2019 Chateau de Rouanne, Vinsobres AOC Rouge, Rhone Valley, France.
The very dark fruited and deeply hued Vinsobres Rouge by the sister property of Saint Cosme, Chateau de Rouanne, was crafted in this vintage from 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre grown on sandy, iron rich soils set on a limestone marl base with some clay and was, as noted above, all co-fermented mostly with whole cluster and all indigenous yeasts in concrete tanks, where it was also aged. The wine rested in the cement vat for 18 months, which allows the wine to show absolute purity in its final form and gave it time to fill out before bottling. The 2019 echos the 2018, I last tried, with a full bodied palate of black raspberry, damson plum, boysenberry compote, anise/licorice, creme de cassis and cherry fruit along with whole bunches influences highlighted with peppercorns, violets, earthiness and herbs de provence, along with a nice tannic structure, but beautiful textural quality. Anyone who’s had Louis Barruol’s wines will find the level of quality and comfort or pleasure here on par with the more famous Saint Cosme lineup, especially the Gigondas and Chateauneuf du Pape bottlings and I’m sure this Chateau de Rouanne Vinsobres will aged at least another 5 to 7 years if not 10! This deep purple/gsarnet wine definitely wants some protein rich cuisine to go with it, with lamb roast a natural pairing, but BBQ ribs, grilled steak, and or a winter meaty stew being good choices too.
The Chateau de Rouanne is another awesome project by Louis Barruol, owner of the famed Chateau de Saint Cosme in Gigondas, in Vinsobres, making a wine that is a classic Rhone red that is a co-fermentation of Barruol’s old vine Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Louis Barruol has long used fruit from this remote area far to the northwest of Chateauneuf du Pape and has recently added this estate to his lineup as a separate label within the Saint Cosme family, which makes sense as Vinsobres has been recognized as its own appellation, and an upgrade from a generic Cotes du Rhone. I would argue was long over due, to make this area its own AOC since this a cooler climate and high quality terroir that is unique and deserves to be more widely known, as this wine certainly proves. Louis Barruol has coveted this site for years, he notes that, like his famous Chateau de Saint Cosme, Chateau de Rouanne was first founded during Gallo-Roman times, probably dating back to the 1400s. Barruol adds that, most of Rouanne’s vineyards date from the 1960s and are massale selections (special old clones) that offer substantial genetic diversity and low yields that shows in the wine, giving it concentration and depth, while the elevation and soils allow for natural acidity and heightened aromatics. Bargain hunters should chase the Chateau de Rouanne Vinsobres 2018 and 2019 vintages down, as they can be found at exceptionally good prices, about 25 bucks, but I look forward to seeing the new vintages, and even at a few dollars more a bottle, they will certainly be worth it!
($35 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive