Christmas Eve Wines

Though I took a Christmas break from posting on Hogshead Wine, I certainly continued drinking wine and even managed to take several notes.  Jenn and I were diligent and organized this season regarding our Christmas decorating and shopping but I was not even close to picking wines for our Christmas Eve dinner.  That all changed when Phil told me he got in several bottles of Domaine de la Grange des Peres.  I was then left with the difficulty of picking a second red wine to drink with it.  I delayed my decision until I decanted the Grange des Peres and decided the 2007 Domaine Leon Barrel, Valiniere would act as a counterpoint.  The Grange des Peres is imported by Kermit Lynch and available at MacArthurs for $90.  The Leon Barral is also imported by Kermit Lynch with the 2008 vintage available for $70 at MacArthurs.  I typically open wines that I can afford to drink on a daily or weekly basis so it is with hesitation that I splurge.  I have no remorse in buying the Grange des Peres!  It is exactly the sort of wine which I love and I highly recommend that you seek out a bottle.  This wine is fabulous to drink right now but will age for many years to come.

Deborah and Aaron

Laurent Vaille is the producer of Domaine de La Grange des Peres.  Having worked for Jean-Francois Coche-Dury, Gerard Chave, and Eloi Durrbach he purchased land in 1989 in l’Herault near Mas de Daumas Gassac.  After clearing the land through a combination of dynamite and boulders, he planted his vines on south-facing slopes.  His Syrah cuttings were sourced from Gerard Chave and his Cabernet Sauvignon from Eloi Durrbach.  He produces just two wines a blanc and a rouge.   I now understand the cult status of Laurent’s wines.

2007 Domaine de La Grange des Peres, VDP de l’Herault
This is a blend of 40% Syrah, 40% Mourvedre, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from 15-20 year old vines located on soils of glacial scree and limestone.  The varietals are vinified and aged separately in 228 liter barrels for up to two years before blending and bottling.  This wine engages you with its complex nose from the second you pull the cork.  There are earthy red fruit flavors, smoke, dark berries, and a complex personality right out of the bottle.  The flavors are racy, delicate, and dance on the tongue despite the density.  The fruit is ripe with notes of stones and a brambly aftertaste.  My mom found the flavors “strong, come in with incense.”  There is a lovely salinity.  It was certainly more fun to drink this wine than to write my tasting note! ****(*) Now-2024+.

2007 Domaine Leon Barral, Valiniere, Faugeres
This wine is a blend of 80% Mourvedre and 20% Syrah that was aged for 24-26 months in 10% new oak.  Against the Grange des Peres this showed brighter red fruit, concentrated flavors before a gritty quality with tart acidity in the finish.  There are ample, fine dusty chalk flavors.  The nose eventually reveals herbs with the wine leaving an overall impression of fine texture.  My mom found a “citrus beginning” with “light, mild, middle flavor” followed by “pungent tartness.”  This bottle seemed a bit shutdown and I think needs more age.**(**) 2015-2020.

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