2015 Chateau Pegau, Cotes du Rhone Rouge “Maclura” Rhone Valley, France.
The richly flavored and complex Maclura Cotes du Rhone Rouge by Laurence Feraud of Chateau Pegau and Domaine de Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape fame is made up of about 60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre and 5% Cinsault, it’s a wine that shows vintage and terroir to beautiful effect with warm ripe fruit, spice and earthy charms. This wine comes from estate vines that average between 35 and 60 years old set on classic Chateauneuf like terroir with deep, stony, clay soils marked by round galets in the Sorgues area, all within 4 miles of the much more famous Chateauneuf du Pape AOC. The “Maclura”, which is named after a type of Osage Orange tree (also known by the name Hedge Apple) by Feraud by for the many of these trees that line the Chateau’s grounds, hence inspiring the name of this cuvée, shows, especially in this 2015 vintage, deep color and loads of black and red fruits including boysenberry, sweet plums, pomegranate and strawberry compote along with a hint of stems, a fleshy textural feel, as well as peppery spices, lavender, anise, creme de cassis, leather and dusty stones. This ready to go stuff is sultry and is hedonism in the glass, not overtly so, but with top notch quality and it is performing well right now.
This wine was produced with traditional methods, whole cluster and fermented using indigenous yeasts, all in epoxy lined tanks without any oak all to promote purity of form and to allow the place to shine through on the full bodied palate. Pegau, since Laurence took over here, has become one of the Rhone’s great estates and her wines are exceptional and world class, in particular her Chateauneuf(s) of course, but wine lovers, especially Grenache fans should really look for this Maclura Cotes du Rhone, with its pretty character and smooth tannins it really is easy to love, while still being rather serious in style. Feraud, while admitting these Cotes du Rhone(s) are not Chateauneuf(s), she keeps yields absurdly low, using only limits permitted in Chateauneuf noting that the wines have all of the density and hedonism of their big brother(s) from the fabled region. Pegau’s current lineup is full of stars and value, also of note is the Cotes du Rhone “Lone” Blanc made from 40% Clairette, 30% Bourboulenc, 20% Grenache Blanc and 10% Ugni Blanc, which is also delicious. This 2015 Cotes du Rhone Rouge, all organic, is a savvy crowd pleaser and great with a variety of cuisine, I highly recommend it with these cool Fall evenings and simple, but robust meals, drink now and often.
($23 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive