectors who view many of the wines as too much of a good thing: too ripe, too rich, too heavy, too tannic…you get the picture. There are no such qualms when it comes to the 2016s, though. A number of producers call it a “dream vintage” for the wines’ collective balance, freshness and expression of terroir. Based on the performance of the wines I tasted from barrel in late March and early June, and the handful of finished wines that I was able to try when I returned home, 2016 is a vintage that’s a must-buy for readers who prize Syrah built along pure, graceful, dare I say feminine, lines. Even so, the wines are in no way lacking depth of flavor or structure, which leads me to think that many of the wines will hit their 20th birthday in fine form. JOSH RAYNOLDS, Vinous

One of my favorite estates in the Northern Rhône is that of the young Jerome Coursodon, who makes a bevy of brilliant St Josephs from his roughly 16 hectares of vines. He’s another progressive winemaker who has one foot in the past and one foot in the future, and the wines shows impeccable purity of fruit while remaining classic St Joseph. Don’t miss these wines! JEB DUNNUCK, The Wine Advocate

Jérome Coursodon’s fruit-forward wines fly under the radar in the US, but that’s not the case in Europe. He told me that he typically sells all of his wines within a couple of months of bottling, but he holds back about 10 percent of his production to offer to visitors who drop by the family cellar in Mauves. Coursodon likes to bottle his wines on the early side “to preserve the freshness and let the wines age in bottle, not in barrel.” While my experience with older bottles from this 16-hectare domain (13.5 planted to Syrah and the rest to Marsanne and Roussanne), both red and white, has proven that the wines do age well, I personally prefer to drink them on the young side, for their dynamic fruit. JOSH RAYNOLDS

This has long been one of the leading lights of St Joseph and the wines have a huge, almost cult like, following in France among restauranteurs and collectors alike. Based in the important village of Mauves with vines averaging 50+ years and located on the steep, granite laden slopes of the town. Jerome Coursodon and his team work these prodigiously steep, rocky, challenging faces and old vines to grow some of the Rhone’s most elegant, perfumed and gorgeously attractive reds.

Because the old vine Syrah here is what has made this estate famous it is very easy to overlook their brilliant whites. A 100% Marsanne that is aged in a blend of stainless steel and concrete the Silice Blanc will give most Northern Rhone whites a very serious run for their money with its textural, fleshy, rich and powerful frame and paradoxically bracing acidity and lively palate. This release there is a new white as well, a blend of Viognier and Roussane. That is very exciting news as Coursodon’s whites are a personal favourite in the Halligan-Rose household.

I think a little word on the vintage is important here. While 2015 gained a lot of praise (justifiably in the Northern Rhone) across much of France the wines are very different animals in 2016. The former is a vintage of ripe, concentrated and powerfully imposing wines while the later tends towards more refinement and classicism. This is a similar story you hear across a lot of the prominent regions, 2015 is a year of bells and whistles while 16 is a year that sings for its purity and energy, it’s a year that has garnered more praise from the winemakers in many cases. Certainly I believe it a year in which long standing fans of the wines will want to go long and that will reward you with many sublime examples given time.