The Woodcocks


M. Chapoutier
Côte-Rôtie “Les Bécasses”
13.0% ABV | Price: about $56

We purchased this bottle at the winery in June 2002, while on our honeymoon in the Northern Rhône. The wine’s color has matured to a deep ruby red with the faintest glint of orange. The nose is beguiling and wildly aromatic, with a floral bouquet of violets, lavender, and rosemary floating above an earthy, leathery base. When first poured, it seemed closed on the palate, austere and thin. But after fifteen minutes in the glass, the wine began to expand and open, filling the mouth with clean dark fruit, herbs like anise and lavender, a bright acidity, and a savory, spicy earthiness. It’s a bit tannic, with a drying, woody finish (befitting its name). Perhaps it’s still a bit young, or maybe it started with a bit too much oak. Still, it’s an elegant, Old World wonder, and still wonderful in its eleventh year.



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  1. says: Evan Dawson

    Sounds wonderful and complex. I wonder, Meg: Do you and your husband hold to a schedule for opening bottles obtained on the honeymoon? Or does it happen as the urge strikes you?

  2. Hi Evan,
    Well, we do a bit of research to determine the drinking window, then try to open the wine well within that timeframe. Recently we’ve found ourselves on the side of “too late” (see this post on a Jaboulet from that trip, e.g.), so we’re trying to open them a little on the early side, now.
    Unfortunately, we weren’t able to buy more than one bottle of any of the wines we enjoyed on that trip, so we’ve not been able to experiment with opening them in thoughtful phases. We simply pull the cork and hope.

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