This Week’s Wine Tasting
Rhone Valley, Burgundy/Beaujolas, Languedoc
Domaine Joseph Drouhin
With its 73 hectares (182.5 acres), the Joseph Drouhin Domaine is one of the largest estates in the region. It owns vineyards in all of Burgundy: Chablis, Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune, and Côte Chalonnaise. It is comprised of a majority of Premier and Grand Crus, planted with the two Burgundian grape varietals, pinot noir and chardonnay.
The Domaine was put together through the years, thanks to judicious purchases and agreements between families. Some vineyards are among the most famous in Burgundy, such as Clos des Mouches, Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche, Musigny, Clos de Vougeot, Corton-Charlemagne, etc.
For some village or regional appellations, Joseph Drouhin complements its supplies by purchasing grapes from other vineyard owners who have been long time partners and share the same quest of excellence.
Joseph Drouhin Macon-Villages 2012
Macon, Burgundy. “Site: a large terroir in the south of Burgundy, close to Pouilly-Fuissé. The size of this region allows considerable freedom in selecting wines with different characteristics. Supply: grapes and must purchased from regular suppliers (long term contracts). Pressing: very slow so as to respect the fruit. Juices from the last pressings are not retained. Aging: stainless steel vats for 6 to 8 months. The colour of the wine is bright and limpid. The nose is floral and fruity. Very straightforward and direct on the palate, as if biting into a grape. Fresh and light, with a very pleasant aftertaste. We are still surprised by their precise and intense aromas. The bouquets are extremely pleasing: these wines are rich and finely balanced. Indeed these wines are so attractive and with such good fruitiness that they can be appreciated young.” Imported by Dreyfus Ashby & Co.
Chateau de Campuget
“Since 1941 our only aim has been to produce great Rhône Valley wines whilst respecting our terroir and our identity. The rounded pebbles of the Rhône, the Southern sun, the Mistral, the emblematic grapes from the Rhône Valley: Syrah, Grenache, Viognier– these are the fundamental elements that define the identity of Campuget.
The Vineyard is situated 15 km South of Nîmes near the village of Manduel, right in the heart of the ‘Appellation d’Origine Protégée’ Costières de Nîmes. Its principal characteristic is its soil formed of ‘gress’, an accumulation of rounded pebbles that have been rolled by many overflows of the Rhône river thousands of years ago. These pebbles permit the vines to grow in the best possible conditions and thanks to this natural soil filter, the vine’s roots can easily draw the necessary water for their growth. The vines also benefit from the Mediterranean sunshine, which bring the grapes to perfect maturity and allows them to be picked at maximum phenolic maturity in early September.
Our philosophy is simple: constant improvement of the quality of our wines and a better knowledge of our terroir and vines; after all, everything begins with the vine.”
Chateau de Campuget Tradition White 2012
Costieres de Nimes, Rhone Valley. A blend of Roussanne (60%), Grenache Blanc (30%), Marsanne (10%). “This is traditional winemaking. After being gently crushed with a pneumatic press, fermentation takes place on fine lees inside stainless-steel tanks. The temperature is controlled at 64°F in order to obtain the best aromatic extraction. After racking and filtering, the wine is bottled at the Château. Its color is a golden-yellow-green. It exhales fine scents of flowers and white-fleshed fruits. Its characteristic is a well-balanced structure, beginning with a round and fruity taste of peach and apricot and ending on a fresh and persistent note of citrus fruits. Its best aromatic expression is immediately reached in the first year and it continues for two-to-three years.” Imported by Dreyfus Ashby & Co.
Chateau de Campuget Tradition Rose 2013
Costieres de Nimes, Rhone Valley. A blend of Syrah (70%) and Grenache Noir (30%). “Campuget Rose’s color is obtained through a short maceration between four and twelve hours, according to the varietal. Fermentation takes place in stainless-steel tanks with the temperature controlled at 18°C in order to extract the maximum aromas. After racking and filtration, the wine is immediately bottled at the Château. Its color is an intense peony pink. Its bouquet is very aromatic, exhaling scents of small red fruits such as raspberries or black currants. In the mouth, there is a perfect balance between vivacity and mellowness. The final taste is very long, leaving a delicate impression of fruitiness.” Imported by Dreyfus Ashby & Co.
“Domaine du Vissoux is a family-run wine estate. The estate is in the Pierres Dorées golden stone area, in southern Beaujolais. Combining tradition and modernity, Martine and Pierre-Marie Chermette are fully committed to bringing you really high quality, authentic terroir wines. White, rosé and red Beaujolais, Brouilly, Fleurie, Moulin à Vent, Crémant de Bourgogne and crème de cassis made using our own blackcurrants.
In the hamlet of “Le Vissoux”, that is the cradle of the family, is our wonderfully sited single stretch southwest facing vineyard. Contrary to most of southern Beaujolais soil which is limestone-clay, the soil at Domaine du Vissoux is granitic. This specificity contributes to giving more structure to the wines made here that include: Beaujolais les Griottes, Cuvée Traditionnelle made using grapes from old vines and part of our white Beaujolais. These wines are matured in our carefully preserved beautiful oak-tun lined vaulted cellar built by Pierre-Marie Chermette’s great grandfather.”
Domaine du Vissoux Pierre-Marie Chermette Beaujolais2012
Beaujolais. “Grape variety: Gamay. 4 hectares in St Vérand well-sited on dark granite soil; even though it is in a limestone-clay area. In Saint Vérand we are on a granitic enclave on a soil similar to that in Beaujolais Villages. Old 35 to 85 year old vines south-west facing. Pruning: universal cordon + goblet Integrated vinegrowing. Manual harvest at full ripeness. Traditional semi-carbonic Beaujolais vinification, 6-day maceration in cement or stainless steel vats, no yeast seeding or chaptalisation, minimum SO2, pneumatic pressing. Maturing: 4 to 6 months in old oak tuns. Color- crimson. Nose- intense ripe small red fruit including crushed strawberry and raspberry, sometimes a little hard liquorice at the end. Palate- purity of fruit, freshness and finesse.” 89 Wine Advocate– “As for Chermette’s more famous red wines, his least expensive of these is the 2012 Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes Cuvee Traditionelle, which has emerged from very low yields because of hail damage in 2012. It is slightly more concentrated, since as much as 50% of the crop had to be eliminated or was destroyed in the hail storm. The result was that, while 2012 is generally considered a horrible vintage for Beaujolais, this wine is an undeniable success. Succulent cherry and raspberry fruit intermixed with hints of roasted herbs and damp earth are present in this juicy, medium-bodied, surprisingly well-made and concentrated Beaujolais. Drink it over the next 1-2 years.” Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.
Maison Louis Latour
“The family-run company of Maison Louis Latour is one of the most highly-respected négociant-éléveurs in Burgundy. Renowned throughout the world for the quality of its red and white wines, the company has built a reputation for tradition and innovation. Regarded as one of the traditional négociant-éléveurs, Maison Louis Latour is the producer of some of the finest Burgundian wines but has also pioneered the production of fine wines from outside of the confines of Burgundy. These wines from the Ardèche and the Côteaux de Verdon are slowly gaining esteem for their unmatchable quality outside of Burgundy.
The Latour family themselves have been viticulturists since the 17th century, slowly building up a unique Domaine of 50 hectares (125 acres). This Domaine has the largest Grand Cru property in the Cote d’Or with a total of 28,63 hectares (71,58 acres) . The vineyards extend from Chambertin in the north to Chevalier-Montrachet in the south and are solely planted with the two noble grape varieties; Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
All of the grapes from the vineyards we own are vinified and aged in the attractive cuverie of Château Corton Grancey in Aloxe-Corton. The winery was the first purpose-built cuverie in France and remains the oldest still-functioning. A unique rail-way system with elevators allows the entire wine-making process to be achieved by the use of gravity. This eliminates the threat of oxidation from unnecessary pumping of the must. Since 1985 Louis Latour has been selling the wines of its own vineyards under the name Domaine Louis Latour.”
Louis Latour Domaine de Valmoissine Pinot Noir 2011
Côteaux du Verdon, Languedoc. “The Domaine de Valmoissine 2011 has a lovely ruby red color with garnet tints. It has an intense nose with aromas of Morello cherries. It is harmonious in the mouth with slightly young tannins which will soon become fine and silky-smooth. It is a wonderfully balanced wine. Domaine de Valmoissine is located on the site of the ancient monastery and university of Valmoissine at 500 meters above sea-level. This guarantees sunshine during the summer months whilst remaining cool at night and limits the possibility of spring frosts. The vineyard’s southern exposure gives the raisins perfect maturity at the same time as the Grands Crus of Corton. The yield is small in order to ensure perfect maturity and concentration of the grapes, the factors that create the best quality wines. This results in an elegant wine with remarkable finesse.” Imported by Louis Latour.
“Chateau Juvenal, elegant Chateau of the Second Empire, is located in the heart of Provence rich in history and favored by nature. Its rooms open their high windows on the park, designed and planted in 1870, listed as one of three remarkable 19th century parks in Vaucluse.
Anne-Marie and Bernard Forestier bought the domain and its castle in 2001. Family Alban (Jean-Claude, Mireille and Sebastien) had maintained the property with their domain so far. The grapes were brought to the winery Balma Venitia, where wine was made and sold as vintage, red, Château Juvenal and two wines, red and rose, Domaine Alban. In 2011, Anne-Marie and Bernard Forestier and Sébastien Alban joined, pooled their lands, built the cellars of Château Juvenal, and made Château Juvenal wines at the castle for the first time, under the leadership of benevolent Philippe Cambie, International renowned oenologist (named best wine consultant of the 2010 year by Rober Parker).
For white and rosé wines, the grapes are cooled (10 ° C) before being pressed directly into the pneumatic press, then transferred to tanks and half-hogshead. It is maintained at the right temperature for the duration of the fermentation. Then the wine is on bred on its lees in thermo-regulated tank and half hogshead for white, tank thermos-regulated tank for the rosé.”
Chateau Juvenal Les Ribes du Vallat 2011
Cotes du Ventoux, Rhone. A blend of mostly Grenache with Syrah and Carignan. ” This wine is named after the parcels which are on the Southern side of the Graveyron slopes (or “Ribes” in provencal) that lie along the pit (or “Vallat” in provencal) which crosses the domain. In the spring, the area is crowded with painters and their easel hence the label.” 88 Wine Advocate– “A new discovery by Eric Solomon from the highly regarded, value treasure trove of Cotes du Ventoux, Chateau Juvenal is one of Philippe Cambie’s clients. This blend of 50% Grenache, 25% Carignan and 25% Syrah aged nine months in tank on its lees exhibits lots of black olive, tapenade, black cherry, cassis and roasted Provencal herb notes. Medium to full-bodied, elegant, fleshy and pure, it can be enjoyed over the next 2-3 years.” Imported by European Cellars/Eric Soloman.