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Value from Southern Rhône’s Vacqueyras

2011 Domaine des Amouriers Price: $26/bottle
2010 Domaine de l’Espigouette Price: $24/bottle

We’re always talking about “value” wines. The reality is, when it comes to wine, there is no definition of value that we can apply as a broad stroke across all regions and types. A value in Burgundy is not quite the same as a value in Languedoc, which is not the same as a value in Champagne. So what makes the two wines we are tasting this Saturday a value?

For one, we acquired them for a reasonable price and are able to pass that on to you. Distributors are sometimes inclined to cut prices to make room for newer vintages. In this case, it works in our favor as these are two wines that are hitting their prime drinking window, full of vigor and any hard edges of youth rounded off.

More importantly, these wines are from Vacqueyras, a stone’s throw across Vaucluse from the famed vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the jagged, lacy peaks of the Dentelles de Montmirail rising up in the east. Vacqueyras are dark, rich, full-flavored wines with the classic herbs and warm spice of the Southern Rhône at a fraction of the cost compared to their more prominent cousin.

Domaine des Amouriers

Rising star Igor Chudzikiewicz is the fifth generation of winemakers at this small, organic family estate of a little over 60 acres in Southern Rhône (16 acres in Vacqueyras). The cellars are housed in a former silkworm farm. “Amouriers” is Provençal for the mulberry bushes that were used for silkworm breeding. The blend of the 2011 vintage is 54% Grenache, 38% Syrah, 6% Cinsault, 2% Mourvèdre.

Domaine de l’Espigouette

Worked by Bernard Latour and his two sons Julien and Emilien, the domaine is certified organic but little has changed in the vineyards since the time Bernard’s father and grandfather worked the vines. A blend of 80% Grenache, 15% Syrah and 5% Mourvèdre, the 2010 Vacqueyras comes from a seven acre single vineyard of vines with an average age of 40 years.

Two small producers, two blends, two vintages — same small hunk of earth in Southern Rhône. Take home a few bottles of each for a revealing glimpse into Vacqueyras.

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Posted on 2015.04.01 in France, Saturday Sips, Southern Rhone

 

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