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Favorites from Vacqueyras

While I enjoy the rugged nature of Gigondas, it is to Vacqueyras that I look for fruity delight.  For this post we tasted through several current offerings from the power packed duo of vintages: 2015 and 2016.  Priced between $22 and $30 these wines offer excellent quality and personality.  In general, I prefer the 2016 vintage, the wines have denser fruit and excellent acidity, which makes them more exciting to drink.  They also have the stuffing for age.  The 2015 have deep flavor but are less fruity with a dry and structured nature.  I suspect that they will last a long time but the peak drinking window will be shorter.

The 2016 Domaine les Amouriers, Signature, Vacqueyras is a modern styled, best buy.  It needs a few hours of air before the satisfying, deep note of flavor comes out.  You really must buy both the 2016 Domaine la Bouissiere, Vacqueyras and 2016 Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Cuvee Floureto, Vacqueyras for drinking now and laying down.  Both of these are savory wines with the Bouissiere offering up kirsch and the Sang des Cailloux mixed berries.  The Bouissiere is a bit more exciting to drink right now but the Sang des Cailloux will unfurl with age.  The 2015 Domaine la Bouissiere, Vacqueyras and 2015 Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Cuvee Azalais, Vacqueyras are good too.  They are certainly more structured and I hope in an awkward state.  The Sang des Cailloux has an incredible, deep earthy flavor that I have come to love from this domaine.  Yet the wine holds back, preventing ultimate pleasure.

These wines can age well too.  This year alone I have probably drunk five bottles of 2000 Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Cuvee Azalais, Vacqueyras.  It is perfectly mature, balanced, yet in no decline.  It is a fine example of what aged Vacqueyras brings.  All of these wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Domaine les Amouriers, Signature, Vacqueyras – $22 at MacArthur Beverages
Imported by DS Trading Co. Inc. This wine is a blend of 56% Grenache, 34% Syrah, 7% Mourvedre, and 3% Cinsault. Alcohol 15%.  Clean and modern with somewhat robust fruit flavors.  With air an attractive, low-lying deep bass note of flavor is revealed.  Blue fruited at first, it is largely offers black fruit through the finish.  No earth notes to speak of but some herbs instead.  *** Now – 2030.

2016 Domaine la Bouissiere, Vacqueyras – $27 at MacArthur Beverages
Imported by Dionysos. This wine is a blend of 51% Grenache, 33% Syrah, and 16% Mourvedre which is fermented with indigenous yeasts in cement tanks.  It is then aged in a mixture of cement tank, barrels, and demi-muids.  Alcohol 14.5%.  Dark and grapey in color.  Fresh, lifted grapey aromas.  In the mouth this is a savory, weighty wine with a dense vein of grapey fruit.  With air it offers pure kirsch flavor and complicated perfume.  With mid-weight fruit, very fine and slightly spicy structure, this wine will develop over the short term then last for some time further.  ***(*) Now – 2035.

2015 Domaine la Bouissiere, Vacqueyras – $30
Imported by Dionysos. This wine is a blend of 42% Grenache, 50% Syrah, and 8% Mourvedre which is fermented with indigenous yeasts in cement tanks.  It is then aged in a mixture of cement tank, barrels, and demi-muids.  Alcohol 14.5%.  Dark aromas of damp soil.  Drier in flavor, matched by herbs, with tense acidity.  The flavors are focused through the long, spicy finish where tangy pithe from the fine structure comes out.  *** Now – 2030.

2016 Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Cuvee Floureto, Vacqueyras – $30 at MacArthur Beverages
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre & Cinsault which is fermented in cement tank then aged in foudre.  Alcohol 14.5%.  Savory and saline flavors of mixed berries.  The flavors are rounded, somewhat dense and creamy in the middle with a bit of juicy acidity in the end.  Cherries mix with a little wood note before fine structure coats the gums.  ***(*) Now – 2035.

2015 Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Cuvee Azalais, Vacqueyras – $32 at MacArthur Beverages
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre & Cinsault which is fermented in cement tank then aged in foudre.  Alcohol 14%.  Familial nose of berries with a touch of earth.  Dry flavors follow with cherry carried by watering acidity into a finish of strawberry candy and kirsch.  It is of good, deep flavor yet restrained in the palate preventing that next level of enjoyment.  Tangy in the finish it sports a fine structure that might outlast the fruit.  *** Now – 2024.

2000 Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Cuvee Azalais, Vacqueyras –
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre & Cinsault which is fermented in cement tank then aged in foudre.  Alcohol 13.8%. Balanced, mouth filling flavors of blue fruit, minerals, and garrigue which are matched by supportive acidity.  Some earthy depth too.  It is fully mature with resolved structure but nowhere near decline.  **** Now but will last.

To drink now, 2012 Domaine de Verquiere, Vacqueyras

I see from my posts that I first drank the 2012 Domaine de Verquiere, Vacqueyras nearly five years ago.  It has now shed its baby fat taking on complex bitters and wood box flavors.  I find it a solid choice for a mature Vacqueyras.  A few bottles resurfaced on the shelves at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Domaine de Verquiere, Vacqueyras – $27
Imported by Esprit du Vin.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20$ Syrah, and 10% Cinsault fermented in concrete vats then aged in a mix of tanks and foudre.  Alcohol 14%.  Cherry fruit propelled by clear watering acidity moves through this focused wine.  It is an inky, lipsticky wine with complex flavors of bitters and spiced tannins.  It is entering maturing with some wood box, though still retains a bit of structure.  Of modest weight.  *** Now – 2022.

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A trio of Vacqueyras

April 16, 2018 1 comment

When I cannot drink Chateauneuf du Pape I will drank Vacqueyras which is the focus of this post. Of the three wines tasted, the 2015 Domaine La Garrigue, Vacqueyras and the 2014 Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Cuvee Doucinello, Vacqueyras are in need of some age. The La Garrigue is the more closed of the two but some earthy complexity is present. The Cailloux adds garrigue to the earth for good effect.  The 2015 Vignoble Alain Ignace, Sumbiosis, Vacqueyras is a new wine for me.  It has the flavors I have come to love which are delivered in a lively manner making it drink well right now.   The Garrigue and Cailloux are available at MacArthur Beverages.  The Ignace is available at Weygandt Wines.

2015 Domaine La Garrigue, Vacqueyras – $22
An Eric Solomon/European Cellars Selection. This wine is a blend of mostly  Grenache with Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault.  Alcohol 14.5%. A pure wine with focused flavors that only take on a subtle earth note near the end. The structure is not noticeable until the finish where there infinitely fine tannins serve to dry the gums. It does develop bright red berries. Overall a bit closed so sit on it for a year or two. *** 2019-2025.

2015 Vignoble Alain Ignace, Sumbiosis, Vacqueyras – $21
Imported by Wygandt – Metzler. This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah, and 10% Cinsault.  Alcohol 14%. Aromas of bramble fruit and garrigue entice. In the mouth, delicate red berries match a citrus flavor in this medium bodied wine. There is a little rusticity to the start, moderate density, and watering acidity which moves the flavors to the drier finish of baking spices. Lively and light on its feet. *** Now – 2024.

2014 Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Cuvee Doucinello, Vacqueyras – $25
Imported by Kermit Lynch. This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre & Cinsault.  Alcohol 14%. Slightly pungent on the nose. A round yet bright entry of red fruit is soon a touch earthy with water acidity and modest, supporting structure. There is garrigue and baking spice notes in the finish which matches the texture. Good now but need some age to open up. ***(*) 2019 – 2028.

New arrivals from Domaine La Boussiere

You will be well-served if you stock up on the latest released from Domaine La Boussiere. They are classically robust wines yet there is plenty of deep fruit and lively acidity which makes them attractive right now. For current and future drinking grab the 2015 Domaine La Boussiere, Vacqueyras. This is a fine value which should drink well throughout its life. The 2015 Domaine La Boussiere, Gigondas is properly the more structured of the two and will benefit the most from age. It is best revisited a few years down the road. You may find both at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Domaine La Boussiere, Vacqueyras – $27
Imported by Dionysos Imports. This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah, 42% Grenache, and 8% Mourvedre.  Alcohol 14.5%. Quite aromatic with fruit and floral notes. There is youthfully robust fruit which comes across as clean in flavor. The wine is mineral with ripe texture and a fat infused finish which eventually reveals the structure. Plenty of attractive, hard to resist flavor. ***(*) Now – 2028.

2015 Domaine La Boussiere, Gigondas – $30
Imported by Dionysos Imports. This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, and 30% Syrah sourced from 51 year old vines.  Alcohol 14.5%. A robust wine with blue and red fruit, lively acidity, and a mixture of minerals and baking spices before the finish. The structure is briefly noticeable before returning as it dries the gums throughout the long aftertaste. With air the wine rounds out becoming savory with blue and black fruits. Will reward a few years of age. ***(*) 2020 – 2030.

Vacqueyras white and red

Lou, David Aaron, Jenn, and I gathered in our kitchen for a blind tasting.  As it was my turn to host I opened six bottles from Vacqueyras believing all would enjoy them.  I find this region produces riper and less tannic wine than Gigondas yet is still capable of a touch of age.  It is moderate age that I hoped to explore.

We kicked things off with Lou’s bottle of 2006 Pierre Andre, Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Les Blanchots.  The attractive interplay between fruit, yeast, and stones coupled with near-maturity meant it drank well and was finished off before I could revisit the bottle.  The second wine tasted, being the first bottle of Vacqueyras, is also a white wine.  The 2013 Sang de Cailloux, Un Sang Blanc, Vacqueyras Blanc is a tropical, complex wine with a luxurious mouth feel.  Phil still stocks this wine at MacArthur Beverages so if you have yet to try Vacqueyras blanc then you owe it to try a bottle with your friends.  Also available is the first red wine we tasted 2012 Domaine le Clos des Cazaux, Cuvee des Templiers, Vacqueyras.  This is a mature, affordable Vacqueyras which transitioned us from white to red.

The 2006, 2005, and 2003 trio of Domaine de la Charbonniere remained true to the vintage.  The 2006 is a balanced almost elegant wine.  The 2005 is more aromatic and offers additional complexity from garrigue and wood box elements.  The 2003 is the most powerful, borders on rugged and leans towards plum flavors.  All of these wines drank well over two nights but the 2006 and 2005 are my favorite.  Right now they offer a good mix of maturity and fruit.

Finally, the 2000 Domaine de la Garrigue, Vacqueyras is completely mature.  The fruit is fading, instead replaced by deep ethereal flavors of garrigue and earth.  It is still satisfying but is starting to dry up.

2006 Pierre Andre, Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Les Blanchots
Imported by William Harrison Imports.  Alcohol 13%.  It is a fresh, light yellow straw color.  The nose mixes fruit and yeast while the mouth brings round, white fruit with a good level of weight and stones.  Tasty.  ***(*) Now – 2022.

2013 Sang de Cailloux, Un Sang Blanc, Vacqueyras Blanc – $50
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 20% Clairette, 20% Grenache Blanc, 15% Bourboulenc, 15% Roussanne, 15% Marsanne, and 15% Viognier sourced from young vines.  It was fermented and raised in oak.  There are complex, sweet tropical aromas.  In the mouth is a round flavorful version of the nose. This racy wine is still young with nearly crisp acidity and a seductive rich mouth feel that borders on melted fat.  The white, exotics fruits move through the richness leaving the impression of a brighter finish.  **** Now – 2022.

2012 Domaine le Clos des Cazaux, Cuvee des Templiers, Vacqueyras – $18
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils. This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Grenache sourced from vines at least 30-50 years of age. The fruit was completely destemmed then aged in both stainless steel tanks followed by enamel coated concrete tanks. Alcohol 14%.  The subtle nose is mature with dark aromas.  In the mouth are dark berries that mix with a mineral and black middle.  This morphs in to a black graphite finish.  The tannins are largely resolved and coupled with a certain sense of relaxation, I suspect this is drinking at its peak.  *** Now.

2006 Domaine de la Charbonniere, Vacqueyras
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre  with Cinsault.  Alcohol 14.5%. There is a good dose of garrigue thrown in the mix.  The wine is juicy in a way but the fine structure dries and tightens by the finish leaving the impression of backbone.  With air more fruit becomes apparent balancing the structure against the bright, red and black dense core.  The balance becomes notable as does a certain elegance.  ***(*) Now – 2022.

2005 Domaine de la Charbonniere, Vacqueyras
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre  with Cinsault.  Alcohol 15%.  The dark nose made complex by floral incense is more intense than the 2006 vintage.  At first dark fruit mixes with wood box notes carried by lively acidity into the dry finish.  With extended air there is absolutely no decline to the black fruit, garrigue, and slight spiciness.  The black cherry fruit is dance and balanced.  ***(*) Now – 2022.

2003 Domaine de la Charbonniere, Vacqueyras
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah that was aged for 6-8 months in big oak tanks.  Alcohol 15%.  There are rounded, drying flavors due to structure from the start with mature flavors in the middle, and a slightly green/fresh finish that leaves tannins on the gums.  With air the structure, tang, and grip at the end is noticeably more rugged than the 2005 vintage.  This vintage is about plum flavors and power rather than balance.  A bit of black fruit and polished wood are left in the aftertaste.   ***  Now – 2020.

2000 Domaine de la Garrigue, Vacqueyras
Imported by European Cellars.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This most mature in color and on the nose.  In the mouth intensity of the fruit is replaced by deep ethereal flavors of garrigue and earth.  There is still a dry and powdered structure supporting the firm, red cherry notes.  *** Now but will last.

You should buy the 2015 Domaine Palon, Vacqueyras this weekend

Domaine Palon is a small estate located in Gigondas.  From 17 acres in Gigondas and 12 acres in Vacqueyras the family has produced wine for four generations.  However, it was not until 2003 that the wine was first bottled under the family name.  The 2015 Domaine Palon, Vacqueyras is a strong value.  It is one of those wines enjoyable in its vigorous, powerful youth yet should develop and open up over the next few years.  With the cold weather in our forecast I would stock up on a few bottles this weekend.   This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Domaine Palon, Vacqueyras – $20
Imported by Misa Imports.  This wine is a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah.  Alcohol 14.5%. This is a black fruited, floral and mineral wine with a very focused core of ripe fruit.  It ripples with power and though it evolves with air to become a tasty wine of youthful vigor the balanced acidity and textured tannins will see it develop over the next couple of years.   ***(*) Now – 2027.

Young Vacqueyras worth cellaring

December 7, 2016 Leave a comment

Though I cut my teeth on decade-old Gigondas, I have a soft spot for the mature wines of Vacqueyras.  This pair of 2014 vintage wines from Domaine la Garrigue offers both fruit and structure for development in your cellar.  In fact, the 2014 Domaine la Garrigue, Vacqueryas is completely backward when first opened.  However, after 24 mysterious hours of interaction with air it reveals its full potential for development.  The wines of la Garrigue can reward aging and this bottle certainly requires it.  The 2014 Domaine la Garrigue, La Cantarelle, Vacqueyras is made from very old vines and offers more up-front savory, weighty fruit flavors.  Though there are more seductive elements, it too is in need of age.  I do not think it will develop for as long a duration as the regular Vacqueyras.  Stock up!  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2014 Domaine la Garrigue, Vacqueryas – $22
Imported European Cellars.  This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault sourced from 70 year old vines that was aged for 18 months in concrete tanks.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose is slightly pungent with aromas of plum.  After 24 hours the wine is much improved with a savory, weighty start of cranberry, red and black fruits.  There is watering acidity which carries the wine through.  The finish is mouth filling as is the aftertaste which leaves ethereal, ripe flavors on the gum.  I really enjoy this youthful, mineral, and rugged wine.  ***(*) 2020-2030.

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2014 Domaine la Garrigue, La Cantarelle, Vacqueyras – $27
Imported by European Cellars.  This wine is a blend of Grenache from 100 year old vines and Syrah from younger vines that was aged for 24 months in concrete tanks.  Alcohol 15%.  From the beginning this wine offers up more fruit that is both concentrated and deeper.  A mineral and bitter, black fruit streak weaves through as the wine builds weight, flavors of fat plums, and ripe powdery, cocoa flavored tannins.  This weighty and savory wine has good flavor now but is in need of age.  ***(*) 2019-2025.