Saturday we are roaming the Rhône whose villages offer up complex variations on a theme. The wines range from excellent quaffers for everyday drinking to complexly layered wines for better occasions. Come roam the Rhône with us.
2015 Domaine Montmartel, Côtes du Rhône Blanc $11
Viognier, Roussane, Clairette
Domaine Montmartel has vineyards located in the villages of Visan, Valréas, Tulette and Saint Maurice. The owner, Damien Marres, over the last few years has been converting his entire estate to organic farming. This fresh CDR Blanc has a deliciously aromatic nose with notes of apricot, white peach, violets and exotic fruits. It is generous on the palate, and ends on a delicious and fresh finish
2014 Marrenon, Doria Luberon Blanc $15
60% Vermentino, 30% Grenache Blanc, 10% Roussane
The Doria comes from Marrenon’s estate in Luberon at the far south of the Rhône. Its nose is intense and complex with ripe orchard fruits and an understated but elegant and fresh floral bouquet. It develops honey, lemon and roasted nuts flavors onto its good finish.
2013 Domaine Notre Dame de Pallières, Rasteau $15
75% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 10% Cinsault
Notre Dame des Pallières is a very old family estate run by brothers Jean-Pierre and Claude Roux. The old vines run deep in the chalky-clayey subsoil and are subject to the Trignon valley microclimate. The grapes are harvested by hand and crafted following traditional winemaking methods, including complete de-stemming. They plant grass between every second row to reduce yields, use organic fertilizer and avoid chemical treatments. They see organic farming as “inevitable” for themselves and their clients, although they still use systemic treatments in difficult years. Their Rasteau has an intense and heady nose of blackberry, embellished with white pepper, cocoa and toast. Its palate offers ripe fruit and spicy, enduring tannins.
2013 The Domaine de Fayolle, Crozes Hemitage $20
The Domaine de Fayolle is a 4th generation family winery in the northern Rhône. The vineyard is planted to old vines, with an average age of around forty years in the commune of Crozes-Hermitage mainly on the better hill slopes rather than the flatter land at the opposite side of the appellation. They are organically farmed. The wine has nutty, black raisin, prune aromas. The fruit swells on the palate to a clear finish with chalky tannin.
2012 Domaine Pignan Chateauneuf du Pape $37
64% Grenache, 12% Syrah, 13% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault and 6% other varieties
Pignan is a 5th generation family estate with vines that are 60-years-old on average with some as old as 100 years. The 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape has pretty strawberry, crushed flower, licorice and rose-petal aromas and flavors, medium-bodied with richness and depth, and a forward, delicious and silky character.
Madrona Wine Merchants offers free wine tastings featuring 4-5 selections on a theme every Saturday from 2 until the bottles run out and on Sunday we offer a mini-tasting of two wines all day from 11-5.