I do not think I have ever tasted a Rhone wine solely from Valreas. The 2015 Domaine du Seminaire, Cote du Rhone Villages Valreas is a new wine in our area so of course I grabbed a bottle. This is a traditionally made wine, fermented in concrete with no use of oak. It is strong and forward with a grapey, floral personality. The liveliness is attractive, causing you to return for another taste. I imagine it might open up over the next year but it is a fun drink right now. Go get some! This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.
2015 Domaine du Seminaire, Cote du Rhone Villages Valreas – $18
Imported by Martine’s wines. This wine is a blend of mostly Grenache with Syrah that was fermented concrete. Alcohol 14%. The higher-toned grapey, floral nose makes way to similarly grapey, black fruit in the mouth. The wine has quite the strength, building intensity through the middle. This is balanced by almost lively acidity and fine texture. Flavors of baking spices and a tangy finish add to the complexity. This is an impressive, grapey wine. *** Now – 2022.
The one wine which I have been recently drinking with some frequency is the 2014 Domaine Les Aphillanthes, Cuvee des Galets, Cotes du Rhone Villages Plan De Dieu. Well, not just myself but my wife and brother-in-law as well. I first started drinking the Cuvee des Galets with the 2000 vintage when it was still a regular Cotes du Rhone Villages. This latest vintage bears the Plan de Dieu designation which was granted back in 2005. If this designation is an indication of the quality of the village than this particular bottle is one example of it. This wine is everything you could want in a young Cote du Rhone: fruit, acidity, and strength. As a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvede fermented and raised in cement you have youthful complexity with supportive structure. In short, you will want to see every bottle to the end so buy it by the case!
2014 Domaine Les Aphillanthes, Cuvee des Galets, Cotes du Rhone Villages Plan De Dieu – $20
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. This wine is a blend of mostly Grenache with Syrah and Mourvedre which is both fermented and aged in concrete. Alcohol 14.5%. The nose is rich with aromas of young berries. In the mouth this grapey wine is almost driven by acidity but there is flavor and weight to back it up. Puckering hints soon make way to a good depth of flavor which packs in plenty of blue and black fruit. *** Now – 2019.
David Bloch uses the Pungo so he can drink a wide variety of wines every day of the week. Here is one recent selection.
2015 Domaine de Fonsainte, Gris de Gris, Corbieres
An annual purchase from the Kermit Lynch portfolio. The wine performs so well every vintage. This year’s bottling is as impressive as ever. Apple, pear, minerals and melon. Not a bruiser but flavor-packed and food friendly.
2012 Von Hövel, Oberemmeler Hütte Riesling Kabinett, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Great nose. Almost a real Saar Kabinett. Bitter almond. Cream. Lemon tart. An extremely well-balanced wine – plenty of ripe fruit with a nice streak of acid and minerals. Really long. A baby with a long life ahead.
2000 Fratelli Revello, Barolo Vigna Giachini
Really nice wine. Mature. Floral and sweet even. On the red fruit spectrum. Oddly, day two found a very tannic wine that wasn’t nearly as good as day one. Therein lies the unpredictable nature of Nebbiolo.
2010 Domaine les Grands Bois, Rasteau Cuvée Marc
On the large size, the tannins have integrated and the wine is a big mouthful of the Southern Rhone. Black fruited – I think the Mourvedre really pushes forward while it only accounts for a minority of the cepage. Spices. A tad overdone perhaps? I suspect the wine may have needed more time to mellow. Good with beef.
The trio of Rhone wines featured in today’s post will please many. For a wine that you can and will want to drink throughout the week, look no further than the 2012 Frederick Arnaud, CDR, Cotes du Rhone. This is a youthful, grapey wine that offers a level of complexity not usually found in the $11 price point. It is a wine to drink this year and you can be assured that I will pick up more when I return to the store. I have now drunk through several bottles of 2012 Andre Brunel, Cuvee Sabrine, Cotes du Rhone Villages. This is a step up in seriousness and longevity. If the Arnaud is a grapey wine then the Brunel is a more mature wine. This is another wine you can drink throughout the week but also age it for a few more years. The 2014 Chateau Unang, Ventoux provides a third fantastic choice for a daily drinker. It moves back to the youthful, grapey side of things but the aromatic nose and supple flavors clearly reflect the effort put into this wine. I recommend you try them all! These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2012 Frederick Arnaud, CDR, Cotes du Rhone – $11
Imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates. Alcohol 14%. This is an attractive, grapey wine with good grip. It opens up well with air revealing slightly racy strawberry flavors, youthful grapey complexity which will hold your interest. I would not cellar this for development, instead just for a few months so the wine opens up some more. ** Now.
2012 Andre Brunel, Cuvee Sabrine, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $14
Imported by Robert Kacher. This wine is a blend of mostly Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. Alcohol 14%. The nose is scented with stony, black fruit. The red and black fruit flavors sport some rough and tumble qualities of the Cotes du Rhone. This wine has a bit of everything, some density, some grip, water acidity, and a mineral hint in the finish. The dry black flavors are framed by fine, dry tannins before hints of stone come out again in the aftertaste. It tastes drier with air. **(*) Now – 2019.
2014 Chateau Unang, Ventoux – $14
Imported by Vintage ’59 Imports. This wine is a blend of 65% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 5% Cinsault. Alcohol 13.5%. The aromatic nose of youthful fruit is reflected in the supple, weighty grapey fruit flavors in the mouth. The flavors lean towards black fruit, with fine tannins that make for a little bitter and dry finish. This should develop over the short term. ** Now – 2018.
The 2013 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Cuvee Jules Rochebonne, Cotes du Rhone is the latest vintage of a cuvee I have long liked. The flavors will evoke previous vintages but this 2013 offering is a bit firm with less intensity. It is still a wine worthing drinking for its flavor. A sound value in black, minerally Gigondas is the 2012 Domaine Le Clos des Cazaux, La Tour Sarrasine, Gigondas. This is quite tight with a does of tannins typical of Gigondas so give it a few years in the cellar. I was not prepared for the beautiful nose and flavors of the 2014 Domaine de Coste Chaude, Cuvee Madrigal, Cotes du Rhone Villages Visan. This floral wine already shows good complexity all around but should please for several more years to come. If you want to drink liquid rocks then look no further than the 2013 Lafage, Tessellae, Cotes Catalanes. This lovely value should hit its stride later this year. Priced at $12 the 2013 Kermit Lynch, Cypress Cuvee, Cotes du Rhone will provide a bit of everything you may want from a Cotes du Rhone. Drink this gentle wine by the case. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2013 La Bastide Saint Dominique, Cuvee Jules Rochebonne, Cotes du Rhone – $18
Imported by Simon N’ Cellars. This wine is a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache. The former was aged for 18 months in stainless steel tanks and the later for 18 months in oak barrels. Alcohol 14.5%. The good nose smells of perfumed young fruit. In the mouth this wine is definitely firm with a dose of tannins. The flavors are lighter but true to the cuvee. It wraps up with another dose of structure, some vanilla, and a bit of roughness. **(*) 2017-2023.
2012 Domaine Le Clos des Cazaux, La Tour Sarrasine, Gigondas – $20
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils. This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre sourced from vines averaging 50 years of age. Alcohol 14.5%. There is a dark start before red and eventually black, mineral flavors come out. There is a touch of inky lipstick. This is a rather mineral wine with dry flavors. Clearly young, this leaves very fine tannins on the gums. ***(*) 2018-2023.
2014 Domaine de Coste Chaude, Cuvee Madrigal, Cotes du Rhone Villages Visan – $15
Imported by DS Trading Company. This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, and 30% Syrah. Alcohol 14.5%. The nose is floral with young spiced fruit. Actually, it is quite beautiful. The purple and black fruited flavors are dry with a persistant floral quality. The flavors build in ripeness yet there is a dry texture through the finish. The acidity, though integrated, is very much present. With air the wine takes on more weight with minerals and a very dry, firm, bitter flavored finish. *** Now – 2020.
2013 Lafage, Tessellae, Cotes Catalanes – $15
Imported by Eric Solomon/ European Cellars. This wine is 100% old-vine Carignan sourced from schist soils. Alcohol 14.5%. The bright, yet firm black and red fruit took some some black, ripe flavors by the finish. The wine tastes as if sourced from stone soils with watering acidity and a building intensity of minerals and stones. Needs a wee bit of age to open up. **(*) 2016-2020.
2013 Kermit Lynch, Cypress Cuvee, Cotes du Rhone – $12
Imported by Kermit Lynch. This blend of mostly Grenache with Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvedre is sourced from vines averaging 40 years of age. It was fermented and aged in cement tanks. Alcohol 13.5 %. The linear black fruit flavors have a ripeness matched by the coarse tannins. The wine becomes gentler towards the finish with a light amount of structure and watering acidity suitable for a wee bit of age. I just wish the fruit intensity stepped up at the end. ** 2016-2019.
In taking a break from posts about very mature wines I decided to write about a wine that offers up fruit in spades. The 2012 Domaine de Mourchon, Family Reserve Grenache, Seguret represents my first experience with the Family Reserve selections. The very first sip offers impressive levels of flavor and depth, so much so that you might mistake this for some special cuvee from Chateauneuf du Pape. Power and alcohol level alone do not make a wine. With air this savory wine revealed weighty, deep flavors and good minerality. I recommend cellaring this wine for half a year then drink it in its exuberant youth. This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.
2012 Domaine de Mourchon, Family Reserve Grenache, Seguret – $40
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This wine is 100% Grenache sourced from 60 year old vines on sandstone soils on steep slopes that was macerated in open demi-muids followed by 10 months aging in demi-muids and oak barrels. Alcohol 15.5%. There were powerful flavors of clean, ripe, black fruit that exhibited lots of extract. With air this savory wine became a touch salty and thought tightly wound, it still offered creamy, weighty flavors with plenty of depth. There was just a touch of heat in the intensely mineral finish. **** 2016-2020.
Earlier this year Phil Bernstein tasted the wines of Domaine des Pasquiers at the Découvertes en Vallée du Rhône. This annual event is spread over four days to give attendees a chance to taste the wines from over 600 Rhone wineries and negociants. It was from this large field that Phil decided to import the wines of Domaine des Pasquiers. The container of wine arrived a week ago so I grabbed the two bottlings from the store.
The Lambert family has been tending vines of Domaine des Pasquiers since 1935. Today, the two brothers, Jean-Claude and Philippe Lambert, tend 87 hectares of organic vineyards in Sablet, Plan de Dieu, and Gigondas. The brothers aim for a gentle touch through partial destemming followed by a short period in vat. This goal clearly comes through for the nose is aromatic and the palate is fresh. This freshness does not forsake a favorite characteristics I enjoy from the Rhone, the ability to age. In fact, I recommend that you cellar these selections for one year before trying them. However, if you are curious and who would not be at these prices, then double-decant them several hours ahead of time. You will find their distinct profile deserves a place in your cellar. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2013 Domaine des Pasquiers, Cotes du Rhone – $12
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This wine is a blend of Grenache and Syrah sourced from vines located near Sablet.Alcohol 14%. There was a lively, youthful nose. In the mouth were slightly savory and dense flavors of racy, black fruit that builds strength through the finish. The structure is strong with very fine tannins. The racy bit returns in the finish. The wine is more approachable with air but it still packs in the structure. ** 2016-2020.
2012 Domaine des Pasquiers, Cuvee Prestige “Prebayon”, Sablet, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $15
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre sourced mostly from vines 50+years of age which was aged for 12 months in vat. Alcohol 14%. There was a richer nose of blue fruit, tar, and perhaps coconut. In the mouth the blue and black fruit sported good minerality with a very fine structure. The wine has a balanced firmness that will allow for short-term development. The structure dries on the gums and builds throughout the wine such that the wine tasted markedly better on the second night. With air the black fruit and graphite minerality mix with watering acidity in this very focused wine. **(*) 2016-2025.