One of the few "natural" winemakers in the northern Rhône, Frank Balthazar is certified organic and vinifies with wild yeasts and minimal sulfur, even producing a cuvée of Cornas without SO2. The Cuvée Casimir Balthazar is from 25% old vines in "Les Mazards" and young vines in "La Légre." Balthazar's Cornas are aromatically beautiful with silky, pure fruit and terrific length and are never heavy or over-extracted. The 2015 Casimir Balthazar shows a dense red/black color, with elegant pure blackberry, cassis aromas with violet and stone and hints of spice, a bit closed from the recent bottling. The palate is dense and elegant, but not heavy, with firm tannins surrounding lovely pure black fruits with a beautiful core of minerals, earth and berry fruits. The finish is all stone and juicy acids. Beautiful wine - hold 5 to 8 years and drink till 2035. DL
The Barou family family makes delicious wines, and grows cherries and apricots on their mixed-use organic estate in Charnas, in the northern section of the AOC Saint-Joseph. Their 2015 Vin de Pays Marsanne is a simply superb everyday wine! Light bronze/gold color. Aromas of almond, lime-flower, honeysuckle, lemon peel and hay, really quite pretty. Ripe stone fruits on the palate, primarily peach and dried pear with lemon, spice and saline mineral flavors with good balancing acidity in the long finish. Serve this lovely wine with chicken, full-flavored fish, mild cheeses and Asian foods. This is a unique and delicious wine and an extraordinary value - highly recommended!
(98% Grenache with Cinsault, Clairette, Bourboulenc, 60 to 90 years old, picked late. 50% de-stemmed, aged in large barrels, casks and vats) As the name suggests, this is old-school CDP, almost all Grenache, not over-extracted or softened with Syrah and Mourvedre. "Bright ruby. Musky, expansive aromas of raspberry, strawberry compote and fresh flowers. Accentuated by a penetrating quality and impressive grip to the black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors. Finishes with alluring perfume and mounting tannins." JR Drink from 2014 to 2027.
Chapelle Saint-Theodoric is a joint venture between the Grangeon family of Domaine de Cristia and their USA importer Peter Weygandt. Le Grand Pin is all Grenache from the Pignan vineyard on sandy soils. Whole-cluster fermentation in concrete vat with wild yeasts, minimal extraction, aged in 4 to 10 year-old large casks. This is a beautiful old-fashioned Chateauneuf that is all finesse and beauty, very Burgundian in style and absoulutely delicious. The wine shows elegant aromas of black cherry, raspberry, violet, roast meat, graphite, citrus and Provencal garrigue, quite complex. There is intense sappy fruit on the palate with elegant cherry, raspberry, dark chocolate and earth. Very long, dense and ripe but balanced and bright, not at all heavy or over-extracted. The finish is lovely with sappy fruit and mineral flavors lingering on the palate. Delicious as a young wine, this should cellar beautifully, best perhaps 2023 - 2030. DL
"Chapelle St. Theodoric is a project between winemaker Baptiste Grangeon and importer Peter Weygandt. There are two parcels; one in the lieu-dit La Guigasse, which is a pure sand soil and where the vines (all Grenache) range in age of from 50 to 100 year; and the other parcel at the top of Pignan, literally adjoining the vines of Chateau Rayas, also in pure sand and also pure, old vines Grenache. The vinification is traditional, that is to say, whole-cluster, such as employed by Jacques Reynaud at Chateau Rayas, Laurent Charvin, Henri Bonneau. In the 2014 vintage, it was decided to put all of the La Guigasse and some of the Grand Pin into Les Sablons, because of the more forward style of 2014." - Weygandt-Metzler. The 2014 "Les Sablons" is indeed a very lovely Chateauneuf, showing beautiful ripe red currant and black cherry aromas with hints of brown spice, rose, earth and musk. The palate is light and fine but very dense with sappy red fruits, citrus, earth and mineral flavors with hints of licorice and prune. The finish is long and lingering, with firm acidity showing good aging potential. Elegant and delicious now - serve slightly cool - perhaps best 2020 to 2030. Three cheers to Peter Weygandt and Baptiste Grangeon for producing this lovely old-school Châteaneuf-du-Pape!
85% Grenache, some 100+ years-old, 15% Mourvedre. 70% de-stemmed, aged in old medium and small casks. Bottled unfined, unfiltered. Old-fashioned wine, quite earthy, showing floral ripe cherry and garrigue aromas, with sweet earthy cherry fruit on the palate quite meaty and mineral, with deep red fruits, citrusy acids and earth in the long finsh. Lovely now with a stew or grilled meats, or hold a few years for a mauture experience, drink until 2030+. DL
This is Gigondas at its finest! 100% Grenache from old vines, fermented in cement, and aged in large oak vats before being bottled unfined and unfiltered with minimal added sulphur. It gives you that classic Grenache mustiness – like blackberries and blueberries smashed onto the forest floor – but also more fresh and delicate notes of nutmeg and strawberries. Hints of grapefruit peel, vine tomato and pine offer added depth. Given its age, it is still incredibly energetic on the palate with wonderfully resolved tannins and ripe black berry fruit. Truly a complex and delicious wine with a long life ahead of it! Tim Gagnon
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.
(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 big, 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 2015, the Clos du Joncuas (Domaine la Garancière) Seguret Blanc is an outstanding value and highly recommended. DL
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!
(70% Grenache, with Carignan, Syrah and Mourvèdre, always farmed organically, hand harvested, whole-cluster wild yeast fermentation, aged in cement vat, un-fined, unfiltered.) The 2015 Seguret shows a very dark red/black color, with aromas of ripe cherry and strawberry liqueur, prune, earth, stone and provençal spices. The palate is quite dense and supple with black berry, prune and earth backed with firm citrusy acids, very saline and long in the finish. This is a big, solid wine that will accompany steaks, chops and burgers, a daube niçoise and full flavored cheeses. It's a fabulous value and will benefit from decanting well in advance or a few years in the cellar. DL
From 80% Grenache with Syrah and Mourvedre, grown on gravelly limestone terraces, always farmed organically, whole-cluster fermention and aged in concrete vats. 2015 is a great vintage for the always lovely Vacqueyras from Carole and Dany Chastan at Clos du Joncuas. The wine shows very deep aromas of blackberry and floral strawberry compote, earth, citrus, violet and spice. The palate is supple and dense, brightened by floral notes and firm acidity, with ripe blackberry and raspberry fruit, framed in juicy acidity with a very long finish of ripe berry fruits and mineral flavors. This is a beautiful and exuberant wine, quite delicious now, served slightly cool, and it will drink beautifully over the next ten years. A joyful wine and highly recommended! DL
The Dard & Ribo 2015 Crozes Blanc is from 30 year-old vines, more Roussanne than Marsanne, in the "Les Baties" vineyard in Larnage with soils of granite with clay. The wine ages for 12 months in a mix of large and small barrels, with a small percentage new, approximately 250 cs made.
The 2015 Dard & Ribo Crozes-Hermitage Rouge is from numerous sites in the villages of Crozes and Larnage, on mostly granite soils. The fermentation is with whole-clusters, the wine ages in used 600 liter barrels. Organic farming, minimal sulfur.
From 100% Syrah in Chvanay, just outside the Saint-Joseph zone, tended organically since planting. The Amphores Syrah "les Iris" shows lovely blackberry and blueberry aromas with citrus and floral notes. The palate is light and refreshing with very pretty fruit - the flavors of Northern Rhone Syrah in a bright ready-to-drink style. This will be a great accompaniment to grilled foods and picnics, served quite cool.
(From young vines, planted in the 90's, always organic, and from parcels of old vines, converted to organic, in Chavanay, below Condrieu) Philippe and Veronique Grenier have always farmed organically and now they have added biodynamic methods as well, bringing the quality even higher at this wonderful small estate. the 2015 Saint-Joseph shows a lovely melange of blackberry, black cherry and blueberry aromas with violet, rose, roast meat and earth. The palate is dense and complex with earth and mineral notes framing ripe black fruits with licorice citrus and spice. The finish is long with earthy black fruits and mineral flavors. This is a lovely combination of ripe complex fruits with earth and minerals, making it a superb food wine with a variety of grilled and roast meats, North African cuisine and full-flavored cheeses, not to mention "Caillottes." Winner of the 2015 Best Value in Saint-Joseph!
Dumien-Serrette is a happily old-fashioned estate in Cornas with 1.5 hectares in the Patou vineyard, which has primarily granitic soils; the remainder, .3 hectares, is located in Les Savaux. The vines in Patou date back to the 1920’s, with some even exceeding 100 years old. Since the 2010 harvest, half of the fruit has been de-stemmed; grapes are pressed with an old-fashioned basket press and aged 2 years in 2 to 7-year-old barrels. The estate’s total annual production is around 300 cases (600 in 2014).
Guy and Thomas Jullien make a small quantity of fascinating and delicious white Cotes du Rhône on their organic estate in Suzette, on the slopes of the Dentelles near Beaumes-de-Venise. "Le Blanc" is made from 45% Clairette, 45% Roussanne and 10% Grenache Blanc grown at high altitude on clay/limestone soils, vinified with some skin contact and with minimal SO2. The 2015 shows soft aromas of tangerine, lime flower, almond butter, and anise along with deeper notes of exotic tropical melon. The palate is broad and textured with a melange of fruit reminiscent of white peach, pineapple, mandarin orange, and apricot balanced by a gentle acidity and the most subtle suggestion of tannin. This would be fantastic with rich fish dishes, pork, and poultry of all kinds. Tim Gagnon
"Very dark color; the nose is destined for appreciation at a second stage of maturity, since it is strongly oaked and full right now, with a glimmer of black berry fruit within. This is serious Crozes, not the bar drinking school at all. The palate has viscous black fruit, Morello cherry, nice and dark. Oak shows on the late stages, will absorb. High quality here. We are close to Hermitage in style. Has a long, sustained, fresh close. From mid-late 2016. Drink until 2024-25" Drink Rhone
100% Syrah from vines just outside the Cote-Rotie appellation, above Bocharey on the Cote-Blonde. This junior Cote-Rotie shows lovely aromas of ripe blackberry and cherry with roast meat and floral notes, with cocoa and herbs. The palate has a nice earthy texture with ripe berry fruits, chocolate and mineral flavors. Nice length with lingering fruits and a good mineral kick in the finish. This is a delicious Syrah to serve slightly chilled with any grilled pork, lamb, duck, and full-flavored cheeses.
The Gripa 2015 Saint-Joseph Blanc is 70% Marsanne and 30% Roussanne from 35 year-old vines. Drink over the next ten years, decanting recommended.
The Gripa Saint-Joseph "le Berceau" is from the vineyard called "Saint-Joseph" in Tournon, one of the best sites in the appellation, with the Gripas having a full-south exposure and vines planted mostly in the 1920s. The soils are granite with clay and stones. The fermentation is with 30 to 40% whole clusters, with aging in one to six year-old barrels. This is an outstanding old-vine Saint-Joseph that should ideally be cellared for about 5 years and should drink beautifully for fifteen to twenty years.
The 2015 Gripa "Le Berceau" Blanc is 100% Marsanne frm 60+ year-old vines in the "Saint-Joseph" vineyard above Tournon. 215 cases made, a rare and beautiful wine. "This imposes, and is a kingly wine with its steady assertion of ripe flavour and near red wine structure." (DrinkRhone) Drink over the next fifteen years.
The Gripa 2015 Saint-Joseph is from fifteen to sixty-five year-old vines in the "Peygros" vineyard, above "Saint-Joseph," shared by Gonon and Chapoutier, on granite with thin soils. The grapes are de-stemmed and the wine ages in a mix of small and large casks, new to eight years of age. This is a more forward wine that will drink beautifully over the next five to eight years.
This little-known wine from Bernard and Fabrice Gripa is one of the most delicious and fascinating whites of the Northern Rhône. From 50 to 60 yeal-old vines in Saint-Peray, 60% Roussanne and 40% Marsanne.
Domaine Bernard and Fabrice Gripa is one of the top estates in Saint-Joseph and Saint-Peray, with the whites being particularly stylish and well-made. The Saint-Peray Les Pins is from 30 year-old vines on both granite and limestone soils, 75% Marsanne, 25% Roussanne. Honeyed floral, herbal and citrus aromas, creamy lemon oil, hay and stone.The palate is round and fairly soft with spicy white fruits and lime, but with nice finishing acidity and mineral character. An elegant Rhône white that will drink well over the next 10 years, a great aperitf and a good match with full-flavored fish and pork dishes and mild cheeses.
Laurent Habrard is making superb organic wines in the Northern Rhone and is blessed with a tiny parcel in Hermitage "Les Rocoules," whose vines, 99.9% Marsanne, range from approximately 50 to 100 years old! The wine ages 7 months in 1 to 3 year-old barriques and finishes in vat. The 2014 shows a bright gold color and complex ripe aromas of peach, pear, citrus peel, lime-flower, hazelnut, caramel and stone, really extraordinary. The palate is ripe and round with white and yellow fruits, hay, stone, menthol and citrus, rich and long in the finish. Serve this beautiful wine over the next ten years with fish or chicken in sauce, goat cheeses and foie gras. DL
From one of the few organic estates in Crozes Hermitage. The vines are 25 to 75 years old, most in Erome and Gervans on slopes of decomposed granite, some in Pont d'Isere on sand and gravel. No SO2 during vinification, aged in vat and in 2 - 5 year-old small barrels. The 2015 Habrard is a lovely wine, showing a bright red/black color; lovely aromas of ripe black cherry, blackberry and blueberry with hints of roast meat, mint and dark chocolate, quite pure and elegant. The palate shows dense, supple blackberry fruit with earth, smoke, black olive and licorice, nicely balanced with citrus and spice and finishing with terrific length of berry fruits, saline minerals and cool acidity. Lovely wine! Delicious now, served cool, or hold for 5 to 8 years. DL
This well-known family estate produces excellent Tavel from certified organic vineyards and includes Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, Clairette, Picpoul, Bourboulenc and Mourvedre! The 2016 shows a bright pink color, with lovely aromas of raspberry and morello cherry with floral and citrus hints; ripe berry fruits on the palate, dense and rich but nicely balanced by bright acidity. The finish is long and refreshing with ripe berry fruits and minerally acidity. Drink over the next two years with a quiche lorraine, salade nicoise, middle eastern cuisine, even grilled foods, especially tuna and pork. Lovely by itself as well!
Mostly from Petite Serine planted in the 1950s on Chavaroche, a superb parcel of granite and schist soils with clay and sand (just west of Cote Brune) a very warm terraced plot sheltered from the north wind. Whole-bunch fermentation, aged one year in old barrels, one year in 15% new, 85% old casks. The 2009 Chavaroche is a magnificent Côte-Rôtie with surprising structure and acidity for the vintage - in fact Nicole Levet suggests drinking the 2010 before the 2009. Superb, elegant nose of deep black fruits, stone and game with hints of cocoa. (Albert Dervieux-Thaise once told me that a good Côte-Rôtie should smell like "le ventre d'un lièvre chaud" - the gut of a warm hare.) This is not that rustic, but definitely has distinctive aromas. The palate is bursting with stony blackberry fruit, with brown spice, citrus, smoke and licorice. This seems softer than the 2010 to me but there is ample lifting acidity and freshness to carry the wine into old age. This is a big, gorgeous Côte-Rôtie that will be a joy to drink over the next 15 to 20 years! David Lillie
This delicious Rhone red from the biodynamic Oratoire Saint-Martin is mostly Grenache and Syrah, with Mourvedre, Counoise, Cinsault, Vaccarese, Musacadin and Terret Noir grown on limestone/clay soils. The wine shows a pretty melange of raspberry and cherry aromas with hints of licorice and brown spice. The palate is bright and balanced with tart cherry and berry fruits, with surprising depth, in a lively refreshing frame. Simply delicioius! Serve cool with pork and chicken dishes, charcuterie and mild cheeses.
The Vincent Paris Cornas "La Geynale" is 85% from the top of La Geynale, including vines from 1910, 15% from Tezier. 80 - 85% whole bunch fermentation, with wild yeasts, aged in 2 - 10 year-old casks. This is one of the top Cornas of 2015.
The Paris Cornas "Granit 60" is from 100 year-old vines in "Les Mazards," 65 year-old vines in "Patou" and 24 year-old vines in "Sauman." The grapes are partially de-stemmed then undergo a 2-3 week vinification with wild yeasts. The wine ages in two to ten year-old barrels and is bottled un-filtered. About 400 to 500 cases are produced.
This juicy and delicious Saint-Joseph comes from 20+ year-old vines at Ardoix (central Saint-Joseph) in a high-altitude vineyard. The grapes are de-stemmed and the wine ages partially in vat, partially in small used barrels.Deep, bright black/red color. Very bright floral aromas with pure berry fruits - blackberry and blueberry - with a bit of musk and roast meat. A bright attack, then very good density and weight on the palate with very ripe berry fruits typical of 2015 backed by firm acidity and intense mineral flavors. This is an extroverted Saint-Joseph, quite ripe and lush, but at the same time quite firm and earthy - delicious now, but give this wine a few years to come together.
Jacqueline André makes this superb white Chateauneuf-du-Pape from one hectare of vines - 40% Clairette planted in the 1920s, with 30% Bourboulenc, 20% Roussanne and 10% Grenache Blanc. Biodynamic farming, aged in vat, malo blocked. Fabulous aromas of pear and green apple with lemon blossom, stone and dried fruits. Very saline and mineral on the palate with intense flavors of dried pear, apple, hazelnut, anise and stone. very dense and long with firm acidity and mineral flavors in the finish. Terrific wine - delicious now with fish or chicken in sauce and full flavored cheeses, or cellar, perhaps best 2020 to 2030. DL
The Richaud 2014 Cairanne is a gorgeous wine made from Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvedre, partly made with carbonic maceration. The aromas are ripe and vivid with black cherry, red currant and floral notes backed by earth and dark chocolate. The palate shows lush, bright fruit - a beautiful and intense melange of berries lifted by cool acidity and mineral flavors with fabulous length. Three days later the wine is showing beautifully with a bit more spice in the aromas and fabulous minty black fruits on the palate, very long and complex. Bravo to Marcel Richaud! Serve this lovely wine quite cool with just about anything!
From a one-half hectare parcel of 60 year-old vines in "Les Rivoires" on the lower slope in Tournon, sandy granite soils. Aged 12 months, 30% foudre, 70% 2 to 5 year-old barrels. This "serious" Saint-Joseph shows lush, bright aromas of blackberry liqueur, with blueberry, violet, citrus, spice and roast meats. The palate is a bit tight and quite elegant with red currant, blackberry and blueberry fruit with firm acidity and mineral flavors. This is an elegant, earthy and well-structured Saint-Joseph that will age beautifully - best probably 2021 to 2030, decant if drinking now.
From hillside vineyards in Erome, Gervans and Crozes, mostly granite with some limestone/clay, average age 45 years, aged 30% in foudre, 70% in one to 7 year-old burgundy barrels. This is no "ordinary" Crozes-Hermitage, but a real wine of terroir from great vineyard sites, all on hillsides. The 2014 is aromatically beautiful with complex aromas of red currant, blueberry, violet, musk and citrus. The palate is softer than in the very structured 2013 vintage, showing red and black fruit liqueur lifted by citrusy acids and finishing with nice mineral flavors, floral notes and supple fruit. This is a very pretty Crozes to drink over the next 5 years, and a great value!
Les Picaudières is perhaps the best vineyard in Crozes-Hermitage, formerly owned by Raymond Roure. It's a steep slope of granite terraces, isolated in an oak forest facing due south and protected from the wind. (In the opinion of Livingston-Learmonth in "Wines of the Northern Rhône" wine from Les Picaudières is "certainly better" than many Hermitage from the eastern part of the hill.) The vines range from 20 to 80 years-old. The grapes are hand-harvested and mostly de-stemmed. The wine ages 16 months, 40% in foudre, 60% in burgundy barrels, new to 5 year-old. 2014 is another excellent vintage at Domaine Rousset thanks to the great vineyard and cellar work of Stephane and his father Robert. The 2014 Les Picaudières shows deep pure aromas of blackberry, black cherry and red currant with hints of violets, earth and licorice, a bit riper and more forward than the 2013. The palate is dense and well-structured with black fruits, mint and saline minerals, but soft enough to be absolutely delicious as a young wine. This is a serious wine of terroir - a very elegant Crozes that should be decanted if drunk now, best 2020 to 2030+.
From 60 to 90 year-old 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 Rousset Crozes Blanc is outstanding in 2015 and is one of the finest white wine values in the store! It's 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
Made primarily from 80 to 90 year-old vines of Serine, generally regarded as an old version of Syrah (which evolved from Mondeuse Blanc and Dureza) with smaller berries which survived through massale selection, principally in Cote Rotie. Serine gives a more aromatic and elegant wine that the larger berried modern Syrah. "From our first day of harvest, 2013 is one of our favorite vintages. The younger vines, which proved austère in the months after bottling, are now showing the remarkable definition that each terroir has gifted to both wines: generosity and smokiness from Saint-Julien’s granits, depth and definition from Brézème. The 30 months of aging in 2500 litre foudres have rendered both cuvées surprisingly approachable for such a classic vintage. The aging potential is exceptional for both wines, and the Brézème is probably the best expression we’ve obtained from this terroir…and at less than 12% alcohol! 2632 bottles, 120 magnums and 10 jéroboams" Eric Texier
"As with all our 2015 whites, Adèle is the polar opposite of what we expected from the vintage: bright, balanced, not heavy and with all the finesse of the Northern Rhône’s Clairettes. Native yeasts, aged in concrete vats, 30 mg/l of SO2 at bottling. – 4000 bottles." - Eric Texier. Tasted 10/12/16, the 2015 Adèle is a lovely and very versatile wine showing subtle aromas of almond, lime-flower, pear, citrus pith and stone. The palate is round and balanced with silky white fruits, citrus and stone with a hint of anise, with a long refreshing finish. Lovely wine - serve with anything from grilled fish to pork chops! DL
Resolutely old-fashioned in the best possible sense, Vieux Donjon makes Châteauneuf that harkens back to an era before super-cuvées, fancy cooperage, and points. The 2014 is comprised of 75% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault, Counoise, Clairette from old vines averaging over 70 years old. The wine has a ruby to violet robe, the nose is a melange of red and black fruits, eastern spices, garrigue, and tobacco aromas, blessedly free of notes of toasted oak or torrefaction. The mid-weight (for CDP) palate offers a complex blend of flavors ranging from wild strawberry, black cherry, five spice, and roasted game, girded by a spicy mineral foundation. This is generous and fresh, but has the structure for aging. Enjoy this with game, pot au feu, or for the adventurous crispy duck chow fun. John McIlwain