Northern Rhone in 1997. Chapoutier produces his Le Meal Blanc on the slopes of the Hermitage hill, the very same hill yours truly and my friend Vesa are going to conquer in a week during our wine trip to Burgundy & Northern Rhone. So it pays to get acknowledged of the mature Northern Rhone wines before the trip. Having tasted several red wines from the same slopes, this was the first time I tasted a mature white wine from the Le Meal.
The wine had a mid-intensive yellow colour with a soft and round nose of apricot and fruitiness, however some notable oxidation indicating that the bottle should be drank very soon. The palate was also soft and round with medium alchocol and acidity and dominated by apricot jam and minerality. This was a well produced wine.
However, the 1997 Cote-Rotie's fruitiness was not up to bar with the tannins and alcohol content, as the wine tasted more of maturation elements than substance in the form of fruit. I would say this was one-dimensional and overly tannic in fact. The wine is past its peak, as according to other sources, the wine was rich and full in palate when young - so I would recommend to drink yours quickly if you have them stored. This was somewhat dissapointing to experience, as otherwise the wine looked nicely matured in the glass by its colour and held promise when sniffed from the glass, with notes of leather there. However, this could be explained by bottle differences - how well you store it can have a significant difference in the life span of a 14 year old wine.