Domaine Combier, Crozes-Hermitage, Clos des Grives, Rhone, 2005

Let me wrap all of what I'm about to say in one short sentence: The Combier Crozes-Hermitage, Clos des Grives is PHENOMENAL!!  While the general rule is that Crozes is a tier below standard Hermitage, this breaks all reason.  In researching Laurent Combier's wines, I have discovered the Clos des Grives to be his top cuvee, and he to be the most respected producer in Crozes.

The three magnum bottles we served last Monday night were literally the last from our distributor.  If anyone in Chicago still has a bottle, save them while you can, and savor every last drop.  We bought them about a year ago, when we had paired them with an all-pork dinner, introducing the membership to Becker Lane Organic Farms, our now primary pork supplier.  And talk about an incredible deal: retail is going to be about $60, and a restaurant is going to be over $100, but again, this is two bottles in one.  But in terms of quality, the Combier is worth so much more...

On Monday, we paired it with Becker Lane Pork Sausage with Creamy Polenta, Caramelized Wild Mushrooms, and Double Solera Elixir Aged Sherry Vinegar.  It also accompanied the next course: Traditional Italian Porchetta with Roasted Baby Fennel.

Starting with a profound plum, fig, and olive nose, it entices you to dive in.  Another swirl releases lush berries and hints of spice.  The palate is wonderful: incredibly smooth front, mid, and back palate with lots of pomegranate, a little raspberry and vanilla, more fig, and the right touch of smoke.  The finish is long and silky, and leaves you craving more.  I wish I had more cases in the cellar.  I need to see if our distributor has some hiding in the warehouse... I can dream at least.  A+++


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