CLOS DES GRIVES 2015 by Domaine Combier : Time travel in the Rhône Valley


Already more than 65 years old — 50 years since it went organic — and not a wrinkle in sight for Clos des Grives which has just released its 2015 vintage. This milestone provides an opportunity for Laurent Combier and his sons, Julien and David, to look back at fifteen years of vintages, from 2015 to 1999, of a wine whose ageing potential has become a reference in the northern Rhône Valley.

Ideally situated between the Alps and the Massif Central, south of the Crozes Hermitage appellation, Clos des Grives gives birth each year to a wine that is simply unique for its velvety texture, its complexity and its finesse. 2015, exceptional both in terms of climate and the temperament of this wine, represents the apogee of what this unique vineyard can produce. Old vines planted in 1952, a 12 month maturing period in barrel plus an additional year in bottles in the estate’s cellars have shaped, in their own special way, the density, balance and finesse of this wine.

An exceptional vintage calls for an exceptional tasting…To mark the launch of the 2015 vintage, a vertical tasting has been organised to explore the complexity of this deep Syrah from the Rhône, after the passage of several years. Travel through time with Laurent, Julien and David Combier by experiencing the evolution of Clos des Grives from 2015 to 1999.

(Tasting June 2017)

Purple in colour, intense and dense. Its highly distinguished nose reveals great balance and a perfectly mastered power. With superb fruit, well-integrated tannins and notes of pepper and cloves, this Clos des Grives shows astounding energy. It will gain in complexity after long years of cellaring as have its elders that were born under an auspicious star.

Whilst it is still very young in aspect with a characteristic violet hue, its nose is already elegant. This Clos des Grives offers agreeable acidity on the palate, toasted notes and a profusion of fruit. Its volume and lovely smoothness are complemented by a long, mouth-watering finish.

Although the nose is still somewhat restrained, its violet colour betrays its great youth. After airing the nose reveals fruity notes of blood orange. In the mouth the attack is fluid and fruity, with good volume. A well-balanced wine of good body, which requires a little more patience still.

The nose is enchanting, with delectable notes of violets and red fruit. Crisp and redolent with fruit, this is a superbly balanced wine that still harbours notes of barrel ageing in its construction.

Its nose is young, delicate, with mouth-watering notes of red fruit. Its palate is fluid, silky and supple. The classicism of Clos des Grives with its characteristic touch of menthol.

Its intense violet colour reveals its youth. The nose is beguiling, floral, with notes of violet. In the mouth it is an explosion of red fruit, with its notes of raspberry. Its volume, the smoothness of its tannins and its good acidic balance make it a wine that is agreeable to drink now. But its slow evolution and its finish of impressive length mean it also has great ageing potential.

Its refined nose, of great intensity and elegance, announce a consequential wine. The mouth is full, concentrated and powerful, underscored by superb acidity. This is a wine that is still young, and needs a good few years to reach its best expression.

The very peppery nose of this wine with its notes of red fruit, blood orange and lard reveal the noble origin of the wine. Supple and fluid in the mouth with a fine framework of fruit and distinctive tannins. Its expressive pepperiness, associated with some herbaceous notes, is surprising, and procures a great sensation of freshness.

A brownish tinge to the colour. The freshness of its nose, refined, with notes of black olive, acidulous fruit and spice, reveals all the energy of this wine. This Clos des Grives has excellent density and good length and would benefit from a few more years cellaring to see it gain in complexity.

The very youthful aspect surprises with its deep violet colour. The nose is fresh, young, with floral aromas that evolve to notes of acidulous fruit and smoked lard. In the mouth it is fluid, supple with good balance and volume. Notes of citrus fruit, blood orange and jasmine confer a unique character on this wine of great length.

A wine of extraordinary elegance. Its deep red hue and its peppery, spicy richness with red fruit notes give it incredible distinction. The tannins are discernible, very refined, and there is excellent acidity and magnificent body. Its persistent, complex, fruity aromas prolong the pleasure.

Lightly brown rimmed in aspect. Its powerful, opulent nose is beautifully smooth and rich in fruit. On the palate, its notes of crystallized fruit associated with superb acidity recall the typical characteristics of the terroir in spite of the heatwave conditions of the year.

Its superb colour and the precision of its nose inspire tasting. With a fairly discreet first palate, it offers good density and texture associated with great freshness. Red fruits dominate, with elegant tannins on the mid palate and a delicious, extremely long finish, with notes of lard and well-integrated oak.

An attractive red brown hue with orange reflections (tuilé). With finesse and freshness its aromas reveal intense notes of black olive and blackberry. An abundance of fruit on the palate, which is succulent, with good acidity. Excellent length.

Its nose of black olive and white pepper is enticing and invites tasting. A Clos des Grives full of finesse, with notes of lard, then fruit, with blackberries and blackcurrant liqueur. The finish with its notes of menthol adds an extra touch of freshness to this wine that is almost 20 years old.