2016 Saint Jean du Barroux, par Philippe Gimel, Ventoux Rouge “La Source” Rhone Valley, France.
The Saint Jean du Barroux wines are made by Philippe Gimel, the talented winemaker who is an ex chemist that first worked at top names such as Château de Beaucastel in Chateauneuf du Pape, as well as La Janasse, Pierre Bise and Château Devès, names his Ventoux cuvées of Saint Jean Du Barroux after an element of the surrounding terroir, like this La Source Rouge being influenced by a local natural spring near by. The Cotes du Ventoux area in the Rhone’s Luberon is located close to Provence in the foothills of the chalky Mount Ventoux, the highest site in the area, made famous as terrifying and tough stage on the Tour de France, it’s a great and very underrated growing region renowned worldwide for incredible values in Rhone reds, made mostly from Grenache and Syrah. This 2016 La Source by Domaine Saint Jean du Barroux is absolutely fabulous with the depth, perfume, ripe smooth tannins and concentration of flavors that rivals many wines three, four or five times the price, this is stunning lavender scented wine that delivers layers of rich boysenberry, dusty plum, pomegranate and strawberry fruits along with dried flowers, wild garrigue (herb/shrub) or sage, peppercorns, licorice as well as lingering creme de cassis and kirsch, adding a touch of loamy stones and clay contrasting savory elements.
The dark purple/garnet hued, full bodied and aromatic 2016 vintage Saint Jean du Barroux La Source Ventoux Rouge, crafted using 70% Grenache, 25% Carignan and 5% Cinsault all from organic vines set on classic rocky top soils over limestone and hardened clay, it easily could pass for, and tastes like a top-flight Gigondas or Rasteau with exceptional purity, made from a tank raised selection. Gimel pays careful attention to each parcel and he, according to the winery, harvests and sorts by hand, does his fermentation using indigenous yeasts in cement tanks, where it also spends its elevage, and he only bottles after the wines age 18 months at the minimum. Imported by Eric Solomon of European Cellars, the Saint Jean du Barroux wines have a fanatic following with Rhone fans and bargain hunters, these are insanely good wines, especially in years like 2016 and this wine in particular is a steal with its serious palate impact and deliciousness. Philippe Gimel founded his estate back in 2003 and has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, these wines are stand outs in an area that doesn’t get that much press, which maybe good for those looking for fantastic Rhone expressions at everyday drinking pricing, and at a time like we have now with Covid-19 stay in place orders, this La Source is a wine to stock up on. I highly recommend trying the Saint Jean du Barroux Ventoux Rouge offerings, drink up!
($20 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive