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  • French Red Rhone Wine, Domaine François Merlin 2012 Saint-Joseph

    Domaine François Merlin
    2012 Saint-Joseph
     

    $27

    This is a robust Saint Joseph, strong and firm, particularly when compared to Pichon’s Saint Joseph. We advise giving it a little time in the cellar before drinking.

    • Deeply colored and intensely perfumed with dark fruit scents, mixed with Chinese herbs, wood, ginger, soy, leather, and musky, meaty scents. Bright, clean, but intense fruitiness on the palate, nicely balanced by tannin and a streak of brisk acidity, especially on the mid-palate. Lingering, concentrated, dark cherry flavors on the finish. Delicious.

      Food pairing: Lamb; sausages; grilled or barbecued meat; pungent stews; pepper steak; dishes flavored with olives

  • French Red Rhone Wine, Domaine François Merlin 2011 Saint-Joseph

    Domaine François Merlin
    2011 Saint-Joseph
     

    $27

    This is a robust Saint Joseph, strong and firm, particularly when compared to Pichon’s Saint Joseph. We advise giving it a little time in the cellar before drinking.

    • An easy-drinking, cool climate Syrah with tangy raspberry notes and good balance. Slight charcoal aromas on the nose, but raspberry is the key player. A nice wine to have on hand to serve with grilled lamb or other meat.

      Food pairing: Lamb kebobs

  • French White Rhone Wine, Domaine François Merlin 2011 Condrieu Terroirs

    Domaine François Merlin
    2011 Condrieu
    Terroirs

    $50

    This classic Condrieu, assembled from several Viognier vines, bears the trademark of François Merlin’s taste: not too cloying and sweet, with vivacity and minerality.

    • Dreamy and seductive on the nose, with suggestions of white flowers, wet stone, chalk, stone fruits, and confectioneries. Of medium body on the palate, which features white flowers, honey, perfume, and intense, ethereal apricot flavors that lead into a clean, delicate finish. The high level of alcohol is apparent—and part of the charm.

      Food pairing: apricot tart; chicken in an apricot sauce

  • French White Rhone Wine, Domaine François Merlin 2012 Condrieu Terroirs

    Domaine François Merlin
    2012 Condrieu
    Terroirs

    $50LIMITED QUANTITY

    This classic Condrieu, assembled from several Viognier vines, bears the trademark of François Merlin’s taste: not too cloying and sweet, with vivacity and minerality.

    • A pretty, medium gold color. A glassful of exuberance—the nose overflowing with butterscotch, peaches, white flowers, and apricots. Intense and buttery on the palate, yet restrained at the same time. Rich but dry. Opulent but understated. A little earthy as well. Not as expansive on the palate as on the nose, but still seductive. Enjoy now.

      Food pairing: Apéritif; light herb-scented dishes, including pastas with fresh peas, beans or other legumes; rich fish or shellfish dishes, including scallops and lobster dishes; roasted root vegetables; Condrieu often pairs surprisingly well with mild curry dishes

  • French White Rhone Wine, Domaine François Merlin 2011 Condrieu Cuvée Jeanraude

    Domaine François Merlin
    2011 Condrieu
    Cuvée Jeanraude

    $60SOLD OUT

    The domaine’s top cuvée, this is François Merlin’s “keeping wine”, the one he takes out to show off to guests. “A definite cut above” Merlin’s other Condrieu, according to Rhône expert Livingstone-Learmonth.

    • Sweet spice predominates on the nose. The palate is rich and heady, with intensely concentrated stone fruit and floral flavors leading to a dry finish characterized by chalky mineral notes.

      Food pairing: Thai food; fruit tarts

  • French White Rhone Wine, Domaine François Merlin 2012 Condrieu Cuvée Jeanraude

    Domaine François Merlin
    2012 Condrieu
    Cuvée Jeanraude

    $60

    The domaine’s top cuvée, this is François Merlin’s “keeping wine”, the one he takes out to impress his guests. “A definite cut above” Merlin’s other Condrieu, according to Rhône expert Livingstone-Learmonth.

    • This wine has a definite barrel smell at first, lots of vanilla and some toast. As it opens up, the stonefruit starts to show. This is a dry-style wine but it is not crisp — it is robust and intense.

      Food pairing: Lobster

  • French Red Rhone Wine, Domaine François Merlin 2010 Côte-Rôtie

    Domaine François Merlin
    2010 Côte-Rôtie
     

    $65

    Originating from the Cognet lieux-dit, this Syrah is a robust yet elegant Côte Rôtie. The 2010 vintage is considered one of the best vintages in Côte-Rôtie since the legendary vintage of 1978.

    • It’s old-fashioned to compare wine to women, but this extraordinarily delicious wine reminded me of a beauty I once knew who had done years of aikido—mesmerizing but with an aura of authority stemming from her long training. The 2010 François Merlin Côte-Rôtie is a similarly quiet powerhouse in a beautifully elegant wrapper. Deep purple, redolent of violets and perfumed with wood, peaches, toast, cinnamon buns, and an undercurrent of iodine seemingly wafting in from the ocean. Vibrant, powerful, and youthful yet surprisingly delicate with fine-grained tannins masking a deep core of intense, layered fruit. Seductive and delicious already, but likely to improve for another decade or more.

      Food pairing: Steak with black pepper, olives, or shiitake or porcini mushrooms; venison; duck; other game or fowl—pigeon, perhaps?; terrine; grilled eggplant; lamb; veal chops with morels

  • French Red Rhone Wine, Domaine François Merlin 2012 Côte-Rôtie

    Domaine François Merlin
    2012 Côte-Rôtie
     

    $65

    Originating from the Cognet lieu-dit, this Syrah is a robust yet elegant Côte Rôtie. One of our most stunning wines, we bring out this bottle whenever we want to dazzle a guest or a friend!

    • A reticent nose soon opens up to reveal seductive, musky meat aromas, with stewed fruit scents and floral undertones. Has real presence on the palate — rich and chocolaty with hints of cayenne. Muscular tannins veil a sweet core of underlying fruit. Already an attractive wine, but a couple more years more will show it at its best. Decant it and take it slowly if you can’t help drinking it young.

      Food pairing: Lamb; sausages; grilled or barbecued meat; pungent stews; pepper steak; dishes flavored with olives

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