Fall 2021 CRUx6 Quarterly Reds
A really nice Tour de France mix of reds for you this quarter. There is a little bit of everything from all corners of L'Hexagone. And I save the best for last. The last item on this list will blow you away...
Here they are:
Camarette Tentation Syrah 2020--Sisters Nancy and Alex Gontier run the fantastic Domaine de la Camarette in the shadow of Mt. Ventoux. Their farm consists of vineyards, olive groves, fruit trees, woodland, and a kitchen garden. Its not far from the bustling city of Avignon and if you listen closely enough you can hear cars on the autoroute, but this place is all about peace and tranquility. If there's a red in this quarter's mix that is meant as an everyday, crank-it-down, whatever reason bottle--this one is it! Don't be fooled by the low price tag on this wine. It was made in small quantity, handcrafted, and drinks more like a far more stylish French red wine from the neighboring Rhone, than the Ventoux typically offers.
La Paroisse Coup de Foudre Cote Roannaise 2020--Jean-Claude Chaucesse (show-sess) and his wife Laetitia cultivate vines that are an average of 80 years old near the charming village of Renaison. He is the 13th generation of Chaucesse to farm the same land with documents showing the work to have begun in 1610. Over four hundred years later the property, and the work, has passed from father to son. Jean-Claude's two young sons seem primed to continue the heritage. This cuvée called 'Coup de Foudre' is made from some of Jean-Claude's "medium-aged" Gamay vines--in this case about 80-110 years old, and in a style that was favored by his father and grandfather before him. In this case it means a 1 year aging in old, upright barrels (foudres) to allow a silky, warm mouthfeel that gives way to layers and layers of concentrated Gamay fruit. A very ripe, juicy vintage in 2020 gives a very fine wine that will make many of you pay more attention to this part of France, especially given the price!
IPSUM Pure Carmenere 2020--Often called "the lost grape of Bordeaux", Carmenere is a deep, dark red grape, for years used to add color, depth, suppleness, and power to Bordeaux. Why it disappeared is anyone's guess.Today, there are just 4 hectares planted in the entire region. No joke. Behind the winery of David and Laurent Siozard, near the village of Luguignac, we find a small 1/4 hectare--literally 20 small rows of vines. The brother's grandfather planted these vines in the 40's only to watch their forefathers blend it away into the other cuvees. But staring this year, they felt the time was right to let this plot stand on its own. And boy does it work!
Hautes Noelles 'Voulez Vous Gamay Avec Moi' 2020--To preserve the environment, Domaine Les Hautes Noëlles is committed to a process of organic farming. For many years, no herbicide has been used in order to come back to older practices such as ploughing which allow our wines to enhance the expression of the soil and the work in the vines.This playful little Red Gamay was the fan favorite of a recent trip with 18 consumers. I watched with glee as bottle after bottle was laid to waste at a lunch of sole with pommes de noirmoutier. It was a cool day, and we drank the wine a little cool too. I'll venture a guess that this beauty will become a regular "go to" red wine around here for both of us!
Roquemale Les Terrasses Languedoc Rouge 2020--Dominique Ibanez and Valerie Tabaries began Roquemale in 2001, having searched high and low looking for just the right place. They had their "love at first sight moment" when they drove under the viaduct arches and stood among Roquemale's old vines and olive trees. The magic of that day translates well into their delicious bottles of wine. Les Terrasses is culled from Roquemale's upper terraces of Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvedre. I don't often think of red wine with spicy food but I think drunk a little cool this wine would be nice with a curry dish or something basque-inspired. No oak, full fruit, nice and juicy!
Pierre Martin Sancerre Rouge 2019--During a recent visit with the affable and energetic Pierre Martin in Sancerre, he showed us a small production cuvee of his remarkable Pinot Noir from the wonderful 2019 vintage. And I quickly remembered how much I LOVE SANCERRE ROUGE. And I think you will too. Pierre farms just 1ha of Pinot, planted by his father in the 60's, on a calcerous hillside in the famous village of Chavignol. He is of course proud of all his other wines, but is eyes really light up when talking about his Pinot. I think Pierre realizes that making special Pinot Noir is elusive in Sancerre, with most producers focusing on white wines, and many vintages proving difficult to get ripe, concentrated flavors. Lots of Pinot is turned into cheap and simple pink wine, but Pierre pushes the envelope, harvesting low yields and crafting a wine that would sneak into a blind tasting of village level Burgundy and come away with a blue ribbon! Everything in this wine is on point--dark ruby color, complex layers of aromas and flavors, and lots of richness and fresh acidity.
I hope you enjoy them all!