1990 Gentaz Dervieux Cote Rotie

Winemaker/owner Marius Gentaz owned a little under 2 hectares of vineyards in the Cote Rotie.  He told us his family traced their roots in Cote Rotie back to the 1700’s.

He produced his wines under the Gentaz Dervieux which (also included parcels he got from the Dervieux Thaler family).

I had the good fortune to visit Marius Gentaz (with Richard Field) in the early 90’s where we actually tasted both the 1989 (out of bottle) & barrel samples of this very 1990!

Because he spoke virtually no English, Marius drew us a picture showing us his parcels in the Cote Brune & in La Landonne (2 of the 5 hillsides he sketched).

Both wines were produced mainly from 70 year old vines….50% “Maurves” Syrah (cuttings he had gotten from Hermitage) & 50% from a traditional selection (looser packed & smaller berries).  In both cases there was less than 1% Viognier blended in & both wines were aged in old oak.

The 1989 was sweet, ripe, seemingly higher glycerine, cassis-like concentration, yet focused & UN-heavy.  The nose was very floral, earthy, peppery, gamey, the mouth concentrated, tannic, yet elegant & majestic.

(On the same trip we were fortunate to find the 1989 at a Chinese restaurant in Paris, of all places.  The food was nothing like what we eat here in the islands, but we really didn’t care, because the wine was glorious.  Just glorious!  I, in fact, ended up purchasing the last 3 bottles they had & took them home with me).

The 1990 in contrast was full of violets, smoke, tar aromas, not as rich on the palate, by a long, long, floral finish.   It seemed the more classy of the 2 wines with lots of pedigree.

I have been fortunate to have tasted the 1990 twice in the past 12 months.  One bottle definitely still has the pedigree with lots of roasted chestnut, musk, pepper, sandalwood & forest floor aromas. Unfortunately the other was somewhat tired & dull.  The palate in both wines, however, was far better than the nose…..with all kinds of  nuances, breed, intrigue, complexities & a long finish.

I believe 1992 was Marius Gentaz’s last official vintage.  sadly, the end of an era.

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