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The wines of Gilles Barge, Ampuis, Côte-Rôtie


I first met Gilles Barge when he was showing his 1999 Côte-Rôtie at an en primeur tasting in London. In his broken English, he was explaining how thrilled he was with this vintage, which he described as his best ever. He was also smiling a lot as he presented this vertical tasting of his Côte-Rôtie Cuvée du Plessy, a really interesting set of wines.

Gilles Barge’s style can be fairly described as traditional. These are not big, fleshy, low acid, accessible wines in the fashionable international style. They’re wines that take a bit of getting used to, with their challenging array of savoury flavours. I guess you could call them terroir wines, although some of these flavours have as much to do with winemaking choices as they do the soil.

It’s a style I enjoy and appreciate—I’m still working my way through a case of his 2001 Clos des Martinets St Joseph, which has delivered great wine-drinking pleasure.

UK agent is Richards Walford, and where applicable RRPs are included.

Gilles Barge Côte-Rôtie Cuvée de Plessy 2003
Lovely vivid fruit here: ripe, slightly sweet with lots of firm tannins hiding underneath. A smooth, supple style with great concentration. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£26)

Gilles Barge Côte-Rôtie Cuvée de Plessy 2002
Firm, savoury, earthy spicy nose. The palate is savoury with high acidity, and rather hollow fruit. This is a savoury, tight style. Finishes dry, spicy and meaty. It would probably work as a food wine; evidently, this was quite a difficult vintage.
Very good+ 89/100 (£23)

Gilles Barge Côte-Rôtie Cuvée de Plessy 2001
This has an extreme, peppery, meaty spicy nose that’s quite savoury, with bright acidity evident. The palate is bright and peppery with high acidity. Very savoury and spicy—almost tending to austere. Very good+ 88/100 (£25)

Gilles Barge Côte-Rôtie Cuvée de Plessy 1999
A delicious wine: spicy and meaty. Open, perfumed meaty, spicy, peppery nose. Very savoury and distinctive. The palate shows lovely acid and tannic structure, backing up open, meaty, spicy fruit. Extremely savoury but brilliantly balanced. Very good/excellent 93/100

Gilles Barge Côte-Rôtie Cuvée de Plessy 1995
Evolved earthy, spicy nose with some sweetness to the fruit. Complex and showing the first signs of maturity. The palate has a lovely earthy, spicy complexity together with some fruit and rather drying tannins. A nice, savoury, evolved style. Very good/excellent 90/100

Gilles Barge Côte-Rôtie Cuvée de Plessy 1991
Slightly shy, savoury, eathy nose. The palate is powerful and earthy with drying tannins and good acidity. A mature wine, not without charm. Very good+ 88/100

Gilles Barge Côte-Rôtie Cuvée de Plessy 1989
Lovely expressive nose: just a hint of sweetness, together with herby, earthy spiciness. It’s perfumed. The palate is nicely weighted with some sweet fruit and nice earthy spiciness. Elegantly structured. Very good/excellent 93/100

Wines tasted 01/06
Find these wines with wine-searcher.com

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