2009 Domaine la Monardiere, Vacqueyras Rouge, Les 2 Monardes, Cotes du Rhone Villages, Rhone Valley, France.
The ripe 2009 Les 2 Mondares Vacqueyras by Domaine la Mondariere shows dense fruit and loads of savory elements with a sense of maturity really making its presence felt with hints of truffle, dried flowers and sous bois or bouillon cube notes coming through on the warm mouth filling palate with boysenberry, plum sauce, stewed cherries and creme de cassis along with chalky stone, a meaty/iron element, tarry licorice, garrigue and leathery notes. The Les 2 Monardes was crafted from 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah that was sourced from vines of an average age of 40 years, on this special Lieu-Dit that is planted on the region’s classic limestone and sandy clay soils in Vacqueyras, which is a bit higher in elevation and on cooler hillsides that see a bit more breezy conditions and chilly nights, helping provide welcome relief from the hot Summer days in the Southern Rhone, adding to the balanced quality in these wines. This dark garnet red 2009, a pretty warm year, shows its age and ripeness, but still delivers a very nice performance and while fruity, still has a rustic character that is best enjoyed with hearty foods, especially grilled meats and or hard cheeses. Martine and Christian Vache at Domaine la Monardiere are putting out some soulful stuff, and the wine are solid values too.

The Vache family bought this estate from the Monardieres back in 1987 and, as noted in my prior reviews, began their journey into becoming a top producer in the Vacqueyras AOC, this is the result of a lot of hard work in the cellar as well as an investment in the vines, converting to organic farming and committing to smaller yields and quality, all of which has paid off with their wines, including this bottling. As noted before, the Grenache and Syrah grapes are all hand-harvested, carefully sorted in the vineyard to maximize concentration and intensity. This wine saw 100% de-stemmed grape berries that were fermented using spontaneous yeasts, with a lengthy maceration and extraction period that lasted close to three weeks with gentle daily punch-downs. The Vache’s traditional approach included them aging their Vacqueyras single cru for 12 months in a combination of tank and neutral cask, with some Grenache lots in smaller barrels to add richness and soften tannins and bottled unfined and unfiltered. The Monardiere lineup now includes a Vacqueyras Rosé, an Old Vine Vacqueyras (Vieilles Vignes) and this single vineyard style Les 2 Monardes, which has become a go to wine for me in recent years, and I can’t wait to get some of the latest releases, though it has been cool to explore some of these nicely cellared bottles, which have been showing up. I am excited to see what this Domaine does for the 2018 and 2019 vintages, which look like superb vintages in the Southern Rhone, keep an eye out for them.
($35 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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