Category Archives: Wine Reviews

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 9, 2020

2018 Tablas Creek Vineyard, Roussane, Adelaida District, Paso Robles.
A touch livelier than the prior few vintages and with a welcome zippy freshness of detail the 2018 Roussanne still has its impressive density on the palate with rich stone fruit and a phenolic intensity that let you know this is a serious wine, and of course tells it is Roussanne with the traces of waxy/oily notes. Tablas has now done close to twenty years of single varietal Roussanne and this Rhone grape has played a big role in their rise as a winery being a key varietal in their Esprit de Tablas Blanc, Chateauneuf du Pape blend, as well as being the major white grape of their cousin, Chateau de Beaucastel’s Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes by the Perrin Family, who are partners in Tablas Creek with the Haas family. This vintage with cooler personality, starting nicely crisp, gets more powerful with air in the glass unfolding in almost red wine like feel with layers of apricot, mixed citrus which comes through with a bright lemon tone and tart peach as well as clove spice, butterscotch, hazelnut and bitter almond oil along with subtle white flowers, tangy herb and lingering honeycomb. Once fully open the palate expands out to lavish full bodied white that makes you want something decedent on the menu, I can see Lobster tail and or swordfish steaks, and the oak influence adds a nice set toasty note that frames this Roussanne very well.

Tablas Creek makes their Roussanne using a combination of wood vessels and was blended from particular separate lots, 100% Roussanne and 100% estate grown hand harvested grapes, with all the fruit coming into the winery with excellent flavor development, vibrant acidity and very natural moderate alcohol, in 2018 this Roussanne is labeled at 12.4%, which helps explain the fine balance here. The winemakers, according to Tablas Creek’s notes, selected to use 55% from lager foudre, 35% from neutral oak puncheons, and 10% in small new French Burgundy type barriques, which adds the caramel/vanilla accent. White Rhone grapes are seeing a new rise in popularity with rare varieties like Grenache Blanc, Vermentino (Rolle), Picpoul and Clairette gaining new vineyard area each year, while classics like Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne showing renewed interest, much of that attention was stoked by the efforts here at Tablas Creek, who brought over quality clones and cuttings from France. This 2018 Roussanne is very expressive stuff, with its delicate mineral and crushed chalk details that come through with time hidden behind the weighty fruit and its one the best vintages I’ve tried, I am confident that it will age well too, I can see it lasting a decade, you can see in this vintage see a similar profile to well made Saint-Joseph(s) and or Guigal’s Hermitage Blanc. For those searching out a standard barer California Roussanne, should check out Stolpman’s, Alban’s and this Tablas Creek version, to name a few very impactful examples.
($40 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 8, 2020

2019 Saint Cosme, Cotes du Rhone, Rhone Valley, France.
The deep purple/blue/garnet 100% Syrah Cotes du Rhone from Saint Cosme is without question one of the world’s greatest values and this 2019 vintage is thrillingly delicious with wonderful purity and layers of boysenberry, black cherry, plum and blueberry coulis along with some spicy accents, a hint of earth, graphite and salty melted black licorice. Louis Barruol’s Chateau de Saint Cosme is one of the Rhone’s finest producers, most famous for the estate’s classic Gigondas bottlings from his ancient and historic cellars at the site of a Gallo-Roman villa from the 1400s. Barruol’s ancestors acquired it in 1570, and at the end of the sixteenth century built the family home and began the tradition of quality winegrowing in the region that continues today, the Barruol’s have been vignerons for 14 generations. Saint Cosme is in the Dentelles de Montmirail range with a unique combination of soils and climate that makes it very special for wines. Saint Cosme’s vineyards are at a crossing of two geological faults, which is very rare, according to the winery, and this gives them an extraordinary diversity of soils, along with a microclimate is cool and late ripening, giving the wines balance and incredible depth.

The latest vintage of Saint Cosme’s Côtes du Rhône Rouge was crafted using Syrah grapes that were partially de-stemmed with some whole cluster from vines set on sandy limestone, red clay and pebbles on Villafranchian terraces and it was fermented and aged solely in tank. This 2029 is concentrated and impressive in the mouth adding pretty touches of violets and wild sage to its array of opulent dark fruits and lingering creme de cassis, this little Cotes du Rhone is simply outstanding, as goes without saying it’s a steal at the price. Even Barruol is saying the 2019 is one of the best versions he’s made, rivaling his 2010, and I couldn’t agree more, this is a vintage you’ll want to stock up on. Known as a Grenache specialist, Barruol is quite handy with Syrah, he also has made some fantastic Northern Rhone wines from purchased grapes, these include a brilliant collection of Hermitage, Saint-Joseph, Cote-Rotie and Crores-Hermitage bottlings, all which are worth searching out. Most recently, Barruol added the Château de Rouanne in Vinsobres to his lineup and this property is very exciting, with the first efforts here showing amazing potential. There’s so to admire in Saint Cosme’s latest set it’s hard to stay focused, but this edition of their Cotes du Rhone deserves a lot of attention, be sure not to miss it!
($16 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 7, 2020

2019 Bedrock Wine Company, Rosé “Ode to Lulu” California.
Morgan Twain-Peterson’s Bedrock Ode to Lulu, a tribute to the legendary Lucie “Lulu” Tempier Peyraud, the matriarch of the famous Domaine Tempier, who’s wine are famous around the world, especially their Bandol Rosé, which this wine takes inspiration from, made from mainly Mourvedre, that gives serious structure and with a touch of generous Grenache. Bedrock’s dry and tasty pink wine is in 2019 an absolute beauty with a sense of weightlessness and Summery bright detail, it is one of the best versions I’ve tried of this wine so far with pretty delicate rosewater, tart cherry, red peach, ruby grapefruit, a touch of snappy herbs, watermelon and a sensation of strawberry on the lingering finish. This is crisp and fresh showing a lifting cut of mouth-watering acidity as well as mineral notes and a little stony element that adds to the complexity and helps with giving the impression of completeness, this latest Ode to Lulu is full of life and energy, but comes with a graceful I’m not here to be loud confidence that really shows just how impressive this Rosé really is. The pate color confirms its non pretentious personality and I enjoy how the layers unfold and how truly refreshing this vintage is, this is one of the finest examples of California meets Provence Rosés out there.

The 2019 Bedrock Ode to Lulu was crafted of 65% Mataro, aka Mourvedre from old vines, set in sand in Oakley, some over 80 years old and 35% Grenache from even older vines in Mendocino County that are grown on mix of ancient rocky soils. Made with traditional methods and picked with lower sugars, this seductive wine which some a cool fermentation and a short aging period with light lees, plus it was bottled quickly to preserve all the vibrancy. Bedrock has established itself as one of California’s premier wineries in recent years, joining the likes of Ridge Vineyards, Turley Wine Cellars and others, making a fantastic series of wines, especially their Heritage lineup of Zinfandel based reds from historic vineyards that are inter-planted with an incredible combination and array of black grapes. I highly recommend discovering Bedrock’s collection, in particular this lovely Ode to Lulu as well as their iconic offerings from their estate Bedrock Vineyard and their Evangelho Vineyard bottlings. Morgan Twain-Peterson, who is now an MW, a master of wine, is one of the greatest voices in California wine as who has been a winemaker since a child, helping his dad, Joel Peterson of Ravenswood fame make wine, grew up appreciating these gnarly head trained vines. This 2019 Ode to Lulu is a wonder summer sipper and has the substance to be enjoyed with robust cuisine, it was fabulous with Pizza too.
($25 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 6, 2020

2019 Weingut Korrell, Riesling Trocken “Paradies” Estate Monopol, Nahe Germany.
I’ve been getting more and more excited about the 2019 as I get a chance to try them, this year looks set to be legendary in most German regions, especially here in the Nahe, where Donnhoff, Schlossgut Diel, Kruger-Rumpf, Schafer-Frohlich, Gut Hermannsberg and (this) Korrell are looking to have produced some of their greatest wines to date! And this Korrell Paradies dry Riesling lives up to that buzz easily with a stunning performance in the glass, showing impeccable form and crisp elegant details, it drinks every bit as good as a Grand Cru Burgundy and highlights its unique terroir. In recent years, I’ve been blessed with getting some of Korrell’s releases, as they are not easy to find in the States as of yet, and I’ve been highly impressed with the full range of wines that Martin and Britta Korrell have put out, but I must say this bottling, their signature effort is really something exceptional with its gorgeous purity of flavors and distinctive textural quality and this vintage is another step up for this small family estate. The Paradies, is the oldest single site Korrell has and is the flagship wine of winemaker Martin Korrell, it comes from his family’s vines that are farmed with great respect for nature with sustainable and mostly organic methods, it is set on limestone and clay soils, on a hillside patch of ground in the Bad Kreuznach area of the Nahe region.

This 2019 Paradies flows across the medium bodied palate with graceful opulence and mineral tones, this wine, is the heart and soul of Korrell’s lineup, this site sees more sunshine and the limestone allows for some serious concentration, while also retaining exciting acidity. There is always great attention paid to pick dates to finely tune this signature Riesling so that it delivers all of the complexity and nuances that the site develops. Korrell mixes some traditional stainless fermentations with some native yeast and barrel ferments to craft his wines and the Paradies shows a beautiful leesy finesse, as noted in prior reviews of this wine, and the mouth feel and length are quite delectable. This vintage echos my first impressions with white peach/apricot stone fruits leading the way and with a mixture of citrus and melon as well come through along with wet stones, a refreshing saline element, crystalized ginger, spearmint tea, verbena and aromatic herbs. With air, there is a touch of tropical or exotic fruit that flitters in the background and this Paradies opens its arms and stretches out, I can alone imagine how great it will be in 5 to 10 years, it is an outstanding and regal Riesling. I enjoyed it immensely all on its own, but it got even better with a delicate Thai green curry dish, which I thought might not be its best pairing, showing this Korrell can be flexible with cuisine options. I highly recommend exploring this 2019 collection from Korrell, and I am hoping this Paradies gets more widely available, as it is such a beauty.
($45 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 5, 2020

2017 Brick House, Pinot Noir, Select, Ribbon Ridge, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Only made in abundant and ripe vintages the Brick House Select Pinot Noir is a special entry level barrel selection of all estate grown, 100% biodynamic, grapes from this famous winery’s Ribbon Ridge vines set on marine sedimentary soils, it is always an incredible value and this 2017 is extra delicious, wonderfully detailed and lengthy. There’s lots to admire here, this quite lush 2017 Select starts with an array of floral aromatics, dark fruit and racy spices before fully opening up on its medium bodied and succulent palate, revealing a range of black cherry, plum, blueberry and wild strawberry fruits in a caressing and silken wave along with touches of seeped rose petals, tea leaf, cinnamon and a hint of earth and mineral. With air this pure Pinot fruited wine just gets better and more distinctive, hats off to Doug Tunnell and his team at Brick House for this exceptionally drinkable offering. Brick House does an amazing set wines, all sourced from their estate, including this one, plus Tunnell’s Les Dijonnais Pinot Noir, Cuvée du Tonnelier Pinot Noir, two Chardonnays and one of the new world’s best Gamay Noir(s).

Brick House, an Oregon classic, was founded by Doug Tunnell back in 1990 and was a major player in what I call the second wave of greats to get started in the Willamette Valley, with the likes of Beaux Freres’ Mike Etzel, Ken Wright, John Paul of Cameron and Mark Vlossak of St. Innocent to name a few and was one of first to embrace organic and holistic farming, including practicing biodymanics in their vineyards. The wines are produced using traditional Burgundian techniques and this wine saw about 20% whole cluster, with full set of the estate’s Pinot Noir clones, with stem inclusion and was fermented using only indigenous (natural or native) yeast without any manipulation or additives and then the Select Pinot was raised in well seasoned or neutral French barrique for 18 months with alone one racking, that was to tank for bottling, all of which to allow the wine’s true flavors to shine through. The vineyards at Brick House have been certified organic for 25 years and are also certified biodynamic by Demeter, which Tunnell thinks makes all the difference in the quality of his wines, giving them life and energy, and this Select makes a compelling case in support, it is drinking fantastic, enjoy it over the next 3 to 5 years.
($38 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 4, 2020

2019 Ochota Barrels, Grenache “The Green Room” Mclaren Vale, South Australia.
The beautiful Ochota Barrels old vine “The Green Room” Grenache Noir comes from classic bush vines planted back in 1946 on a combination of schist and limestone in the McLaren Vale region of South Australia and was lovingly hand crafted using lessons learned over twenty years and inspired by small biodynamic wines in southern France with native yeasts, whole bunches and ultra low sulfur to allow the grapes to express themselves in their most natural and pure form. Taras and Amber Ochota’s Ochota Barrels wines go against the our perceptions of Aussie wines, they are not inky dark and or overtly fruity and rightly so have generated a buzz beyond their border and have gained notoriety throughout the wine world. Sourced from organically farmed vineyards, Taras Ochota, who has made wines around the world, makes an interesting array of wines from Gewurztraminer to Pinot Noir, as well as a Gamay and Grenache, like this one. This “The Green Room” reminds me of some of the really good stuff coming from the Sierra de Gredos (A hot spot for Grenache/Garnacha in the mountains above Madrid, in Spain) with a fine balance and an array of pretty red fruits including dusty raspberry, strawberry, pomegranate, plum and morello cherry along with spicy accents with a hint of earth and mineral too. This wine drinks brightly and smoothly, very much like a Pinot Noir, especially with its low 12.7% natural alcohol, satiny in mouth and it opens to reveal some floral details, savory notes and a touch of licorice.

The Ochota Barrels began, according to legend, on a surf trip, in late 2000 when the world traveling couple were trekking along the west coast of Mexico n a Volkswagen fried-out Kombi (camper van), yes, like The Men at Work song, as they thought about what was next in their adventures. Baja and left coast Mexico were their final destination after traveling to some of the world’s most amazing wine and surf regions. At that point Taras and Amber Ochota hatched a plan to make what they hoped would be beautiful holistic wines back home in South Australia. After, what Taras calls, a mis-spent youth playing a Rickenbacker bass in various punk bands, noting he played on Kranktus’ Heckler album, Taras became an Oenology graduate from Adelaide University one of the most prestigious wine schools in the world. Ochota developed his craft with stints at vineyards and wineries around the world including Italy, working all around the boot, as well as on Sicily, France and here in California, where he worked at Kunin, Bonnacorsi, Arcadian, Schrader, Outpost and Hitching Post. Taras and Amber have now made home on tiny and steep sloped patch of land deep in the Basket Range of the beautiful Adelaide Hills wine region, where they farm and make some of the most intriguing Australian offerings of their generation. I can’t wait to try more of these wines and learn more about Australia’s new generation of small wineries, after enjoying this fun and tasty Ochota Barrels offering, it looks like there’s a lot to discover!
($39 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 3, 2020

2017 Elaine Wines, Pinot Noir, Calypte Vineyard, Russian River Valley.
A luxurious inaugural release Pinot Noir from Elaine Sale of Elaine Wines in Forestville, a cool climate zone in the Russian River Valley AVA of Sonoma County, made in a style that follows some of her famous neighbors and reminds me of Martinelli, Merry Edwards, Lynmar, Rochioli and Papapietro Perry with its deep concentration, bold flavors and lots of toasty French oak. This is a pretty seductive and confident first effort from Sale and it certainly makes the most of the vintage with lush black cherry, raspberry, plum and mission fig fruits along with sassafras/cola bean, black tea spiciness, subtle rose petals, lavish medium plus Burgundy barrel accents with vanilla and sweet smoke that adds a sense of hedonistic richness and will appeal to those that want a sleek modern Pinot. With air, this wine opens up nicely, shedding its more obvious ripeness and wood allowing a glimpse of where this wine is heading, like other bigger Pinots from this region, a sense of graceful refinement comes through, making for a wonderfully comforting wine that has some potential to blossom with another few years in bottle. This youthful and expressive wine goes super with many menu options from blackened salmon to short ribs, it gets more complex and complete with hearty cuisine and it proved itself as a crowd pleaser with a range of picky wine drinks.

Elaine, who sources her wines from the Calypte Vineyard, does this Pinot Noir along with a Chardonnay, which I will dig into soon as well, was referred to me by a winemaker friend who sees this vineyard and wine as future stars. The Calypte Vineyard set on ancient riverbed with a graveling mix of stony soils was planted in 1998 and is, as noted, located in Forestville in the western zone of the Russian River Valley with lots of fog in the evenings and mornings with a nice sunny exposure that captures plenty of afternoon warm. This three acre hillside vineyard, according to Elaine, sits at an elevation of 500 feet, less than one mile from the Russian River and just about 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean with hand tended vines that are carefully overseen by Ms Sale. This Calypte Vineyard Pinot, 100% clone 115, was born from serve selections of hand picked grapes and saw about 10% whole cluster in the fermentation, along with a extended cold soak for full fruit extraction and giving this wine its dark color. The Elaine Calypte Pinot, which is an ultra limited offering with just under 50 cases produced, was raised in barrique for 12 months with this vintage seeing close to 50% new oak, which adds to the lavish mouth feel and silky tannin. I look forward to seeing how this wine develops with some cellar time and I’m very excited to see how Elaine did with her 2018s.
($50 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 2, 2020

2018 Vigneti Massa, Barbera “Terra Implicito” Vino Rosso, Colli Tortonesi, Piedmonte, Italy.
Walter Massa’s Vigneti Massa is one of the most interesting wineries in Piedmonte, focused on some rare varietals as well as classic Barbera, like in this Terra Implicito, located in the Colli Tortonesi zone on a terroir that is composed of various soils including clay, chalk, stone and sand and is all pretty steeply sloped perched around the nearly-abandoned hilltop town of Monleale Alto, around 200-300 meters above sea level. Massa is credited with resurrecting the Timorasso, an almost extinct white grape that is now one of the most coveted in the region and Walter helped create the Derthona DOC, Timarasso’s most important cru, and now is bringing new attention to another native grape Croatina, a red grape that usually is blended into various bottlings in small amounts. That said, it was fun to see Massa’s take on a simple Barbera and I wasn’t a bit disappointed as this 2018 vintage Terra Implicito, sourced from 30-60 year old vines, showed beautifully well and has its own unique character, quite different from Barbera d’Asti or Alba versions. This wine is simple and fresh, in a good way, it comforts and goes great with food, especially pasta dishes with dusty red berry fruits, wild herbs, spice and a hint of earthiness, it has layers of raspberry, currant, brandied cherry and a touch of guava and cranberry fruits as well as minty basil, dried flowers, nutmeg and anise.

Walter Massa’s estate is about 30 hectares and has, as I’ve been imformed, eight distinct vineyard areas that explores each distinct grape with an obsession to bring out every nuance the vines here can give, and though this wine is more for early drinking, Massa is working hard to produce wines that age, especially his Timorasso, which I hear cellars incredibly well and for which I plan to test myself. Vigneti Massa’s total production is about 13,000 cases, of which 5,000 is Timorasso, with the rest being his reds crafted from local grapes, like the mentioned Croatina and Barbera, as well as Freisa, another rarity, plus Nebbiolo. The vines are all hand tended and cared for with holistic methods and the cellar work is mostly old school and traditional paying tribute to the region’s history. The Terra line at Vigneti Massa are almost always made using native yeasts, with maceration, fermentation and aging in stainless steel to preserve freshness and purity. This Terra Implicito Vino Rosso, mainly Barbera, is not as exciting as Massa’s Derthona Timorasso, which drinks like a high end white Burgundy, but it is very tasty and a pleasant surprise, especially for the price, its medium body and ripe tannin make it easy to enjoy, drink it up over the next year or so. I highly recommend discovering all of Vigneti Massa’s offerings, again you certainly need to try the Derthona Timorasso, which I have reviewed here in recent years, as well as checking out the reds, these are solid and wines that reflect a passion of place.
($15 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day September 1, 2020

2018 Dirty & Rowdy Family Winery, MSG, Chalone AVA, Monterey County.
Hardy Wallace and Matt Richardson, Dirty & Rowdy’s founders and winemakers, have crafted a gorgeous Chateauneuf du Pape style red from the chalky limestone soils of Chalone that is led by their favorite Mourvedre along with a good dose of Syrah and some Grenache grapes, making for a dark purple/garnet fruit forward and spicy wine that highlights the beautiful nature of vintage and place. Dirty & Rowdy only made six barrels of their Live Monterey County MSG (about 41% Mourvedre, 39% Syrah, and the rest Grenache) with fruit coming from some of their prized vineyards within the Chalone zone where they have been getting Mourvedre, Melon (once thought to be Pinot Blanc!) and Grenache for many years now. This 2018 shows an energetic dark force of fruit flavors on the full bodied palate with exceptional purity showing black raspberry, marionberry, sweet tree picked plum, pomegranate and blueberry coulis along with perfumed florals, zesty spices, anise and a fine chalky/stony note. This wine feels fabulous and has crisp detailing with a nice cut of acidity, low alcohol at around 13.3% and keeps revealing additional layers as it opens with a touch of Mourvedre meatiness, savory elements from the use of whole bunches with stem inclusion and sticky lavender notes. Richardson and Wallace, who’s winery facility is in Santa Rosa, source grapes from all over the state, they have searched out prime locations to get Mourvedre (also known as Mataro) with vines in the Sierra Foothills, Contra Costa, San Benito and Monterey County, which supplies these grapes with the old Antle Vineyard and Brousseau playing leading roles. This MSG goes best with simple or country style cuisine, I enjoyed it with left over pasta, but it would be excellent with brisket, tri-tip and or Turkish lamb kabobs.

Dirty & Rowdy is a breathe of fresh air in California’s new generation of producers, always being unpretentious, full of humble humor and playful their presentation of the wines which are crafted in a freewheeled natural way as to allow a certain raw and un-fiddled with transparency on full display, they employ native yeast fermentations with no additions or adjustments except in the most challenging of situations and age the wines primarily in old neutral French barrels. They also have been exploring skin contact whites, with their Semillon being of particular interest with its concrete egg aging adding to the intrigue. That all said, these wines are pretty serious in terms of complexity, especially this stunning Rhone style red, it could easily be mistaken for an old world wine with its poise and slightly dusty flavors and while boldly California fruit dominated it never gets flabby or dull and it would impress in a blind tasting, not question. I love this bottling, although it is going to be hard to get at stage, it is worth chasing down, but never fear if you can’t get any, as the 2019 vintage should be just as delicious and maybe even better. Wallace is one of the great unfiltered characters and I highly recommend checking his Instagram out, he has some fantastic vineyard footage and lots laughs to enjoy. I got turned on to Dirty & Rowdy by Ian Brand, one of Monterey’s top winemaking guns and vineyard whisperer, who also makes tasty Mourvedre as well. Brand has the opinion that Rhone grapes have starring role in Chalone and are the future of this unique terroir, after enjoying this bottle, I whole heartedly agree! I suggest getting on the mailing list and be sure to explore their Enz Vineyard Mourvedre, the Shake Ridge Mourvedre and the Dirty & Rowdy entry level and fantastically quaffable California Familiar Mourvedre.
($40 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day August 31, 2020

2017 Domaine du Chene, Syrah, Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes, Northern Rhone Valley, France.
This fun and easy drinking Syrah from Domaine du Chene in Saint-Joseph comes from 35 year old vines just outside the AOC from the Chezenas vineyard, all organic and dry farmed, in St. Pierre de Boeuf with granite soils at 400 meters of elevation. This fruit forward and fresh version is a wonderful value red, it came from hand harvested grapes that underwent a fifteen day fermentation in tank with daily pigeage and pressed at dryness, all done with native yeasts. This Syrah saw a brief spell in well seasoned French oak cask to allow a bit of maturity and texture, but to preserve purity and freshness for early drinking. This vintage, warm and ripe is juicy with blueberry compote, crushed boysenberry, damson plum and sweet cherry fruits along with subtle savory elements, wild herb, graphite, anise and violets, this is not overly serious, but highly quaffable and nice companion to simple and or rustic food choices. This wine, a smile inducing 100% Syrah, would be a delight on a Fall by the glass list with hearty cuisine menu options.

Domaine du Chene, imported to America by Valkyrie Selections, who have savvy portfolio of old world producers, was founded n 1985 by Dominique and Marc Rouvière, who have their small cellars in Chavanay in the heart of the northern Rhône. According to Valkyrie, over about a decade, Domaine du Chene invested in significant renovations both in the vineyards and winery to producer elegant and terroir driven wines with a special focus on the estate’s premier 16 hectares parcels in Saint-Joseph and Condrieu. In recent years these Syrah and Viognier based offerings have drawn in a loyal following and Dominique and Marc’s children, Anaïs and Julien, joined their parents in 2012, helping raise the game here even further, the wines are not overtly flashy, but the quality and soulfulness shine through. For those looking for authentic character and well drinking wines, Domaine du Chene is very worth searching out, with this one being a very solid value and for more complexity be sure to check out their Saint-Joseph Rouge, which shows much more intensity, as well as the perfumed and textural Condrieu.
($16 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive