A wonderful biodynamic wine from low yielding, very old Grenache vines and Syrah. Fermented and aged in very large oak cask. Natural yeasts and very low sulphur.
Deep black cherry in colour. A powerful nose of raspberries and red cherries with notes of thyme and rosemary. Medium to full-bodied on the palate with supple tannins. Lovely, complex, pure fruit flavours and herbs persist right through to a long finish. Delicious. Drink now and up to 10 years from the vintage date.
Grape varieties:60% Grenache (80 to 100 year old vines), 40% Syrah.
Southern Rhône wines are almost always blended around Grenache to bring balance, complexity and richness of aroma to the wines. Thirteen varietals are permitted. The main varieties are:
Grenache – Medium ruby colour and high alcohol. Delightfully fruity (red fruits) in youth, spice: prune notes with age. Medium dry tannins that soften with age.
Syrah – Deep colour with purple shades. Very tight but velvety tannins giving good ageing potential. Violet and/ or black fruit aromas. With age the aromas evolves towards wild aromas of leather, truffle, and towards liquorice
Mourvèdre – Dark brick red, high tannin brings additional ageing quality to the blend. Sometimes animal notes in its youth become fruity (dark berries, leather, undergrowth, pine, liquorice) and spicy with age.
Cinsault – High proportion in Rosé. Elegant, fruity aromas, light colour and tannin (in reds).
Grenache Blanc – Low acidity giving smoothness and length on the palate with floral aromas and notes of apple and pear.
Clairette – Brings acidity and freshness to the blend. Floral, complex aromas of rose and acacia with notes of white peach and exotic fruit.
Roussanne – Brings finesse and delicacy and a great deal of elegance. Good acidity in the northern Rhône enabling the wine to age well. Complex aromas of honeysuckle with touches of apricot, hawthorn or narcissus.
Bourboulenc – Brings good acidity to the blend. Floral aromas.
Marsanne – Medium acidity, with high aromatic potential in young wines. Complex and subtle floral aromas of acacia, dried fruit and nuts (almond, hazelnut, walnut).
Viognier – Medium colour with low acidity and very fruity (pear) in the Southern Rhône. In the Northern Rhône, it brings suppleness and smoothness. Great aromatic potential – acacia, honeysuckle, violet, almond blossom, linden, and with age, musk, honey and dried apricot.
Terroir: Old vines with deep roots bring great complexity. Arid stony soils for the Grenache and clay-limestone for the Syrah.
The vast majority of wines in the Southern Rhône are aged in neutral tanks such as concrete and stainless steel in order to preserve the delightful fruity characteristics of Grenache. Where oak is used, it is often only used for a proportion of the blend. The majority of wines in the Northern Rhône however, are aged in oak.
The amount of oak flavour in the wine depends on:
The following classifications are used for wines listed on this website:
No Oak – The wine is aged in neutral vats or large, old oak barrels that impart no oak flavours. These wines will be fruit-forward and bright in their early years.
Light Oak – Oak flavours are present but do not dominate the wine when young. The wine may only be partly aged in smaller oak barrels and/or the barrels may have been used for one to three prior wines.
Prominent Oak – Oak flavour is a noticeable feature of the wine, particularly when young. Oak also imparts oak tannins into the wine which can increase the ageing potential of the wine, thus allowing the wine to develop complex aromas over many years.
Drinking time: 3 to 10 years
The majority of everyday wines are produced to be drunk within a year, or two of their vintage date.
Fine wines that demonstrate a balanced acidity and good tannin structure have the ability to be aged over many years. Oak flavours and red wine tannins soften with age, which allow more complex aromas to develop.
Deciding when to drink a fine wine is very much a matter of personal taste. You should drink the wine earlier in its life if you prefer its fruity (“primary”) aromas, accepting that tannins and any oak flavours will be more prominent when the wine is young.
Reviews: VM 94 pts. See below.
The ratings of leading reviewers are listed here with their written comments detailed at the bottom of the page.
Remember that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Each wine reviewer has personal tastes and, as hard as they try, preferences can be reflected in the numerical score a reviewer gives to a wine. This is why is important to read their comments rather than judge a wine by its numerical score.
JR = Jancis Robinson. Score out of 20 points.
RP = Robert Parker, Wine Advocate. Score out of 100 points.
JD = Jeb Dunnuck. Score out of 100 points.
WS = Wine Spectator. Score out of 100 points.
W&S = Wine and Sprits. Score out of 100 points.
WE = Wine Enthusiast. Score out of 100 points.
VM = Vinous Media. Score out of 100 points.
JS= James Suckling. Score out of 100 points.
Shipping costs are calculated per box of 6 bottles. Each box can contain a mixed selection of wines.
The Rochette family has been cultivating vines for five generations. The current owner, Vincent Rochette was the first to ferment their grapes when he built a cellar in 1998. His father had embraced organic methods, and Vincent was always convinced that wines should be grown as naturally as possible. He believes that healthy, vibrant vines that are cultivated without chemicals will, over time, strengthen their own defences against illness and produce grapes that are less prone to problems in the cellar, thus requiring less intervention in the wine making process.
In this vein, Vincent has always endeavoured to pursue the most natural wine-growing methods possible. Right from the start, Vincent embraced the extra dimension that biodynamic practices could bring and the domaine was finally certified Biodynamic in 2009. Organic and Biodynamic conversion for certification is relatively short at three and five years respectively. I am of the firm view that it takes much longer for these natural approaches in the vineyards to feed through into the quality of the wines.
The reds are either fermented and aged in concrete, or very large upright foudres. There is no oak flavour influence on the red wines. Vincent adds very little sulphites to his wines and now grows two wines with no sulphites added – “Nature” and “Les Sables”.