When I chatted with winemaker Christophe Jaume at the winery’s introductory tasting earlier this year, he could scarcely contain his enthusiasm for the 2011 vintage in general, and this 2011 Ventoux in particular. His explained that Les Gelinottes vineyard’s ideal exposure was a unique bonus, due to the extra sun received in late August early September. The additional solar energy pumped up the already ripe, juicy fruit, and helped build a fine structure of soft tannins. Made from 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah planted on clay and sandy soils, this wine offer notes of crushed blackberry, baked blueberry and garrigue, with hints of toast and earth rising at the finish. This fresh, medium-bodied Rhone should be enjoyed now, and over the next 18 months.
What grabbed me was this white wine's luxuriant richness, reminiscent of an Hermitage Blanc, yet still fresh, and totally unoaked. I thought I needed a Chardonnay to make my 12 bottle case, but with this wine, I can get the best of a northern Rhône style, and the voluptuousness of a California Chardonnay, in one neat package.
Arnoux Père's "White Label" Vacqueyras "Seigneur de Lauris," a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, sees new oak, and offers excellent structure and aging potential.
No matter how grand or small, every wine cellar needs a few outright crowd-pleasers. This is the one to bring out when mixed company arrives (aficionados and non-aficionados), because I have yet to find anybody who does not enjoy it, myself included.
Hailed by Robert Parker as “one of the 20 most influential wine personalities of the past 20 years,” Robert “Bobby” Kacher is as passionate about seeking out great and often undiscovered wines today as when he began his eponymous import business more than two decades ago. Constantly challenging his growers and winemakers to produce more authentic and naturally complex wines, Bobby continues to bring higher quality and value to his extensive portfolio every year. The vivid pink 2012 Château Grande Cassagne Rosé, made on the western edge of the Rhône Valley by brother team Benoît and Laurent Dardé, is a special USA-only cuvee produced exclusively for Robert Kacher Selections. Made from 45% Grenache, 45% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre, this rosé offers plush flavors of strawberry, fresh herbs, dark plum, and white pepper, with a hint of minerally tang on a fully dry finish. -- Ben Giliberti
The 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape is performing even better from bottle than it did last year. Composed of 47% Grenache, 38% Syrah and 15% Mourvedre, it is surprisingly soft and evolved for La Nerthe, but that actually gives the wine additional appeal. Its dense ruby/purple hue is followed by aromas of blue and black fruits, lavender, licorice, truffles and garrigue. Full-bodied, supple textured, fleshy and succulent, it will provide enjoyment over the next 10-15 years.
France's Rhone Valley is teeming with great wines, many at bargain prices. Known for Chateauneuf-du-Pape and of course Cotes du Rhone, the Rhone Valley offers so many other wonderful wines and we've included a not-as-well-known Ventoux in this sampler. The last few vintages have been superb in the Rhone so enjoy this great mix.Comes in an attractive, handy tote bag with one bottle each of the following wines:Grand Veneur Lirac "Clos de Sixte" 2010 (France)Clermont-Tonnerre (Corcia) Cotes du Rhone "Cairanne Tres V.V." 2010 (France)Clermont-Tonnerre (Corcia) Ventoux "Patricia" 2011 (France)Becassonne (Brunel) Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2012 (France)