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Posts Tagged ‘VdP de Vaucluse’

The must-try 2017 Domaine de Saint Cosme, Les Deux Albion blanc

The 2017 Domaine de Saint Cosme, Les Deux Albion blanc, IGP Vaucluse came with a fine recommendation from Phil at MacArthur Beverages.  This is only the second vintage of this wine made using fruit from a vineyard located across from Gigondas.  It is here that the limestone concentration in the soil is amongst the highest in the region.  It is these soils which must contribute to the wine being more floral and nutty than fruity.  Aging on the lees and a judicious use of oak impart attractive body.  Do not fear if you cannot finish the bottle in one night because I find it stays in top shape for days.


2017 Domaine de Saint Cosme, Les Deux Albion blanc, IGP Vaucluse – $20
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is a blend of 50% Viognier, 30% Picpoul, and 20% Marsanne aged on the lees for 5 months in a mixture of stainless steel and oak.  Alcohol 14%.  A very light, dry straw color.  In the mouth this wine is dense and rounded in body with a floral middle backed by white nuts, stone, and modest fruit.  This drinks well immediately upon opening but also delivers the same quality and satisfaction after opening the bottle for days. *** Now – 2020.

Famille Brunier’s (of Vieux Telegraphe) other flavorful wines

The Brunier family are famous for their wines of Vieux-Telegraphe in Chateauneuf du Pape and their project with Kermit Lynch, Les Pallieres in Gigondas.  They also produce other wines of which I recently tasted one from Ventoux and one from Vaucluse.  Both wines are made from hand-harvested fruit which was destemmed then raised in a combination of cement tanks and foudres.  Though both are largely Grenache based, they are distinct.  The 2016 Famille Brunier, le pigeuolet, Vaucluse is a wine to drink young with the tannins and acidity playing a supportive role to the red fruit and garrigue.  The 2016 Famille Brunier, Megaphone, Ventoux is to be drunk now and over the next several years.  The fruit is clearly more complex with a crispness and tension that brings you back.  I simply relish the flavor profile!  My recommendation is to spend the extra $4 to load up on the Megaphone.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Famille Brunier, Megaphone, Ventoux – $22
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah.  Alcohol 14.5%.  Aromas of mulberry, red cranberry, and raspberry attract.  In the mouth are lively black cherry and tart red fruit flavors with drying tannins providing grip through the aftertaste.  There is good tension from the acidity.  With extended air there is another vein of crisp, red fruit and chalk at the end.  This is a young wine that, though open, will develop for a few years.  ***(*) Now – 2025.

2016 Famille Brunier, le pigeuolet, Vaucluse – $18
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Cinsault, and 5% Carignan.  Alcohol 14%.  Rounded red fruit, garrigue, some tartness, and just the right amount of acidity with minimal tannins.  The flavors always have a round edge before the tart structure and crunch acidity.  With air ripeness builds in the finish.  **(*) Now – 2021.

A trio of 2016 from Domaine des Pasquiers

Rhone wines often form the backbone of our weekly drinking for which I will soon adopt the three selections featured in this post.  These wines are imported by Phil Bernstein which explains why you may find such good natured wines at such a reasonable cost.  New to the Pasquiers lineup in Washington, DC, is the 2016 Domaine des Pasquiers, VdP de Vaucluse.   Right now it is a youthful wine, with juicy acidity, and will make for great mid-week drinking over the next few years.  A real wine for only $11.  The 2016 Domaine des Pasquiers, Cotes du Rhone Villages Plan de Dieu proves why I love Plan de Dieu.  There is a lot of personality here.  Of complete surprise is the quality of the 2016 Domaine des Pasquiers, Cotes du Rhone Villages Sablet.  It is deep and luxurious.  I find it hard to believe that it is priced the same as the Plan de Dieu.  I recommend you try all three wines which you may find at MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Domaine des Pasquiers, VdP de Vaucluse – $11
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  Alcohol 14%.  Youthful with grapey tannins which cling to the gums leaving a ripe texture.  Combined with juicy acidity this purple and blue flavors wine will develop over the next few years.  **(*) Now – 2021.

2016 Domaine des Pasquiers, Cotes du Rhone Villages Plan de Dieu – $15
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  Alcohol 14.5%.  Young with scrappy acidity, there are finer tannins structuring the wine for certain development.  There is, however, good tension between the acidity and the flavor.  The depth of the flavor stands up to the structure with a good mineral vein providing further satisfaction.  It has an enjoyably rugged nature right now.  *** Now – 2025.

2016 Domaine des Pasquiers, Cotes du Rhone Villages Sablet – $15
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  Alcohol 14.5%.  Deep, grapey flavors combined with black fruit greet from the beginning.  There is a ripe, floral touch and fine, yet ripe textured density to this wine.  With air it takes on a luxurious creamy flavor and savory saltiness.  It over delivers for the price point.  ***(*) Now – 2025.

More outstanding bottles of Domaine des Tours

January 11, 2017 Leave a comment

Just over a year ago I was blown away by the quality and future potential of the 2010 Domaine des Tours, VdP Vaucluse.  This wine was served blind during a tasting at Phil’s house.  It is his quote which leads off the title of my post “Freakishly” good bottles of Chateau des Tours.  Phil has recently brought in a few more selections from des Tours and this week I drank two of them.

The 2011 Domaine des Tours, VdP Vaucluse is in a great spot right now.  It offers a bit more depth of flavor eventually coating the tongue with glycerin and weight.  The 2012 Domaine des Tours, VdP Vaucluse is brighter with more primary fruit flavor.  Both of them are made in that throwback style of mouth filling flavor without oozing fruit, tannin, and alcohol.  For current drinking I give a nod towards the less expensive 2011.  However, both of these wines should be in your cellar and glass.

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2011 Domaine des Tours, VdP Vaucluse – $30
Alcohol 13.5%.  This is a rather, light cranberry-garnet color.  The wine is deeper in flavor with more mineral infused red fruit.  After the acidity driven, zippy start is a racy middle with a deeper, bass note of flavor.  With air it builds weight and glycerin as the flavors lay on top of your tongue.  It even develops a floral, hop aroma.  **** Now – 2027.

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2012 Domaine des Tours, VdP Vaucluse – $32
Alcohol 13.5%.  This sports brighter, grippy red fruit.  In fact there is a more prominent display of floral red fruit.  Minerality does come out from the middle to the finish.  The wine is a little firm at first with youthful tension.  With air it too builds weight and glycerin but remains riper and fruitier with flavors of strawberry and apricot.  There is a little bit of ink and structure in the finish.  **** Now – 2030.

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Exciting French Wines from Barral, Clape, Reynaud, Veryney, and more

Jenn and I have tasted five exciting French red wines this past week.  The latest vintage of the 2014 Domaine La Manarine, Cotes du Rhone  is all about drinkability.  There is both more fruit and accessibility compare with the 2012 vintage.  If you like a brighter rendition of Grenache then grab a bottle for this wine even includes some spice and mineral notes.  Right now the 2014 Domaine A. Clape, Les Vin des Amis is notable for its wonderful nose.  I always find the Les Vin des Amis a unique and traditional wine.  If the flavors catch up with the aroma then this should be a killer wine in a few years.  Last tasted a year ago, the 2013 Domaine Georges Verney, Sainte-Agathe, Cotes du Rhone is now starting to open up.  Though labeled Cotes du Rhone this made from Syrah vines in Condrieu which is right next to Cote-Rotie.  The nose is quite complex and worth purchasing based on that quality alone.  The flavors are savory and dry.  I suspect this will be even better next summer.  The 2011 Domaine des Tours, VdP Vaucluse follows the fantastic 2010 vintage which set a very high bar when tasted this Fall.  If the 2011 vintage is not up to the regard of the 2010 vintage in the Rhone, this wine will not disappoint.  It still offers gobs of ripe strawberry flavors unique to Reynaud just without the sense of future potential.  This bottle did not appreciatively change over five hours.  In my mind, this is an excellent wine to drink while the 2010 develops in your basement.  Finally, I decided to revisit the 2009 Domaine Leon Barral, Valiniere, Faugeres.  My sneaking suspicion is that I prefer some of the older Barral vintages.  This 2009 Valiniere is one example.  There is still a hefty bit of structure but the flavors are starting to take over with exuberant energy.  This is great stuff with broad appeal.  All wines, except for the Barral, are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2014 Domaine La Manarine, Cotes du Rhone – $14
Imported by Neal Rosenthal.  This wine is 100% Grenache sourced from vines averaging 35 years of age. The fruit was destemmed with elevage taking 20-24 months. Alcohol 14%.  The round fruity start is bright but quickly picks up ripeness, good acidity, and supportive structure.  This is very much a wine for right now.  It is flavorful, has a bit of dry spice, and a blue, mineral finish.  *** Now.

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2014 Domaine A. Clape, Les Vin des Amis – $30
Imported by Kermit Lynch.   This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from 40-year-old vines on soils of round river stones. It was fermented with indigenous yeasts in cement tanks then underwent malolactic fermentation and aging for 6 months in cement cuves and 6 months in foudres. Alcohol 12%.  The grapey color makes way to a fantastic and unique nose full of berry and meat aromas.  In the mouth the wine offers tart, green, and old school flavors marked by  a perfumed start.  A couple hours of air lets the wine flesh out with a tart start, moderate structure, and dry finish.  While the flavors remain on the brighter side of things it does take on the subtlest hint of fat by the end.  Needs a bit more time.  *** perhaps ***(*) Now – 2026.

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2013 Domaine Georges Verney, Sainte-Agathe, Cotes du Rhone – $27
Imported by Simon N’ Cellars.  This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from 40 year old vines located near Condrieu.  It was fermented in stainless steel then aged for one year in use barrels.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The aromatic nose reveals fine tropical floral aromas mixed with sweet mandarin oranges and cardamom.  The flavors are drier and darker in the mouth than I would expect.  There is a touch of savory to the dry red fruit.  While progressing well I would suggest holding off another year.  *** Now – 2022.

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2011 Domaine des Tours, VdP Vaucluse – $30
This wine is a blend of Grenache, Counoise, Syrah, Cinsault, and Mourvedre.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose complements the forward flavors of ripe strawberry which continue through the aftertaste.  There is more sense of weight with plenty of mouth coating flavors.  It is a seamless wine where the acidity and structure are perfectly bound such that you only notice flavor.  In the end this is a wine to drink now, barely changing with extended air.  **** Now – 2021.

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2009 Domaine Leon Barral, Valiniere, Faugeres
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 80% Mourvedre and 20% Syrah sourced from 15-30 year old vines. The wine was aged 24 to 26 months in 10% new oak.  Alcohol 14%.  There is much more approachable concentrated fruit that is almost thick with extract.  The fine tannins are still there though they become riper towards the middle where a sense of freshness quickly makes way to strapping and exuberant energy.  The fruit overlays the acidity.  After a few hours the wine fleshes out with cool blue fruit and a little fat.  The structure (and energy!) will allow this wine to develop for many more years but the flavors have expanded enough that this is downright pleasurable to drink.  **** Now – 2028.

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“Freakishly” good bottles of Chateau des Tours

November 20, 2015 1 comment

Produced by various members of the Reynaud family, the wines of Chateau Rayas in Chateauneuf du Pape achieved legendary status amongst lovers of Rhone wines. Indeed, the 2005 Chateau Rayas which Roland opened for me last year, remains one of the best Rhone wines I have ever drunk.  Perhaps more important than the sheer quality is the unique aromas and flavors of Rayas.  With this singularity comes a steep price.  Fortunately, the Reynaud family produces wine not only at Chateau Rayas but also Chateau des Tours and Chateau de Fonsalette.  These later two estates produce wine from Vacqueyras, Cotes du Rhone, and Vaucluse.  Over the years I have found they share an undeniable typicity at respectable prices.

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The wines of Chateau des Tours and Chateau de Fonsalette are scattered amongst the posts in this blog.  When I first started tasting through the series of blind wines at Phil’s house, the Reynaud wines were the last thought on my mind.  I would not have guessed I would sit down to an entire flight of them.  Indeed, with the first two wines, 2010 Domaine des Tours, VdP Vaucluse and 2010 Chateau des Tours, Reserve, Cotes du Rhone, I thought were Trousseau from the Jura.  However, as the wines opened up and I progressed through the tasting, my thoughts turned to des Tours in the Rhone.  The one ringer stood out and I fully supported David in that it could only be from Domaine le Sang des Cailloux in Vacqueyras.

This was a unique tasting for we tasted vintages back to 1998, which is when Emmanuel Reynaud took over winemaking at all three estates.  The wines were opened but not decanted about two hours prior to tasting.  The 2007 Chateau des Tours, Reserve, Vacqueyras was unfortunately a bad bottle.  Every other wine changed throughout the evening.  My favorite wine was the 2006 Chateau des Tours, Reserve, Vacqueyras.  While I noted “incredible” in my notes a previous bottle moved me to write “the most beautiful Vacqueyras I have ever drunk.”  This was a huge hit with everyone based on the empty bottle.  I also really enjoyed the 2010 Domaine des Tours, VdP Vaucluse which reminded me in part of the 2006.  Of a different nature, the structured 1998 Chateau des Tours, Reserve, Vacqueyras possessed great energy and Rhone-like ruggedness.

At the end of the tasting, the leftovers were divided up.  By all accounts, the wines continued to improve for the next two days.  For this reason you should view my notes and ratings as just a brief glimpse of these wines.  I highly recommend you try one of these fascinating wines.  I suggest you start with the 2006 Vacqueyras for it is available at $60 which is one-tenth the cost of similarly aged Rayas.

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2010 Domaine des Tours, VdP Vaucluse –
The medium opaque was not out of sync with the initial aromas reminiscent of Trousseau. There is a lovely start in the mouth with ripe strawberry flavors that persist through the aftertaste. With a fuzzy texture, the acidity continues to build, giving strong presence to the wine. The wine improves tremendously with air, revealing great beauty without blunt power. Clearly, there is a substantial amount of potential here. **** 2016-2030.

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2010 Chateau des Tours, Réserve, Cotes du Rhone
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. With a lighter, garnet color than the first wine, this wine reveals a more mature personality. The fine perfume makes way to flavors of red fruit and ultimately a black fruited finish. There acidity is there throughout. Rather closed down. *** 2017-2027.

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2009 Chateau des Tours, Réserve, Vacqueyras
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This was a bit stinky at first and also revealed both volatile acidity and raspberry aromas. In the mouth the wine was frizzante in a manner reminiscent of some Barral wines. The wine improved with air the first night, showing a core of blue and red fruit and a coarse personality. By the end of the evening this brute of a wine showed plenty of fruit. The second evening the nose was clean with Kirsch and raspberry candy aromas followed by pure, driven fruit flavors. ***(*) Now – 2030.

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2007 Chateau des Tours, Réserve, Vacqueyras
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. There was a similar smell to the 2009 vintage. The wine itself was a little cloud with flavors of old wood, Kirsch, some fruit and less aggression. Clearly an off bottle. Not Rated.

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2007 Domaine le Sang des Cailloux, Cuvee Floureto, Vacqueyras
Imported by Kermit Lynch. This young wine was clearly from the Southern Rhone, specifically Vacqueyras, and not by too far of a stretch Sang des Cailloux. There were leather accented flavors and upfront flavors of Christmas spices that leant for a comforting wine. The flavors were a bit tight with very fine and ripe tannins, minerals, and some extract. Nice stuff. It reportedly took an extra day to open up. ***(*) 2017-2027.

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2006 Chateau des Tours, Réserve, Vacqueyras
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. The lighter, more mature color made way to a lighter and mature nose of delicate, berry fruit. Both the nose and flavors indicated that we had moved back in age. In the mouth were ripe, mouthfilling flavors there were lithe and complex. The sweet, red fruit built more and more in intensity until this full-bore wine clearly reminded me of Rayas. Incredible. **** Now -2030.

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1999 Chateau des Tours, Réserve, Vacqueyras
The more aggressive, dense start made way to ripe blue fruit in the middle and a dusty finish. This was a more fruit-driven wine with the structure and acidity present. With air there is ample focused, berry fruit, good grip, and wood notes in the middle. ***(*) Now – 2020.

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1998 Chateau des Tours, Réserve, Vacqueyras
The lightest color of the final three. A bit frizzante on the tongue tip but with beautiful concentration similar to a Chateauneuf du Pape. The energy makes the wine seductive but it is wound up with a supportive structure for future development. It apparently took two days for this to open up. **** Now – 2025.

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Tasting the wines of Domaine la Ligiere with Exclusive Wine Imports

Lat week I was at MacArthur Beverages when Jim Ungerleider of Exclusive Wine Imports was sampling the wines of Domaine la Ligiere.  This small domaine is run by Elizabeth and Philippe Bernard.  The wines were a part of the local cooperative but three years ago Philippe set out to bottle his own wines.  This 40 hectare estate has one year left until it is certified organic.  The fruit is hand-harvested (except for the VdP de Vaucluse) and fermented in temperature controlled tanks using indigenous yeasts.  My favorite of the lot was the Beaume de Venise not only because I enjoyed the floral and black fruit flavors but you do not come across too many red wines from the appellation.  For further information you may read their blog.  My impressions are below.

2010 Domaine la Ligiere, Sud Absolu, VdP de Vaucluse
This wine is a blend of 50% Carignan and 50% Syrah.  The youthful nose was floral.  In the mouth black and red berries were light in the mouth.  The fruit started off lively but then became subdued as it softened up before hints of ink came out in the finish along with fine drying tannins.  Drink over the short-term.

2010 Domaine la Ligiere, Sud Absolu, Cotes du Rhone
This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% syrah, and 10% Mourvedre.  This was fresh and perfumed but came across as simpler than the VdP de Vaucluse.

2010 Domaine la Ligiere, Beaumes de Venise, Rouge
This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, and 40% Syrah.  The scented nose revealed floral and berry aromas.  In the mouth the red fruit was slow to build, developing a floral vein mixed with black fruit.  The fine drying tannins were incorporated into the structure.   Tasty but young.  This could use a few years of age.

2010 Domaine la Ligiere, Vacqueyras
This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah.  The nose was a little darker than the Beaume de Venise with both black and red fruits.  In the mouth this modern Vacqueyras was very fresh, finely textured with a hint of tobacco and drying tannins.  This was tighter than the Beaume de Venise and clearly needs a few years of age.