Beyond the big names, the wine world of France is chocked full of small family estates that fly under the radar in near oblivion. This sets up nicely for savvy importers who seek them out and make their reputation on the quality and value of their wines. This Saturday we’ll be pouring a few of these discovered gems from importers Kermit Lynch and Fran Kysela as well as a couple that just found us.
2011 Domaine Joseph Mellot, Sincerite Sauvignon Blanc $10
This family run estate in the Loire produces great Sancere, Pouilliy Fumé, and Reuilly. Their unassuming Sincerite is a fantastic bargain. The wine is ripe with attractive floral notes, a light grassy aroma, a good body and a lively freshness.
2012 Domaine de la Mordoree La Remise Rose $15
50% Marselan, 50% Merlot
Domaine de la Mordoree is a terrific estate winery imported by Fran Kysela. Located in the town of Tavel, in the Southern Rhone, the grapes are farmed by lute raisonnée (intervention in the vineyard only when necessary).Their reds are big and bold, but this rosé is much more elegant with lilting rose petal and strawberry aromas, followed by a rich and balanced palate and a lingering finish.
2011 Kermit Lynch, Vin De Pays, Vacluse $11
55% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Merlot, 10% Marselan
With this VDP, Kermit steps out of his importer role and takes on blending his own cuvee. The wine is made by Domaine de Durban, harvested by hand and ferment by carbonic maceration, then aged for 8 months before being bottled unfiltered. In the blending Kermit goes wild breaking all the rules, but comes up with a tasty wine.
2010 Domaine Pasquiers, Sablet $15
65% Grenache, 25% Syrah,10% Mourvèdre
Sablet is one of the more obscure appellations of the Rhone. There Jean-Claude and Philippe Lambert took over their father’s then 65 year old estate in 1999. The wine has lots of spicy, black pepper and blackcurrant flavors with a solid structure, smooth integrated tannins and a bit of licorice on the finish.
2011 Domaine Grande Veneur, Les Champauvin, Cotes du Rhone $22
70 % Grenache, 20 % Syrah, 10 % Mourvèdre
Another terrific property imported by Fran Kysela, Grande Veneur was founded by Mathieu Jaume in 1826. It is now run by Alain Jaume and turns out some great Châteauneuf du Pape. Les Champauvins is a single vineyard Rhone wine from their non-Neuf holdings. The wine is rich in blackcurrant and red fruit, minerals, along with full tannins that lend a fine and firm finish.