2016 Domaine Richaud L’Ebrescade

In the village of Cairanne sits one of the Rhones under-celebrated wineries, Domaine Richaud. 

Tim Johnston of Paris’ Juveniles Wine Bar fame, was who first tipped me off to Marcel Richaud’s wines, stressing just how rock solid and true to form they are. Over the years whenever I’m in the Rhone and see a Richaud wine on offer by the glass I make a point of including one in my tasting routine. 

Cairanne is one of those regions that was not an AOC of its’ own until recently, so like wines from Baumes de Venise, the Ventoux and Rasteau, they often are unfairly past over for the likes of wines from Gigondas and Chateauneuf du Pape .

On any scale, Richaud’s wines measure up with the best. The 2016 Domaine Richaud L’Ebrescade is a powerhouse blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre and in many ways can be thought of as the textbook and defining example of what a well made, well balanced and food friendly GSM should be.

Posessing a deep purple color, with a concentrated blueberry and blackberry bouquet, the wine is saturated with gobs of fruit, with hints of pepper, black tar and coal.

It’s a great wine now, or in ten years time, and that’s why the 2016 Domaine Richaud L’Ebrescade is todays’ WineSiders’ Wine of The Day!!!

2015 Cerra Gallina Bobal

Travel makes for interesting discoveries. Having crossed into Spain the wines have been very different from what was in the Rhone, Languedoc, Roussillion and even Beaujolais.

The many different Spanish wine regions are each extremely distinctive. Wines from Mallorca like Anima Negra and Oliver Moragues (aka as OM), local wines from the area surrounding Madrid. Elegant wines made in Bierzo from Mencia, the Rhone like reds from Priorat, racy whites from Gallicia, Penedes and more. Then of course there’s Riojas and Ribera del Dueros, so well known and yet so many Spanish wines remain undiscovered.

That approach led me to the wine from Cerra Gallina, a small producer from just outside of Valencia in the village of Campo Arcis, not far from the hill where the winery gets its name.

The main grape that Cerra Gallina works with is Bobal, an indiginous grape that is native to the Utiel-Requena region in southeastern Spain.

The 2015 Cerra Gallina Bobal is killer. It’s a heartbeating, chest thumping powerhouse, tour de force of sheer wreckless abandon and pleasure in the glass.

Made from 90 year old vines, the red wine is something to behold. It’s fruity, yet strong. It’s palate weight is mighty, but at the same time fresh and elegant. 

It’s a jammy wine that conjurs up the aromas of bing cherries, blackberries, blueberries and black currants, along with some black tea. 

The wine just so downright impressive, that’s why the 2015 Cerra Gallina Bobal  is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day..

2018 Domaine de Mourchon La Source

One of the reason going to Decouvertes du Rhone every two years is the ability to taste the wines that will be found on the shelves in the USA real soon. And one of those producers found there who makes can’t miss wines each year is Domaine de Mourchon.

Nestled in the hills above the village of Seguret, Mourchon has become one of those producers who just hits it out of the park each and every year with their white and Rose wines for me.

The new 2018 Domaine de Mourchon La Source, which is just making its way to the USA, is another continuation in a string of hit after hit. Ever since the 2016 vintage, Mourchon has been on a roll with the white wine made from Viognier,  Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Marsanne,  Clairette and Bourboulenc. 

Much like the whites from Chateauneuf du Pape, the whites from the Seguret winery are both charmers when you first open them upon release, but given the Roussanne and Marsanne in the blends, they tend to hang around, fresh and lively for some time.

The 2018 Domaine de Mourchon La Source is that wine and more. A lovely honeysuckle and spring flower bouquet, it has a very cool limestone base, with flavors of kiwi, fresh pears, honeydew melon, peaches and apples. The white wine is both elegantly graceful, as well as rich, without being heavy. It’s a refeshing white that provides a nice counterpoint to the big reds produced in the region.

For those reasons and more, that’s why the 2018 Domaine de Mourchon La Source is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day!!!

2018 Mas de Daumas Gassac Rose Frizant

Wines from Mas de Daumas Gassac are legendary for over 40 years within the world of collectors and critics. Started in the 70’s when founders Véronique and Aimé Guibert found a plot of land and a farmhouse in on the outskirts town of Aniane, France, Gassac has been both a cult favorite and a sought out wine long before the trophies of Napa Valley were en vogue.

Over time the winery evolved, producing Vin D’Pays wines that defy the AOC rules, made with grapes that are not local to the Languedoc, but right for the soil.

Often thought of first for their ethereal red wines that often with age rival the best top growth Bordeaux wines, it’s their elegant, tounge teasing and tasty sparkling 2018 Rose Frizant that is so enjoyable right now.

My first Rose Frizant was back in the 90s that came in a sampler case from noted importer Kermit Lynch. I remember buying three of those sampler cases and holding onto the 1990 Gassac red for many years, but I did the same and drank those three bottles of Rose Frizant over a decade, with no real decline. The 2018 has that same potenial, if you dare wait. But based on what I tasted, you really won’t. 

While best in its first two years after bottling, much like the Bruendlmayer Brut Rose from Austria, the Gassac Rose is not some gassy pink wine that you just throw back. It’s a serious, fine wine, with class, style, elegance and grace.  It’s also a precoscious wine, one that as you take you first sip, you want more, and more, and more.

And like a true Rose from the south of France, the wine is not simply made from red grapes. There’s white varietals in the blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Mourvèdre, Pinot noir, Sauvignon, Petit Manseng et Muscat. It’s the Cabernet that drives the fruit, but the Pinot Noir, Mourvdre and the three white grapes are what give it the style and grace, on par with the best pink colored Champagne around.

That’s why the 2018 Mas de Daumas Gassac Rose Frizant is today’s WineSiders Wine of The Day!!!

 

2013 Clos de Trias Ventoux Rouge

I’ve had the good fortune to taste many of the wines from Clos de Trias and their ex-pat winemaker Even Bakke. While it would be easy to extoll the virtues of his tremendous and power packed 2007 Vieilles Vignes or the 2010 Pied Porcher, the nod for general drinking and everyday, ready now enjoyment, goes to his 2013 Clos de Trias Ventoux Rouge.

Much like Chene Bleu, and a few other wineries who dare to fly in the face of conventional wisdom that you have to release red wines within two years or so of harvest (look at Chateauneuf du Pape) where the 2017’s are hitting store shelves now, Bakke believes that you release wines when they are ready. That means his 2014 Ventous Rouge is just shipping, while the 2013, a really ready now wine, is more widely available.

The 2013 picks up where the 2012 left off. It’s as voluptuously seducing as its prior siblings, curvaciously built in body, sexily robed in color and style, and ready for you right now.

The Grenache, which dominates the red wine is the most obvious, but its what else that is in the blend, Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan that makes this such a strong rival to top Cotes du Rhones releases from Beaucastel, Clape, la Janesse and others who dress up wines from the areas just outside of the line of demarcation surrounding Chateauneuf du Pape or from the hills up north.

In many ways Bakke’s market entry effort provides strong indication for how the rest of the wines of Clos de Trias from that vintage will fare. 

It’s another landmark effort for the rising region of the Ventoux, and a wine that goes very well with just about all things on the plate. Blackberry, blueberry, black raspberry, some red plums, a bit of Provencale herbs, and some lingering star anise make this as engaging as it is one to just savor. The wine has everything and more, and can rival many wines at far higher price points.

That’s why the 2013 Clos de Trias Ventoux Rouge is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day.

2018 Aupilhac Les Cocalieres Blanc

It could be easy to make the 1999 Domaine d’Aupilhac Le Clos as the wine of the day. Or the 2010 Aupilhac Le Carignan or even the 2018 Cuvee Aupilhac Blanc could be today’s WineSiders’ Wine of the Day.  But while all of those are standouts, the wine that’s the most interesting and ready to drink, or lay down, is the 2018 Aupilhac Les Cocalieres. 

The wine is made from four grapes, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne and Rolle and it is a bell ringing wonder. Totally fresh, lively, full of ripe fruit, a crystaline body a very crisp body. Peaches, pears, orange peel, lemon, lime and some canteloupe flavors are very evident.  But what makes the wine so terrific is the ease in which the wine can be tasted and enjoyed.

That’s why the 2018 Domaine d’Aupilhac Les Cocalieres Blanc is today’s Winesiders’ Wine of The Day. 

2018 Le Fruit Defendu Rose (Domaine Magellan)

There’s “Pink Wine,” and there is Rose.

I tend to go more for the really well made Rose wines that have character, charm, and sophistication. Where the winemaker puts love and care into what goes into the bottle, and then eventually, what flows gracefully into your glass.

Not all Rose wines though are created equal, as a lot of what we find on the shelves has moved away from serious winemaking and into simply profit taking.

Make no mistake. Well crafted, artfully made Rose is like a welcome home. It’s charming without being high handed. It’s graceful without being a ballerina. It’s tasty, without being overdone.

In essence, a great Rose is like a charming bistro, not a roadside Tabac, nor a three-star Michelin restaurant. The best Rose wines give you not only what you want. But what you need.

That’s the 2018 Domaine Magellan Le Fruit Defendu.

Made from 100 percent Cinsault, from vines taken from Chateauneuf du Pape, the very pale pink colored Rose could be a dead ringer if all that mattered was color, for one from the hills of the Cotes de Provence. But it’s not.

It’s made in the Languedocian town of Magalas, by an ex-pat of sorts, Bruno Lafon, who left Burgundy, found a great property and has been turning out hand-crafted wines for more than a decade.

The newly bottled, and just released, 2018 Le Fruit Defendu is on point as Rose wines go just as it always has been. Everyone who has ever had a bottle with me from prior vintages has usually gotten to the “wow” stage from first glass. The 2018 will take them there from the first sip.

It’s stunning. Great aromatics. Lovely flavors of raspberry and strawberry, some soft spice. It’s got a hint of garrigue, and a long, lingering refreshing finish.

That’s why the 2018 Domaine Magellan Le Fruit Defendu is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day!!!what

 

2017 Mas Champart Pay D’Oc

The small winery, Mas Champart, was one of the first wineries to put the hillside town of Saint Chinian on the map far and wide. The region, which is both full of fertile flatlands and rolling hills is just southwest of Bezier on the way towards the regions of Minervois, Corbieres and Fitou.

Producers like Rimbert, Fonsalade and Canet-Vallet, as well as Champart, produce lovingly made, long living wines.

While most of the wine coming from the town is AOC approved grape focused, for years Mas Champart has made a small batch of an exquisite and very interesting Pays d’Oc red from a combination of Cabernet Franc, Carignan and Syrah. But in 2017 the story goes, they decided to make the wine with mostly the Cabernet Franc grape while still keeping a bit of the old vine Carignan in the final blend.

The 2017 Mas Champart Pays D’Oc is a peppery, silky, red cherry and blackberry scented and flavored red. It drinks like a Loire red that has met the Rhone Valley. 

Enjoyable now, or in ten years time, this is a stellar example of what the wines of Mas Champart can be like. 

And that’s why, the 2017 Mas Champart Pays D’Oc is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day!!!

2015 Clot de L’Oum Le Clot

There are some wineries that are in the category of “cult” favorites and hidden gems. And while many of those wines carry ridiculously high prices, others are fairly priced, drink better, and are known by wine insiders to be magic in the glass.

That’s the wines from the small production, all organic Roussillion winery Clot de L’Oum, which is nestled about 30 minutes north of Perpignan, just between the villages of Belesta and Mortner.  Like so many wineries in their part of Occitaine, Clot de L’Oum hand crafts exquisite wines, that are of a super premium quality, have trememdous aging capability and drink well beyond their price points.

The 2015 Clot de L’Oum Le Clot is one of those examples as it brings those qualities to the forefront. Made from 100 percent Syrah that has been picked from dry farmed small parcels, the Le Clot is all blueberries and black pepper from start to finish. It’s a rich wine that screams for grilled beef, lamb or duck, but is silky enough to be enjoyed with some sharp cheddar or creamy blue cheese.

A wine like the 2015 Clot de L’Oum Le Clot is a delight in the glass, and that’s why it’s today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day!!!

2017 Mas Baux Autant en Emporte Le Blanc

Part of the joy of being in wine regions for any type of extended period is the fun of meeting new producers. Yesterday I met up with Serge and Marie Pierre of Mas Baux, visiting their gorgeous terrace topping vineyard outside the town Canet Roussillion, just south of Perpignan, on the road to Collioure.

While it would be easy to pick from many of their delighful and fruit rich reds and crisp rose, the nod has to go to their 2017 Mas Baux Autant en Emporte Le Blanc.

I’ve always been a fan of Grenache Gris in a wine, starting with the L’Argile from Domaine de La Rectorie from their vineyards outside of Collioure, and then a few others along the way. But it was the skillful, artful execution of vinification of the grape, combined with perfectly ripened Grenache Blanc makes this wine such a winner.

Well balanced, and a bit smokey, there’s a rich lime, kiwi, white peach and green apple taste to the wine. The finish is dazzling and downright stunning. 

Sadly none of the Mas Baux wines make it to the USA, yet, and only 1800 bottles were made. So if you find yourself seeing a bottle of the of it, buy it without hesitation. 

That’s why, the 2017 Mas Baux Autant en Emporte Le Blanc is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day!!!