On Wednesday we visited Christophe Bonnefond and his daughter Lea in the Côte Rôtie. Their 2020 and 2021 vintages are extraordinary, some of the best and most balanced wines they’ve made — at once rich, deep, inky, chewy and refreshing. Locals have grown syrah in this tiny corner of the Côte Rôtie for thousands of years, but we’d be willing to bet not much of it has ever been this good.
The 2020s will be in this year’s July Futures issue, but we’re thrilled to have a bit of the 2019s still left in stock back in Newton. Once firmly in the ripe, oaky, “extroverted” camp that made them a darling of Robert Parker, the Bonnefonds have shifted towards subtler expression in recent years: less time in oak, larger barrels, and earlier harvests.
The domaine now achieve an extraordinary subtlety in their wines — it’s still bold, brooding, inky-dark Northern Rhône Syrah, but somehow also with subtlety, grace, and lift.
The 2019s from Bonnnefond were uniformly delicious, and enthusiastically recommend their fancier cuvées (Rochins and Rozier) for the back of your cellar. Today we’re suggesting Bonnefond’s entry-level Côte Rôtie “Colline de Couzou,” a wine we think will continue to improve for a decade, but it’s already flat out delicious today.
Josh Raynolds awarded 91-93 points, finding “blueberry and candied violet,” with a “succulent and penetrating” palate, concluding “hefty and broad yet lively as well.” This is among the best vintages of this wine in recent memory; we’d compare it to the Rochins cuvée in a less favorable year. Pair it with slow-roasted lamb for Easter.
Bonnefond Côte Rôtie “Colline” 2019
bottle price: $59