Tag Archives: grenache

Old-Vine Magic: Richest 2010 Cotes du Rhone (92WA)

Daniel Boulle, proprietor

Daniel Boulle, proprietor

I can barely pronounce Aphillanthes, but I can sure drink anything Daniel Boulle makes. All mind-blowers. And this CdR of VV grenache and mourvedre cuvee is stunningly intense, dark stuff, full of ripe berries, mushrooms, licorice, smoke and spice. That’s the signature of our sweet spot in the Rhone, the stony “plain of God” and low hills around Rasteau and Cairanne scattered between Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas. The 2010 vintage was a beauty and Boules is a never-fail perfectionist. I found him through our importer pal Peter Weygandt who loves exploring the Rhone as much as I do. Another “up from the co-op” story of a fourth generation wine maker who took his family’s 80-year-old vines and made a big-rating name for themselves. Even Parker calls them the richest he’s tasted. With great terroir, tiny yields and the advice of our friend Phillipe Cambie, these wines make Aphillanthes easy on the tongue. And I make it easy on your wallet and easier to love.

Buy 2010 Domaine les Aphillanthes Villages Cuvee Vieilles Vignes, Côtes du Rhône

2010 Domaine les Aphillanthes CdR Villages Cuvee Vieilles Vignes …notes of sauteed porcini mushrooms intermixed with blueberry, black currant and black raspberry fruit. Full-bodied and rich with good structure and density… another impressive, pure, multidimensional effort…
92 points, R. Parker’s Wine Advocate

Pegau Alert: Order 2011 CDP Now! Smart Buy of The Vintage (93RAS)

Laurence Feraud, proprietor of Domaine Pegau.

Laurence Feraud, proprietor of Domaine Pegau.

Laurence Feraud’s top cuvee at Pegau, da Capo, was the 100-point star of 2010, but she never quits and squeezed something darn good out of 2011 too. An iffy vintage for some, but not Laurence. When I stopped by her cellar in Chateauneuf earlier this month, I found the ’11 Cuvee Reservee a beautiful wine with a detailed texture and more mourvedre in the nose, Grenache and the rest filling out the voluptuous body with dark cherries and plums. Sweet if not as expansive as 2010. How could it be? It’s not the 2010, Laurence knows that and priced it so that it’s a solid buy. You should have a few bottles of the 2011. They’ll get you through your wait for the once-in-a-lifetime 2010s (got a few of those available too!).

Buy 2011 Domaine Pegau Reservee, Chateauneuf-du-Pape


2011 Pegau CdP Cuvee Reservee
…a seductive, open-knit, precocious, sexy example with decent acidity, sumptuous fruit and delicious, mature flavors of roasted herbs, kirsch, black currants, raspberries, licorice and incense…. 90-93 points, R. Parker’s Wine Advocate

 

Stunning 93 Pointer From Provence: Organic 1001 Nuits!

Buy 2009 Canet Valette Saint-Chinian Une et Mille Nuits, Languedoc-RoussillonSome of my most exciting wine hunting in the last few years is in the south of France – think Leon Barral and Ch. Lascaux. I love Herault, rugged old country on the slopes of the Massif Central. Head west from Montpelier along the Mediterranean and then go up into the hills. Saint-Chinian is now one of the top AOCs in Languedoc and Canet Valette my best new discovery there. Marc Valette and his granddad know this terroir; they were one of the first to go “bio” 20 years ago to show off its purity and quality. No fertilizing, no fining, no filtering, no foolishness, just good honest wine. Proof’s in this bottle, the 2009 prize cuvee he calls 1001 Nuits, and it is magical. He blends five of my favorite grapes from Chateauneuf du Pape with Provencal abandon for a with big aromas and silky finesse, exotic yet muscular enough for the local cassoulet. Valette says he makes his wine to suit his rugby teammates and his favorite Michelin-starred chef. Guess you and I are in the middle and love it for being old-fashioned, incredibly sophisticated and a can’t-miss deal. A 93-pointer for under $20? Better buy plenty! 93 points, Bob Sprentall, B-21 Proprietor

Here’s some photos from the 2009 harvest:

Beau Mistral: 94 Point Rockin’ Rasteau

Rasteau has some super stuff! The bureaucratic monolith of wine finally figured out what us Rhone lovers have been savoring for years. Just north of Gigondas, its mostly hillside vineyards are planted over smooth, stone covered clay-limestone terraces. Rasteau was historically an overachieving Cotes du Rhone-Villages. With the 2010 vintage it was granted long overdue AOC status. Leading the charge is Domaine Beau Mistral with these two cuvees that are crystalline expressions of the domaine’s 60 to 100 year old Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvedre vines. When I tasted the wines with diamond discovering importer Peter Weygandt, I was awestruck by their understated elegance and delicate grace for a wines of such immense proportions. Completely fell in love with the Florianaelle, the domaine’s deluxe cuvee, a remarkably sophisticated Rasteau with a mineral and limestone inflected finish. Saint Martin is a lieu-dit (single vineyard) wine, not as stammeringly gorgeous as the Florianaelle, but a substantial and well-built wine with a brawn that demands attention. Have at it.

 

2010 Domaine Beau Mistral
Villages Rasteau St. Martin

…A tremendously intense bouquet of red and black fruits, garrigue, licorice and spice box soars from the glass of this full-bodied, well-endowed, voluptuously textured, thick, juicy red. It should drink well for a decade.

 

2010 Domaine Beau Mistral
Villages Rasteau Florianaelle

…stunning array of kirsch and blackberry liqueur to go with notions of spice-box, licorice, and saddle leather on the nose. Not losing a beat on the palate either, this full-bodied, powerful and concentrated…

 

Pegau 100-Pointers Not To Be Missed Really Big Bottles!

Spent an afternoon with Laurence Féraud last week in Chateauneuf. Lots going on at Pegau! Coming soon is Chateau Pegau. No no, not Bordeaux. These are Grenache folks through and through. A Chateau’s property must be contiguous and that’s not what makes Pegau’s Chateauneufs great. Her parcels are spread across the CdP zone; a plot near Rayas, others in La Crau and Montpertuis, etc. Chateau Pegau is a recently purchased Cotes du Rhone estate located just south of the CdP zone, and it is really good. More on this later in the year. Actually the point I want to make is based on tasting the 2010 Reservee and Capo from bottle with Laurence last week. These wines do live up to the press, and are must-haves if you can. Check out the HUGE special bottlings.

 

 
2010 Domaine Pegau CdP Reservee

…Very rich with lots of Provencal herb, smoky, meaty, kirsch, black currant and blackberry notes, it is a stunningly viscous, thick and rich effort with a slightly more vibrant finish….

 
2010 Domaine Pegau CdP da Capo

…Notions of ripe figs, kirsch liqueur, cedar, Christmas fruitcake, smoked meats, charcuterie and beef blood are present in this staggeringly complex, rich, full-throttle, massive, intense wine….

 

 
2007 Domaine Pegau CdP Reservee

…dense plum/purple color along with a big, sweet bouquet of beef blood, grilled herbs, barbecue smoke, lavender, sweet cassis and kirsch and a hint of Asian soy. The wine possesses a fabulous texture…

 

 
2007 Domaine Pegau CdP da Capo

…aromas of smoked meats, Peking duck, licorice, lavender, aged beef, grilled steak blood, black currants, plums, sauteed cepes and soy. …concentrated, broad, expansive and massive but not over the top…

 

 
2006 Domaine Pegau CdP Reservee

…meaty, gamy character intermixed with abundant notes of kirsch liqueur, ground pepper and Provencal herbs, sweeter tannins than the 2005, a voluptuous, full-bodied mouthfeel, and a long finish….

 

 

Big Bottle Offering – Special Order Only

$15 Pegau? Yep! You Heard That Right!

This just in! You no longer have to spend $80 for a bottle of Pegau! What happens when you own 40+ acres of vineyards in Chateauneuf-du-Pape (and that’s a lot of Chateauneuf!) and want to sell off some of your production, as say, Cotes du Rhone? French wine law only allows CdP to be declassified as non vintage Vin de Pays, or “country wine.” Lucky you. Dynamic Laurent Feraud, owner of Domaine Pegau, has those 40+ acres of CdP and has fashioned a stunning value in Plan Pegau. After tasting a vertical of Pegau CDP with her spanning 30 years, we got a taste of the Plan and the planning began. So close to that Pegau pedigree, this is a delicious mouthful that will leave you with a cash-back smile.

 

Domaine Pegau Plan Pegau Lot 2010

Good concentration and ample fruit textures. Most serious Plan Pegau to date. More vibrant than the 2009, as one could say about many Chateauneuf. Ripe, yes, but has good drive, and serious length….

For Mindblowing Rasteau, Aphillanthes Is The Way To Go!

Owner Daniel Boulle is a perfectionist whose viticultural zeal produces peerlessly pristine fruit. With minuscule yields, his grapes, thanks to consulting advice from our big buddy, famed winemaker Philippe Cambie, create some of the most incredible, unbelievably rich yet restrained Grenache-driven wines my palate has encountered. This Rasteau wine punches through the stratosphere of pleasure, the depth of the fruit from a plot planted in 1921 produces waves of flavor tethered by a savoriness that leaves you wanting more. This might be the find of a lifetime… and you’re gonna need to taste it yourself to fully comprehend its magnificence.

 

2010 Domaine les Aphillanthes 1921

…delivers a knockout bouquet of ganache-covered blackberry and cassis styled fruit that is intermixed with notions of hot stones, leather, graphite, licorice, and roasted herbs. Gorgeously rich and decadent…

Avignon Find: 92-pt CdR That’s Darn Near Chateauneuf from Kermit Lynch

The childrens song is right, I was dancing sur la pont of old Avignon too after finding this Cotes du Rhone! It’s as close to Chateauneuf du Pape as you can come for under $25, and well under. Terres d’Avignon is another killer over-achiever that our friend Kermit Lynch brings in from the Rhone. It’s not far from CdP Pape in distance, or in spirit, but leagues away in price. This is a blend of cinsault, grenache, mourvedre and syrah, the varietals giving robust flavors to the Rhones we love. From old vines on marl and limestone in the stony heat of that luscious 2010 vintage. Shows blackberries, licorice and the wild herbs of garrigue, lavender and rosemary, supple and sleek in texture. You can’t drink Chateauneuf every night and why would you when you have Terres d’Avignon? In fact this ’10 is rich enough for a weekend feast; spend your savings on a bigger leg of lamb. Indulge.

 

2010 Reserve des Armoiries CdR
Terres d’Avignon

…From old vines on marl and limestone in the stony heat of that luscious 2010 vintage. Gives the blackberries, licorice and the wild herbs of garrigue, lavender and rosemary, and supple and sleek in texture….

Saint-Damien Giggy-Fest: 95… 96… 98 Points!

Okay. Everyone who’s tasted the St.-Damien Gigs has been talking about them, and we’re all saying the same thing: they are off-the-charts great! No secret that the folks at Beaucastel, our pals the Perrins, have a serious project in this tiny hill town, and sure we are proud of Louis Barroul at St. Cosme, hitting the top 10 of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 of 2012. Something is going on in Gigondas! St.-Damien’s are gob-smackers with gorgeous Grenache fruit tethered by Mourvedre’s terra firma notes of garrigue with remarkable floral scents, too. Whiffs of wild fruits, sinewy leather and spices follow through to the palate. 2010 Rhones! I mentioned these wines here back in September and since someone else has piped up and loves ‘em too. The Rhone Report’s author and newly appointed Wine Advocate critic Jeb Dunnuck went wild on these after tasting the final bottlings and his scores are impressive, taste why! It’s a Rhone world now.

 

images/st-damien-gigondas-vv-b.gif

2010 Saint-Damien Vieilles Vignes

…off the charts decadence and richness, with notions of garrigue, licorice, violets, and assorted floral qualities all supported by a dense core of black and blue fruit. Full-bodied… beautifully balanced…

Brunel Rocks Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Andre Brunel and his Les Cailloux have always been a favorite from CdP. Love the way Andre, third generation vigneron, guides the grapes into gloriously Grenache-driven beauties. 2010 was an outstanding vintage, and Les Cailloux is one of the best I’ve tasted. Critics the world over adore this strikingly pure CdP, and so will you. Drinking wonderfully now, but built to last, this blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre, and 10% Syrah has pinpoint whiffs of blueberries, black raspberries and that ever so lovely licorice/anise note that says Southern Rhone. This effort is densely saturated, thanks to deeply concentrated fruit, the result of poor flowering in the spring. While it bodes well for a superbly structured, prodigious wine for the ages, it comes at severely reduced yields that left fewer grapes on the vines, and created one seriously voluptuous wine. Andre said his harvest was down by nearly 30%. This loss of fruit means a gain in complexity in the grapes remaining but, sadly, it means far less wine to go around. Incredibly complex, with layer upon layer of gorgeous, fleshy fruit, all saddled upon a solid structure of super smooth and tasty tannins, born to drink well for decades.

 

2010 Les Cailloux CdP

…offers up a spectacular array of spiced red fruits, garrigue, small flowers, licorice, and toast on the nose to go with a full-bodied, layered and perfectly proportioned mouth feel. …complex, seamless, and rich…

Avignon Find: 92-pt CdR That’s Darn Near Chateauneuf from Kermit

The childrens song is right, I was dancing sur la pont of old Avignon too after finding this Cotes du Rhone! It’s as close to Chateauneuf du Pape as you can come for under $25, and well under. Terres d’Avignon is another killer over-achiever that our friend Kermit Lynch brings in from the Rhone. It’s not far from CdP Pape in distance, or in spirit, but leagues away in price. This is a blend of cinsault, grenache, mourvedre and syrah, the varietals giving robust flavors to the Rhones we love. From old vines on marl and limestone in the stony heat of that luscious 2009 vintage. Shows blackberries, licorice and the wild herbs of garrigue, lavender and rosemary, supple and sleek in texture. You can’t drink Chateauneuf every night and why would you when you have Terres d’Avignon? In fact this ’09 is rich enough for a weekend feast; spend your savings on a bigger leg of lamb. Indulge.

 

2009 Reserve des Armoiries CdR
Terres d’Avignon

…From old vines on marl and limestone in the stony heat of that luscious 2009 vintage. Gives the blackberries, licorice and the wild herbs of garrigue, lavender and rosemary, and supple and sleek in texture….

94 Point Rockin’ Rasteau from Beau Mistral

Rasteau has some super stuff! The bureaucratic monolith of wine finally figured out what us Rhone lovers have been savoring for years. Just north of Gigondas, its mostly hillside vineyards are planted over smooth, stone covered clay-limestone terraces. Rasteau was historically an overachieving Cotes du Rhone-Villages. With the 2010 vintage it was granted long overdue AOC status. Leading the charge is Domaine Beau Mistral with these two cuvees that are crystalline expressions of the domaine’s 60 to 100 year old Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvedre vines. When I tasted the wines with diamond discovering importer Peter Weygandt a few months ago, I was awestruck by their understated elegance and delicate grace for a wines of such immense proportions. Completely fell in love with the Florianaelle, the domaine’s deluxe cuvee, a remarkably sophisticated Rasteau with a mineral and limestone inflected finish. Saint Martin is a lieu-dit (single vineyard) wine, not as stammeringly gorgeous as the Florianaelle, but a substantial and well-built wine with a brawn that demands attention. Have at it.

 

2010 Domaine Beau Mistral
Villages Rasteau St. Martin

…A tremendously intense bouquet of red and black fruits, garrigue, licorice and spice box soars from the glass of this full-bodied, well-endowed, voluptuously textured, thick, juicy red. It should drink well for a decade.

 

2010 Domaine Beau Mistral
Villages Rasteau Florianaelle

…opaque purple color is followed by sweet aromas of chocolate, blackberries, cassis, new saddle leather, graphite and earth. This complex, full-throttle, pedal-to-the-metal Rasteau will last for a decade or more.

 

Famous Janasse’s 2010 CdR

It’s been said before, but let me repeat: “it’s a Rhone world,” and this sensational effort from the renowned house of Janasse drives home the point even to non-believers of Grenache’s grace and charms. Janasse made two 98+point CdP cuvees from the dreamy 2010 vintage, and this “lowly” little Cotes du Rhone Reserve is nearly as sublime, receiving solid numbers from The Rhone Report’s Jeb Dunnuck. Let’s just say the classic peppery nose and gobs of dark Grenache goodness enveloped in a mineral laden, glossy palate of purity, structure and solid tannins prove irresistible!

 

2010 Domaine de la Janasse
Côtes du Rhône Reserve

…peppery, mineral, and dark fruited profile with beautiful purity, good concentration, and chewy tannin and structure. Possibly outstanding, this should be a serious value and have a solid 5-8 years of longevity.

$18 Pegau? Yes! And 91 points to boot!

This just in! You no longer have to spend $80 for a bottle of Pegau! What happens when you own 40+ acres of vineyards in Chateauneuf-du-Pape (and that’s a lot of Chateauneuf!) and want to sell off some of your production, as say, Cotes du Rhone? French wine law only allows CdP to be declassified as non vintage Vin de Pays, or “country wine.” Lucky you. Dynamic Laurent Feraud, owner of Domaine Pegau, has those 40+ acres of CdP and has fashioned a stunning value in Plan de Pegau. After tasting a vertical of Pegau CDP with her a few months ago spanning 30 years, we got a taste of the Plan and the planning began. So close to that Pegau pedigree, this is a delicious mouthful that will leave you with a cash-back smile.

 

Pegau’s “Plan Pégau” Lot # 2010

Good concentration and ample fruit textures. Most serious Plan Pegau to date. More vibrant than the 2009, as one could say about many Chateauneuf. Ripe, yes, but has good drive, and serious length….