La Font du Loup (the fountain of the wolf) is both a famous lieu-dit situated in the heart of Châteauneuf-du-Pape within the commune of Courthézon, and the name of the natural spring in the center of the estate. Legend has it that wolves from nearby Mont Ventoux would stop to drink at the spring as they made their way to the Provençal plains. The Château was acquired by the Melia family in 1942. Today, Anne-Charlotte Melia, the granddaughter of the founder, and her husband, Laurent, oversee the estate and the winemaking.
We were pleased to welcome Anne-Charlotte to Forest Grill in Birmingham last week for a tasting of her latest release of wines from Château de La Font du Loup. A small group sampled the wine and then sat down to more wine with charcuterie plates, ‘Farm Eggs’ made with Nameko mushrooms and Madeira sabayon, and frog legs with fava beans, garlic and parsley. These were just the appetizers. Michael Broadbent said it well, “Drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life’s most civilized pleasures.” Is there any debate?
Since she was a small child, Anne-Charlotte would help her father in the cellar at Château de La Font du Loup. “I was born under a foudre,” she told us. “Wine is a part of my family culture. And I also like that anywhere in the world one can find wine lovers to share a bottle and conversation.”
Her enthusiasm shows in the wine. But Anne-Charlotte gives the most credit to location. “Our vineyards are at the top of a hill, facing north,” she explains. “This and the sandy soil (similar to close by and legendary Château Rayas) give our wines freshness, elegance, and delicacy. For a small part, it’s our way of doing the wines, never over-extracted, vinification at cool temperature, and no new oak.”
There is also an emphasis on environmental stewardship at the vineyard. The soils are fertilized with 100% organic composted sheep manure and grape pomace. When possible, vegetation is left between vines to improve soil structure and resist erosion. “Supervised control” methods are used to keep disease and pests at an acceptable level, with importance given to natural enemies over chemical alternatives.
Please visit the shop this Saturday to sample the wines of Château de La Font du Loup and enjoy limited special pricing.
2012 Château de La Font du Loup Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc
Price: $43 per bottle or Special 6-Pack Discount $249 SOLD OUT
40% Grenache Blanc, 30% Roussanne, 20% Clairette, and 10% Bourboulenc vinified separately and blended just before bottling. Clairette and Bourboulenc are aged in stainless while the Grenache Blanc and Roussanne spend time in once-used barrique seasoned by a single vintage at Château d’Yquem. Fresh fruit aromas, a creamy texture, and well-integrated acidity make this wine an ideal match for any seafood or white meat based dish. ~300 cases produced annually.
2011 Château de La Font du Loup Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Price: $35 per bottle or Special 6-Pack Discount $199 SOLD OUT
65% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, and 5% Cinsault vinified separately. The Syrah and Mourvedre are raised in twice-used barrique (once at Château d’Yquem and once for the La Font du Loup Blanc). The wine is then aged 12 months in foudres and another six months in concrete. It is both elegant and traditional with an abundance of dark fruits, a medium-bodied texture, and lengthy finish. Here’s your excuse to eat more lamb. ~2,000 cases produced annually.
2011 Château de La Font du Loup Châteauneuf-du-Pape “Le Puy Rolland”
Price: $42 per bottle or Special 6-Pack Discount $239 SOLD OUT
A cuvée of 100% old-vine Grenache ripened slowly on a 10 acre, north-facing plot. Burgundian in style, it offers subtlety and finesse with lovely aromas of flowers, rich earth and sweet, red fruits. ~1,200 cases produced annually.