2016 Joseph Roty Champs St. Etienne Marsannay


90 points Robert Parker

The 2016 Marsannay Champs Saint Etienne is excellent, exhibiting an attractive bouquet of crushed blackcurrants, licorice and rich soil tones, followed by a medium to full-bodied, ample and succulent palate with a ripe core of fruit, juicy acids and fine structuring tannins.

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This extensive tasting with affable eleventh-generation vigneron Pierre-Jean Roty—who took the helm at this discrete family owned domaine following his brother’s untimely passing in 2015—took in vintages 2017 and 2016. Both are successful years for this important estate, the 2017s supple and charming, gaining in depth and dimension as one ascends the appellation hierarchy; the 2016s pure and vibrant, evoking the 2010s, with brighter acids and greater concentration than the more open-knit 2017s. Roty fans will be familiar with the approach: a high proportion of old vines; minimal use of chemical treatments and worked soils in the vineyards; destemmed grapes, fermented in concrete tanks; and élevage in generous percentages of smoky new oak for 15-16 months. My sense is that today’s wines are suppler than the Roty wines of yesteryear. They’re less forbidding in their youth than their formidable reputation might suggest: even the grands crus boast such generosity of fruit that their rich structuring tannins are frequently concealed. But they appear to develop just as gracefully as ever. Readers shouldn’t hesitate to seek them out


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