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  • François Merlin
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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.

    • Blood, roasted meat, tapenade, black truffles, coffee grounds, pepper and other savory spices, boysenberry and other dark fruits, and something earthy combine to create a complex, evolving nose. Full-bodied, with slightly jammy blueberry and other dark fruit flavors, this wine coats the mouth with violets, pungent spice, and gamey, meaty flavors. Massive structure with a lengthy, fruity finish that builds in intensity then recedes, leaving concentrated blue and black fruit flavors lingering. A baby, but already stunning! A wine possibly at peak in 2019. Calls out for wild boar or other game.

      Food pairing: Game or wild boar

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

    Domaine François Merlin
    2011 Condrieu
    Terroirs

    $50SOLD OUT

    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.

    • Suggestive of white peaches and melon with sappy scents and something a little more pungent in the background—hints of spice—along with straightforward fruit. Very dry on the palate, despite a somewhat fleshy decadence. Full-bodied, pungent, strong, and spicy, yet with clean, sappy flavors. Intense but with finesse. Protracted, spicy finish. Ready to drink now but probably will keep nicely through around 2016.

      Food pairing: Pasta primavera in a light cream sauce, light curry dishes, the local goat cheese "Rigotte de Condrieu"

  • 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.

    • A heady, complex wine. Toast, wood, caramel, and apricots mark the nose. Intensely flavored on the palate, with the alcohol apparent but not overpowering. Slightly tannic on the mid-palate. Powerful yet silky, buttery yet clean. Less overtly fruity than other Condrieus, but still seductive. Delicious now, and likely to remain at its peak for another year or two at least.

      If you love Condrieu, don’t miss this one. An unusually fine example of the appellation.

      Food pairing: Delicious to sip on its own; light herb-scented dishes, including pastas with fresh peas, beans or other legumes; rich fish or shellfish, including scallops and lobster dishes; roasted root vegetables; Condrieu often pairs surprisingly well with mild curries

  • 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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