Chateau de Grignan

This chateau is a large imposing facility high on a hill. Dozens of wines tasted. A great representation of Rhone.

Now on to Chateau de Suze-la-Rousse, the home of the Wine University in the area. The wines of Grignan, Vinsobres and Cotes du Rhone, Cotes du Rhone Villages, are marvellous here. For example, 2006 Domaine Coste Chabrier Vinsobres (92 pts). We also enjoy single varietals by racing celebrity Vermeersch. The Aligante is soft, the Carignan is earthy, the Grenache shows effects of micro-oxidation, and the Syrah is definitely the most tannic. Next, we’re off to Abbaye de Bouchet where we meet another 30 exhibitors, including the proprietor of tiny Domaine de l’Amauve. Small batch wines of excellent quality.

Chateauneuf-du-Pape

To finish the day in style, we attend a small gathering of wine importers at the invitation of Domaine Tour Saint-Michel in Chateauneuf du Pape for an evening tasting and dinner. The winemaker is Mireille Fabre, one of the great women winemakers. The family greets us warmly and shows us the operation. They have authentic hors d’ouvres out and a Chateauneuf variation of Beef Bourguignon that Mireille and her mother have been simmering for hours.

The evening starts with a sampling of Deux Soers 09, then 08; both great. 50% Grenache Blanc, 50% Clairette, half from tank, half from oak barrels. Sophisticated whites!

Now to reds. Cuveé des Deux Soers 2010. 90% Grenache, 10% Syrah. Very nice. Next, the Cuveé du Lion 2010. Even better. 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre. This is a tank sample now, it will go in oak soon. Next, Cuveé du Lion 2009. Same blend of varietals. This one has seen oak, some newbarrels, some older. It displays medium red with a nose of earthy berries, followed by flavours of currants and red berries, with spice box and muted minerality. Long finish. Sensational.

Winemaker Mireille Fabre hosts and pours

We finish our visit to Tour St. Michel with a look at the family’s classic car collection, each of the ten vehicles in its own garage. This has been one of the most charming winery visits I’ve ever encountered.

– This post also appears at MobyPicture.com

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