[ la Bastide St Dominique Cotes-du-Rhone ]
[ Why We Love It: ]
The 2013 vintage presented its share of challenges for growers in France’s southern Rhone – but the end results was very good quality wines. Cold spring temperatures (more than 4 degrees C lower than the seasonal average) led to widespread coulure, or failure of the grape flowers to turn into fruit. This phenomenon was most prevalent amongst Grenache vines, which generally form the basis of the red blends produced in this region. Overall, Grenache vineyards across the southern Rhone produced about 30% less yield than typically expected.
This natural reduction in yields actually worked to enhance the fruit that did grow since lower yields generally improve the quality and concentration of the resulting wines. Another – albeit perhaps unforeseen and unanticipated – benefit of this farming challenge was the somewhat lower proportions of Grenache in the final blends, since varieties like Syrah and Mourvedre were less impacted.
Since full flavour maturity (phenolic ripeness) of Grenache requires later harvest, the resulting sugar levels (and hence alcohol) in these Grenache-dominated reds tends to be quite high. The inclusion of less Grenache in the 2013 blends means that wines have lower alcohol and perhaps a bit less weight and colour than previous vintages, but do showcase beautiful tannins and acidity.
Particularly when in the hands of talented hands-on vignerons, the 2013 vintage in the southern Rhone actually showcases wines more reminiscent of several fine and celebrated consecutive vintages in the late 1990s. And speaking of “hands-on vignerons” – the Bonnet family at Domaine la Bastide St Dominique have been turning heads lately with a line-up of delicious and well-priced Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Cotes-du-Rhone releases.
This blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah comes from a 12 acre parcel of 25 to 50 year old vineyards they own just east of Courthezon. The vineyard is planted on both the north and south facing slopes of the same sandy clay hill. This dual exposure aids in the creation of a balanced and complex Cotes-du-Rhone whose quality far exceeds its humble appellation designation.
[ Recipes & Food Pairings: ]
Bison Burger w/ Cheddar & Red Wine Onions – RECIPE
Pizza w/ Maple Roasted Squash, Sausage & Chard – RECIPE
Hanger Steak & Mushrooms w/ Red Wine Pan Sauce – RECIPE
[ Price: ]
[ Technical Specs: ]
Case Pack: 12 x 750mL
GRAPES: 70% Grenache & 30% Syrah
[ Tasting Notes: ]
Deep brilliant purple colour, with bright raspberry, strawberry and black currant fruit upfront, framed by silky mouth-coating tannins. Elegant and medium to full-bodied, this wine has a richness and concentration which cry out for fattier cuts of meat like beef or lamb. The finish is long and clean with lingering notes of cedar, white pepper and southern French garrigue. Drink now – or over the next 3-4 years.
Spot Offer: 2013 Domaine la Bastide St Dominique Cotes-du-Rhone
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