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Carole and Dany Chastan at the Clos du Joncuas have again sent us a wonderful New Year gift - a shipment of their superb 2015 Gigondas and 2016 Vacqueyras along with a few cases each of Gigondas from 2006, 2010 and 2012! Tasted last winter at the estate, the older wines showed beautifully and give the opportunity to taste these very traditional wines at different stages of evolution and from vintages with quite different climatic conditions. And the 2015 Gigondas is one of the greatest values in the Rhône, both for current drinking and cellaring or ten to fifteen years! And let's not forget their delicious 2016 Seguret Blanc, and their fabulous Rosé - just arrived from the 2017 vintage, which will drink beautifully over the next few years. Dany and Carole will be in NY this winter - we'll have a vertical tasting and dinner with them at Racines in early March - date to be announced soon!
Pablo Hocht at Domaine de Crève Coeur is making beautiful wines at his 5 hectare estate in Sablet and Séguret. The estate has very old vines of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Cinsault - the oldest, at Sablet, were planted just after WW2 and the vines at Seguret were planted in the early 70s. Farming here is organic and Biodynamic and fermentations are whole-cluster with wild yeasts with aging in old barrels. The 2016 Sablet and 2016 Séguret are deep, complex and elegant - wonderful examples of Grenache-based Rhone wines at their best - they are bold and beautiful for current drinking and will improve with five to eight years of cellaring, and of course they are fantastic values as well.
Beginning with the 2009 vintage, and based on a recommendation from Jean Gonon, we have been featuring the wonderful Crozes-Hermitages and Saint-Joseph from Stéphane and Isabelle Rousset. Stephane's great uncle was the legendary Raymond Roure, from whom the Roussets purchased the "Picaudières" vineyard in Gervans - it's one of the best vineyards in the region with terraces cut out of the granite and old vines planted in high density, dating back to the 1930s. Unlike most Crozes-Hermitage producers, all the Rousset's parcels are on slopes, mostly granite but with a small amount of clay-limestone as well, giving the wines more affinity to Hermitage than to the modern styles of forward and fruity Crozes-Hermitage grown on the flats. 2016 is an excellent vintage here - the "regular" Crozes-Hermitage is a superb value showing bright elegant Syrah fruit for drinking over the next five to eight years and the 2016 "les Picaudières" is truly outstanding - a real wine of terroir equal to many Hermitage that will benefit from 10 to 15 years of cellaring.
Though the beautiful Domaine Charvin 2016 Chateauneuf-du-Pape is sold out, savvy Rhône buyers should pick-up some of the excellent 2016 Charvin Côtes-du-Rhône "le Poutet." It's a real junior Chateauneuf from vines near Maucoil, Quartier Champovin and Boislauzon on sandy, clay-limestone, and galet stones soils.
All wines are in stock, with additional inventory arriving on 12/17.
80% Grenache with Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah, on Triassic clay/limestone soils, always farmed organically. Whole cluster fermentation in vat with 12 months aging in large old barrels. Although we love this beautifully old-fashioned, organic wine in every vintage, Dany and Carole Chastan have made perhaps their best wine ever in 2015! The wine shows deep aromas of blackberry, dark chocolate, prune, garrigue, musk and citrus, quite focused and elegant. The palate is pure, supple and balanced, even at 15% alcohol, with dense blackberry, tart cherry, red currant, spice, earth and minerals, with tart red fruits, minerals and citrus in the very long finish. This is a superb Gigondas that can be enjoyed immensely now with a steak, pork or lamb chops, Morrocan tagines and full-flavored cheeses. Cellar 10 to 15 years for a mature experience. This is a superb wine and a great value - thanks to Carole and Dany for their great farming and traditional winemaking!
(From 60 to 70 year-old vines in "Le Planis," 80% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre) The 2016 Creve Coeur Sablet has all the elements we love in sothern Rhone wines: organic/biodynamic farming, old school fermentation in foudre and concrete, stem inclusion. Dark-toned, nearly heady aromatically, with black and blue fruits, lavender, blackberry, cherry pit on the nose. Dense purple robe. Plum, cassis, blackberry, black pepper and garrique on the palate. Real sense of the structural elements from the stems and limestone soils. Medium tannins and good poise for a decidedly southern wine. Long finish. Good energy for the concentration with a fine core of minerality within. Fabulous with pan-roasted lambchops and sheep's milk cheese. Delicious now, but should gain in complexity with time in the bottle. John McIlwain
Pablo Hocht of Domaine de Creve Coeur has 3 hectares of 60+ year-old vines in Seguret on sandy limestone marl soils, 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvedre. As with his lovely Sablet, the Seguret is certified biodynamic, fermented slowly with wild yeasts with the stems included. Aging is partly in one to five year-old barriques, partly in vat. In other words, great farming and old-fashioned winemaking, similar to that of the Gonons in Saint-Joseph. The 2016 Seguret shows a deep red/black color and aromas of ripe blackberry, black cherry and red currant, with earth, garrigue and cocoa - dark and rich but with good freshness. The palate is dense and round with a supple, grainy texture with ripe blackberry and black plum, showing the high percentage of Mourvedre, with hints of chocolate, citrus and provencal herbs. The finish is long with cool acidity and earthy black fruits. Serve this beautiful Seguret a bit cool after a decant of a few hours or cellar five to ten years. Great with stews and tagines, grilled meats and game. David Lillie
Certainly one of the best sites in Crozes-Hermitage, "les Picaudières" is a steep, south-facing granite hill with high-density old vines, formerly owned by the legendary Raymond Roure. 2016 is a great vintage for "Les Picaudières," showing fabulous elegance and purity of fruit. The aromas are bright and pretty, very floral with black raspberry and red currant liqueur with hints of blood orange, musk and smoked meats. The palate is dense and cool with silky berry fruits, Asian spice and firm acidity with a strong core of graphite and saline mineral flavors. This is a beautiful Syrah of terroir that should be decanted well in advance if drinking now, best perhaps 2022 - 2030. We thank Stéphane and Isabelle for this lovely wine at a very reasonable price! David Lillie
From 60 to 90 year-old Marsanne vines in the hillside vineyards of "les Vedias" and "Tout" in Erome, decomposed granite with clay and gravel - great terroir producing this serious but overlooked wine from the Rousset family. The 2016 is an intense and delicious Marsanne showing elegant aromas of lemon, stone, dried pear, almond, apricot and hay - really lovely. The palate is dense, mineral and balanced by firm acidity with citrus, pear, grilled almond, anise and herbal flavors, with a long stone and citrus finish. Delicious in its youth, this will benefit from a few years in the cellar and should be quite interesting in 2025. Serve with white meats, full-flavored fish dishes or provençal fish soup and a wide variety of cheeses. David Lillie
Clos du Joncuas, founded in 1920 by Pierre Auguste Chastan, has always farmed with natural methods and has been officially organic since 1980. Currently run by sisters Dany and Carole Chastan, the estate's Gigondas vines are on slopes below the Dentelles de Montmirail on soils of clay with dolomite and gypsum over the limestone of the Dentelles and average 40 to 90 years old. 80% Grenache with Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah, whole cluster fermentation in vat with 12 months aging in large old barrels. The 2012 Gigondas is a bit lighter and brighter than the norm at Clos du Joncuas with high-toned black fruit, mineral, spice and licorice aromas. The palate is elegant and fresh showing deep supple black fruits with hints of graphite, garrigue and brown spice. After three days, recorked in the fridge, the wine has deepened impressively with pure blackberry, bitter chocolate and licorice aromas, great density on the palate with black fruit liqueur, red currant, earth and anise. A beautiful wine! Serve cool and decant many hours if drinking young, or cellar for five to fifteen years.
80% Grenache with Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah, always farmed organically. Whole cluster fermentation in vat with 12 months aging in large old barrels. This is a dense, old-school Gigondas that needs time. Dark purple/black color, deep blackberry aromas with earth, brown spice, prune and licorice. The palate is deep and dense with blackberry, garrigue, earth and mineral flavors framed in firm tannins and acidity Long finish of earthy minerals and black fruits. (April 2015) Tasted in January 2017 at the estate, the wine showed fabulous aromas of berry liqueur, earth, mint, garrigue and licorice; the palate was beautifully structured, deep, elegant and balanced with firm acidity and a great finish. Ten years from maturity but beautiful now with a steak if you can't wait... Bravo to the Chastan family for continuing to make wines like this!
From 80% Grenache with Syrah and Mourvedre, grown on gravelly limestone terraces, always farmed organically, whole-cluster fermention and aged in concrete vats. Dany and Carole Chastan have made another superb Vacqueyras in 2016, a bit brighter than the opulent 2015 version, showing dark black/red color and bright aromas of blackberry, black olive and licorice with plum skin, garrigue, violet and bitter chocolate. This young wine is showing deep black fruits with firm acidity and terrific length with chalky mineral notes, earth, citrus and olive. This will be fantastic with grilled foods, stews and tagines and will improve over the next few years - drink happily until 2030. Highly recommended and a great value! David Lillie
(50% Clairette, 25% Roussanne, 25% Viognier, always organically farmed, wild yeast fermentation, aged in enamel vat) Floral dried pear, apricot, hay, thyme aromas. Ripe pear, stone, caramel, lemon on the palate. A complex, ripe wine with a supple palate but with good acidity that will pair with fish stews, shellfish, pork and chicken dishes as well as full-flavored goat cheeses. Particularly good in 2017, the Clos du Joncuas (Domaine la Garancière) Seguret Blanc is an outstanding value and highly recommended. DL
This is a beautiful Gigondas Rosé from our organic friends at Clos du Joncuas. Pretty bright pink/orange color, aromas of raspberry, tart cherry, blood orange, peach skin and rose. Full palate with silky raspberry, peach, citrus and mineral flavors and firm acidity, beatifully balanced and refreshing. Long finish with tart cherry, peach, earth, and citrusy acids. A bit lighter and better balanced than the 2016, and still young – it should open up nicely over the next two years. It's elegant and delicious now and very food-friendly – serve with grilled fish and white meats, salade nicoise, vegetarian dishes and Provençal foods. A great rosé to enjoy all year-round!
100% Syrah from 40 - 50 year-old vines on hillside vineyards in Erôme, Gervans and Crozes, on mostly granite hillsides and clay/limestone soils as well. A true wine of the granite terroirs, the 2016 Rousset is tight and austere when opened but with time reveals a fabulous Hermitage-like blend of red currant and blackberry fruit with stone and mineral flavors. The aromas are of cherry and red currant liqueur with earth, citrus and powdered stone, quite elegant.The palate shows grainy mineral and earth flavors with blackberry and red currant fruit, finishing with a combination of earth and fruit flavors with fabulous length. A beatiful wine that needs a bit of preparation - best if opened the night before and re-corked - or two nights before - or cellar for five to eight years. Bravo to Stéphan Rousset for this unique expression of Syrah!
From drinkrhone: "dark robe – dark red with some black tints. Dusty trails, herbes de Provence mix on the nose, spice and cooked plums – it’s a Grenache-inspired bouquet; raspberry and mulberry feature well also. The palate runs with fluid content, and some iron in the tannins; it’s thorough and persistent, has more structure than most Côtes du Rhône reds. It finishes on a good charge, momentum. Loganberry, dark fruits lie at its heart. The aftertaste is fresh, has good mini-crunch. The cool threads on the palate are most engaging, and I love its genuine length."