In pursuit o
...in two emblematic terroirs
'The final blend of the 2018 Chateauneuf du Pape La Crau will include 60% to 65% Grenache, 15% each Mourvèdre and Syrah, with the remainder Cinsault. Boasting complex scents of roses, black tea, raspberries and cherries on the nose, it follows that up with a full-bodied palate that's silky and airy in texture yet flavorful and tremendously long on the finish. It fits perfectly with the Brunier's stated goal of pursuing elegance. 94-96 points.' - Joe Czerwinski, robertparker.com, Aug 2019
It is one of the most iconic terroirs of the Rhone Valley. The high plateau of La Crau is covered by polished pudding stones rolled down by Swiss glaciers, millenia ago. It's a hard life being a vine here, squeezed in between rocks, having to deal with the full vagaries of hail, scorching sunshine and the mistral. Other vignerons had ignored the site as too difficult to farm, but in the late 19th century, visionary Hippolyte Brunier glimpsed the potential here, and planted vines. The site is high enough for there once to have been a telegraph station here; and so was named one of the greatest Chateauneufs of all, Le Vieux Telegraphe.
In modern times, the wine and the estate are brilliantly managed by two of Hippolyte's descendants, the brothers Daniel and Frederic Brunier. When I tasted with Daniel last week, his enthusiasm over the newly released 2018 vintage was palpable. True, 2018 is a story of very low yields; they are down 30% on what they consider a usual harvest. But what there is, is intensely good. Aromas of red fruit, flower, kirsch and wood spice fill the perfumed bouquet; in the mouth, the wine is intense but elegant, with a long, saline finish. As Daniel has it, it is a wine 'of red fruit and salty pebbles'.
La Crau is not the only great Southern Rhone terroir the brothers farm. The have translated their mastery of Grenache from Chateauneuf to the village of Gigondas, in the shadow of the imposing Dentelles de Montmirail, where they work old vineyards at their Les Pallieres estate. Terrasse du Diable comes from the highest vineyard above the village, with a little Mourvedre among the Grenache, and brings dark chocolate and licquorice to its powerful black fruit. Les Racines comes from a selection of the oldest vineyards around the estate, with vines averaging 75 years of age, and offers ripe, sweet red fruit and garrigue herb. /NT
Offered subject to remaining unsold; for shipment Autumn/Winter 2020