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Clos Bellane Cotes du Rhone Villages Valreas 2017 750ml
2017 challenged Rhône’s wine growers with frost, but Clos Bellane’s ’17 Côtes du Rhône Villages Valréas is a winner, reflecting the vintage with intensity and focus. Succulent red berries and brambly blue fruits mingle with warm loam, peppery spices, licorice, game, mushrooms and raspberry jam in this earthy, beguiling wine. Fine-grained tannins and zesty acidity match the wine’s sweet fruits, while a seductive savory minerality lingers on the wine’s finish. Clos Bellane’s entry-level red is almost equal mixture of Grenache and Syrah that derive from vines aged thirty years or more organically grown in limestone-rich soils; grapes are partially destemmed before fermenting with indigenous yeasts, and the wine matures in a combination of concrete vats and neutral aged barrels.
Domaine Roucas Toumba Vacqueyras Rose 2015 750ml
Smoky minerals, Provençal lavender, orange zest and sun-warmed earth frame the red fruits in this elegant, exotic ’15 Rosé whose sweet nose is complemented by a fleshy yet dry palate. This rosé is an AOC Vacqueyras made by Éric Bouletin, a rising star in the appellation, and to make this wine, Bouletin blends Grenache and Mourvèdre, both saignée method, with Syrah aged in demi-muid, direct-press Carignan, and some direct-press Grenache, all without skin contact. This is a serious wine that you can drink alone or with a variety of heftier summer dishes.
Domaine Roucas Toumba Vacqueyras Rose 2016 750ml
A salmon color in the glass, this ’16 Vacqueyras Rosé wafts with berries, figs, underbrush, orange peel and crushed rocks. Grippy and vibrant, this wine uncurls on the palate to reveal a mineral-laden, vibrant palate that builds to a sneakily powerful finish laden with herbs and fruit. This rosé is an AOC Vacqueyras made by Éric Bouletin, a rising star in the appellation, and to make this wine, Bouletin blends Grenache and Mourvèdre, both saignée method, with Syrah aged in demi-muid, direct-press Carignan, and some direct-press Grenache, all without skin contact. This is a serious wine that you can drink alone or with a variety of heftier summer dishes.
Chateau Pradeaux Bandol Rose 2016 750ml
2016 was a ripe, dry vintage in Bandol, but this Provençal Rosé is nonetheless fresh and vibrant, wrapping its citrus and berry fruits around a core of chalky minerality. Crushed flowers and tealeaves complete the flavor profile of this dynamic table wine that is especially luscious and concentrated in 2016. Deriving from vines averaging 25 years old, this blend of equal parts Cinsault and Mourvèdre is a direct press rosé, and the grapes enjoy a brief maceration on the skins before fermentation and aging in stainless steel. For the best experience, let the wine unfold in the glass or decant before drinking.
Chateau Pradeaux Bandol Rose 2017 750ml
Round, ripe, and rich, this Bandol Rosé layers its strawberries and cherries with rose petals, warm spice, grapefruit zest, and savory underbrush to create a captivating drinking experience. This wine powers across the palate with zippy acidity, but its nicely hefty dry extract gives it a sense of weight and complexity. Deriving from vines averaging 25 years old, this blend of equal parts Cinsault and Mourvèdre is a direct press rosé, and the grapes enjoy a brief maceration on the skins before fermentation and aging in stainless steel. For the best experience, let the wine unfold in the glass or decant before drinking.
Clos Bellane Chateauneuf du Pape Urgonien 1.14 Hectare 2016 750ml
Rhône was blessed with a banner year in 2016, and Clos Bellane’s ’16 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Urgonien glows with an ideal marriage of power and precision. Sappy red and brooding blue fruits dance on a bed of crushed wildflowers, garrigue, pressed herbs, warm earth, peppery spices, and smoky minerals. The wine’s sweet fruits echo on the palate, where they’re joined by chewy, elegant tannins, electric acidity, and a thrumming core of savory minerals that resonate on the wine’s extended finish. While the bulk of Clos Bellane’s vineyards rest in Valréas, the estate has a single 2.8-acre property in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and this wine gets its name from that plot combined with Urgonien, the local name for black soils that are rich with fossilized remains. A blend of 77% Grenache and 23% Mourvèdre, organically grown grapes are partially destemmed before fermenting with natural yeasts, spending about eight weeks macerating on the skins; the wine ages mostly in concrete, with about 20% aging in one to two-year-old barrels.
Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Reservee 2012 750ml
Dark purple with red highlights, this wine bursts with juicy, brambly red and purple fruits, underbrush, smoke, ground pepper, incense and exotic spices. These notes carry through on the medium-bodied palate; energized by vibrant acidity, this wine builds to a slow crescendo of silky tannins, smoky spices, and floral aromatics. Fully concentrated, this Reservée is a blend of 80% Grenache, 5% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre, and 10% of the other permitted varieties that sees two years in foudre (large oak barrels) before bottling. The fruit of a ripe vintage, this ’12 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Réservée is enjoyable now with decanting, and given that Pegau opted against making its flagship Cuvée da Capo and used those grapes in this bottling, it’s a steal of a wine!
Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Reserve 2009 750ml
Domaine de la Janasse Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes 2015 750ml
Underbrush, brown spices, warm cigar wrapper and earth frame the luscious red and black berries in this intense, aromatic ’15 Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Janasse. Copious dry extract coats the palate, while racy acidity powers this wine to a lingering finish filled with grippy, chew tannins. You can drink this wine now, but it’ll be even more delicious in five or ten years. Deriving from four plots totaling 15 acre of vines planted between 1920 and 1993, this cuvée combines power, freshness, structure, and silkiness for an ideal Châteauneuf-du-Pape expression. Grapes macerates for a month, and the wine ages in a combination of vats (75%) and demi-muid; in 2015, the wine was a blend of 64% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah, and 6% various other grapes.
Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle 2012 750ml
Deep, rich ruby in the glass, this ’12 Hermitage La Chapelle bursts with brooding red and blue fruit, scents of incense and crushed flower petals, and aromas of exotic spices, graphite, smoke, and tapenade. This is one unabashedly sexy wine; it’s a concentrated, intense beast with towering tannins, and it needs time to tame it. Deriving primarily from Le Meal with a touch of fruit from the Les Bessards vineyard, this wine ages in 20% new wood for 15 to 18 months before bottling. The La Chapelle is always the crown jewel of the venerable Paul Jaboulet Aîné, and the ’12 Hermitage La Chapelle is an extraordinary, seductive wine; cellar this massive Hermitage for a few years and drink for decades.