Wine & Travel

Snooth User: vin0vin0

Merci - Provence 2014

Posted by vin0vin0, Jun 25, 2014.

Sorry, haven't been on here for a couple days so I thought it was time to catch up.
Woke up Saturday morning and found ourselves in Marseilles where we're starting our next great wine adventure.
First day was spent trying to get rid of the jet lag cobwebs so we took it easy, checked out Aix-en-Provence and then headed to the villa in St. Remy.
Day 2 was a walking tour of St.Remy and then out to the Pont du Gard, fantastic Roman aquaduct almost entirely still intact. Dinner was at a Mom and Pop restaurant - Alonso's Table.  Pop was in the kitchen and Mom served. Some local Provence wine accompanied a five course meal.  Enjoyed an excellent bottle of viognier that had been produced by their son.
Monday officially started the wine intensive part of this trip focusing on Chateau Neuf du Pape. Our first stop at Chateau de Beaucastel. First class facility, felt like Chateau Montelena. We were taken on a full tour of the winery, grounds, part of their 100 hectare vineyard and then tasting in the barrel room.  We tried one white and three reds. The white was sublime, kind of rich with almond and honeysuckle. The reds were equally outstanding, an '06, '11 Chateau Neuf du Pape and an '11 Cotes du Rhone (whose grapes are literally across the street from the Cru vines but just outside the Chateau Neuf du Pape appelation so they can't carry that designation on the bottle).
Next stop was Domaine de la Janasse which was a bit more laid back than Beaucastel. Again, a tour of the winery and barrel rooms ending with quite a few (13+) wines to taste. Two whites, two roses and nine reds. Again the whites were rich yet lively with round stone fruit flavors mainly made of grenache blanc, clairette and roussanne. Rose mostly consisted of grenache and cinsault and were light and crisp, bright red cherry and strawberry with mouth watering acidity. The reds here were also really good. Loads of dark fruit, plum, some earthiness, medium fine grained tannins and layers of flavors rounded out by some nice acid. Most of the reds were GSMs but there  were also a couple really nice single varietal Grenaches.  Surprise of the day was when our winery ost retrieved a coravin and pulled some small samples from a '94 Chateau Neuf. The fruit was still very fresh and the acidity vibrant but the edges had rounded off and there seemed to be a bit more depth of flavor.
Last stop was at Chateau La Nerthe. After going thru those dozen+ tastings at Janasse, La Nerthe is a bit fuzzy. We did purchase one white, one '11 and two '04 Chateau Neufs.
Besides the winery visits we've also been consuming quite a bit of Rose and actually had a Rose tasting last night of Miraval (Brad and Angelina), 4 Amours Languedoc, Domaine de la Mordoree (Tavel) and a '10 Parisy (Emmanuel Reynaud).  The first three showed really nice notes of bright cherry and subtle strawberry with mouth watering acidity.  The Parisy was a bit past its prime and had lost most of its brightness.
We're just halfway thru our trip and still have a few more wineries/wine related events to experience.
We'll keep y'all informed.


Reply by Richard Foxall, Jun 25, 2014.

VV, that's terrific reporting.  But shouldn't one say Montelena is like Beaucastel? ;-)

So I can read the prices on the necks of the Janasse bottles but can't quite make out the wines.  What sells for 15 Euros?  That would be a crazy good price for CdP, more likely a CdR Villages? Oh, wait, you can expand it, and that is indeed what it is. 

I've got a bottle of the '10 La Nerthe, but it would be really nice to be able to buy older vintages like the '04, which was a vintage I really liked.  Too bad you had hit overload, as I have no experience with the La Nerthe and would be interested to know what to expect. 

I just read the WS cover piece about Perrin, Pitt, Jolie, and I give them credit for making good wine at a reasonable price when they could rely on the name recognition. Seems like they rehabbed the property in a responsible way.  It doesn't make it any easier for others to get into the wine game, but seems like that was a project that needed a huge infusion of money and effort and their drawing power made it a lot less risky.  What with all the business executives (Frank Grace at Molino di Grace comes to mind) buying properties outside their homelands, why should they be different?  (BTW, Grace's Chianti is a solid everyday wine around here and goes for $15--second in Chianti consumption here to Monsanto's CCR at a few bucks more.  If you have pizza at my house, you'll probably get the Grace.)

Reply by JonDerry, Jun 25, 2014.

Sounds like some great visits, kudos to going out there and making it happen.

Curious as to what differences you noticed between the Cotes du Rhone Beaucastel (Coudoulet) and the Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape, if any?

Reply by outthere, Jun 25, 2014.

This guy up here ^^^ is very jealous. Have a great trip vinO!

Reply by dmcker, Jun 26, 2014.

Nice reporting. Keep it up, please.

I have fond memories of kayaking tandem with my daughter under the Pont du Gard about a dozen years ago, riiver-caravaning with my brother, sister and her new husband, my cousins and their significant others. Went down the river quite a ways, stopping for lunch chilling our whites in the deeper, faster and cooler corner of the river bank. One of the cousins  was just back from a jaunt with Médecins Sans Frontières, and was getting married, so the family gathered from three continents.  Chateau Grillet whites, Beaucastel and another C9dP and a Jaboulet Hermitage and a LaLa. Baskets of food from the Uzes farmer's market. Then lazily back to the river.

Stayed in Avignon and Uzès, had cases and cases of good wine, usually at the Uzès marketplace in the evening. Won't list the wines now but can remember almost all of them clearly.

Vino, you're in a great part of the world during a great time of year. Drink lots of good wine for us, eat the lamb daubes and salad Niçoise, local anchovies and cheese, or whatever else works, and share some of it with us virtually when you can!


Reply by vin0vin0, Jun 26, 2014.

JD, the price.  Really, both the coudelet and the Chateau Neuf were extremely similar in taste and structure, I'd have a hard time telling them apart in a blind tasting but then again, that's my unsophisticated palate talking.

Here's a bit more cool stuff:

Beaucastel galets stones. Can't imagine how you could work the vines having to walk on these. They absord and reflect the sun during the day and give off the heat at night moderating the vine temps.

Pont du Gard (for DM):

Enjoyed a wine and cheese pairing party last night. Had three wines and four different goat cheeses (1 day old, 1 week old, 3 week old and Spanish) plus 3 different cow cheeses. The wines were a 2012 Sancerre Domaine Fouassier Les Chasseinges and a red and white 2012 Chateau de Saint-Cosme. Very fun to try each of the wines with each of the cheeses. Definitely having a blast.

Reply by vin0vin0, Jun 27, 2014.

Last day of wine touring.

Thursday had us lunching with Vincent Rochette, owner and winemaker for Domaine Roche-Audran. Really nice guy in his early 40's.  After lunch we went to his winery and sampled through some of his offerings. A fantastic white Cotes du Rhone of grenache blanc, clairette and viognier was rich but with nice minerality and very nice acidity. We then had a refreshing Rose I believe he said was made from syrah and grenache. On to two reds, a genache and a syrah, both of which were fresh, lively with loads of red fruit, plum and prune.
All are extremely good values coming in under 10 euros each. We finished with his dessert wine - late harvest grenache - sweet but cloying. The really interesting thing is that he's on his way to becoming fully biodynamic and we had a lengthy discussion about the earth, phases of the planets, energy and how it all works together, can't argue with his results!
Our other stop was at Le Domaine des Escaravailles. We sampled thru a white table wine, a white and rose Cotes du Rhone, a red Cotes du Rhone Villages (Cairanne) and two cru Rasteau reds. Again, not a bad wine in the bunch and all of great value (the most expensive was 16 euros). Gonna miss these prices when we get back home.
Reply by outthere, Jun 27, 2014.

Nice reporting vinO. I can only imagine. Like buying at plonk pricing at BevMo but actually getting good wine. Nice to know about the Coudelet. I have an '07 I am thinking of slipping into our Syrah flights on the 19th.

Reply by vin0vin0, Jul 9, 2014.

One more note, this trip was an almost all inclusive "package" - accommodations, most meals, transportation, a detailed itinerary with some on your own time and an American guide who has lived in France for the last 22 years. One really nice thing is that this is tailored to small groups, max 5 couples, so you don't feel like you're being herded about. If you're interested check out her web site.  I am not associated with this business but I can say we had one of our best vacations ever!

Reply by EMark, Jul 10, 2014.

It is so great to see unsolicited recommendations.  Thank you for the report V V, and thank you for passing allong the link.

Reply by napagirl68, Jul 11, 2014.

Great report, VV.  and thanks for sharing your tour info.  I've bookmarked her page :-)

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