The Latest Chapter in My Sordid Love Affair With Mont Olivet

The Latest Chapter in My Sordid Love Affair With Mont Olivet

Posted on Oct, 27. 2011 by

Categories: Wine

I’ve been waiting for an opening in the schedule so I could bring you what I consider to be a perennial champion of the wine world, from one of my favorite Rhone producers, and it’s finally here. I’m drinking a bottle of the 2009 Clos du Mont Olivet ‘Montueil – la Lavade’ Cotes du Rhone, and all I can say is that it’s pure, stunning deliciousness wrapped in a shell of classic Chateauneuf-esque garrigue and earthiness, tied up with a ribbon of restrained classicity that a wine of this price has no business getting anywhere near.

My ire towards the world of village-level CdR is well-known, and well-founded. I think, more than any other type of wine, the proportion of frumpy, uninteresting, “generic red table wine” Cotes du Rhones that I’ve had has been so overwhelming that for a long while, I just gave up on them altogether (as I’ve done with Chianti and other common basic-level European wines from time to time), waiting for something to bring me back from the brink whenever it felt the urge. Well, last year, when I tried the 2008 vintage, that day finally came. In a difficult vintage, here’s this inexpensive little village wine that tastes like a scaled-back Chateaunuef—we’re back in business, baby!, I said to myself. Well, I’ve tasted plenty of village CdR between then and now, and none have really done it for me like the La Lavade does it for me. So when the 09 shipment came in, I knew you all deserved a heads-up.

The La Lavade, as I said, has a core of pure deliciousness; it’s big without being sappy or extracted; it’s luxurious without being cloying or candied. The nose is full of garrigue, limestone and ripe berries with just a hint of woodiness – it promises depth and breadth, while not being overly obvious, which just draws you in further. The first sip is a bit like tart cherry pie: big acid for structure, soft tannins, bright fruit and a velvety chocolate element that winds its way through your palate. The finish is lingering, but not obnoxious.

As I said a year ago, I’ve been in love with Mont Olivet ever since, years and years ago, one of their aged Chateaunuefs unexpectedly transported me to another world. They walk that line between classic ageable brilliance and drink-now approachableness, and their wines always tell a story. My verdict here, though, is that Rhones of this caliber at this silly low price only come along a few times a year, and with a vintage like 2009, this has the potential to last five years (which is saying a lot for a wine at this price). Not that I think you can wait that long, but hey, maybe you forget about a few bottles down in the back of your cellar, right?

Okay, Autumn is upon us, and it’s time to move on only the best reds for winter. This is my first entry in that column. Go!

2009 Clos du Mont Olivet ‘Montueil – la Lavade’ Cotes du Rhone
Member Price: [private_member] Grand Cru: $11.55 • Premier Cru: $12.08 [/private_member]
Retail Price: $16.00
Buy Now!

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