Because of the challenges of the vintage, the 2007 Cote Rotie La Belle Helene was 100% destemmed, resulting in a superb effort that is a candidate for the Cote Rotie of the vintage. It exhibits a dense ruby/purple color as well as a beautiful bouquet of licorice, black olives, charcoal, and spice box. It is almost impossible to believe a wine with such opulent fruit, sensual, sweet tannin, and full-bodied, long finish could have been produced in a vintage such as 2007. (Not yet released) The Ogier family is a fabulous success story in the northern Rhone. As I have frequently written over the last 30 years, a family of vignerons selling their entire production to negociants, gradually begins to estate bottle, first the father, Michel, and more recently the ambitious and talented son, Stephane. The results are extraordinary wines that thrill consumers. The Ogiers have taken a strong position in Syrah vineyards planted on the hillside terraces outside the old Roman city of Vienne, a few miles north of Cote Rotie. The have two totally different terroirs, La Rosine, which is Syrah planted on granite, and l’Ame Soeur, Syrah planted on schist. Both are very fine, value-priced offerings that offer a faithful introduction into the Ogier winemaking philosophy as well as to northern Rhone Syrah. The 2007 vintage was largely damaged by hail in Cote Rotie, but much of the crop was saved by three weeks of the gusty northern winds known as the Mistral in the south that occurred in September, following horrible weather in August. The vintage turned out to be far better than expected. At the time of my visit to Ogier they were leaning toward not making a Lancement in 2007 because of hail damage. They were strongly considering declassifying that wine and blending it with the Cote Rotie. The most limited production offering is named after Michel Ogier’s charming wife, Helene. It comes closest in style to Guigal’s single vineyard Cote Rotie La Turque. Robert Parker, Wine Advocate # 182.