2007 Domaine Gallety, Cote du Vivarais Rouge, Rhone Valley, France.
The Covid shut down has allowed me some time to dig through some older wines to review and some friends have got into the spirit and brought out some of their own forgotten bottles or stuff that had been over looked in the cellar, like this wonderfully matured, dark and savory Syrah and Grenache blend from Alain Gallety, of Domaine Gallety in the Ardeche, straight north from Nimes, and in the AOC of Cote du Vivarais, which came into being back in 1999. The 2007 vintage in the Southern Rhone was a big one and the wines are ripe and hedonistic, especially the more Grenache based reds, like in Chateauneuf du Pape, but the outliners with more Syrah are meaty and less fruity in concentration like this one in particular from Domaine Gallety. This wine highlights this, showing off its 50% Syrah in full force at this stage with layers of dark berry fruit, with some boysenberry, creme de cassis, bacon fat, leather, melted licorice, a hint of bullion cube, which is a product of the age beginning to show, dried herbs de Provence, kirsch and wilted violets. The natural robust personality (of this wine) feels impressive on the full bodied palate that still has some grip to it, its grainy tannin structure begs for some rustic or country cuisine and or a selection of hard cheeses. As this wine opens, its more pretty side flickers in and out with the floral notes and inner sweetness of fruit from the Grenache plays with the senses like a teasing fan dance, it always is promising more that it shows, but is still very much a complete and compelling wine. I have known about and tried many vintages of Gallety through importer Kermit Lynch, but I admit to not have not invested as much time and focus to Alain’s wines, which now seems a shame, as this one was very exciting and while Kermit Lynch has such an impressive portfolio of Rhones, Gallety should not be overlooked, as I might have done.
The Domaine Gallety was founded in 1974, young by Rhone standards and set in the remote Cotes du Vivarais, where as Kermit Lynch notes, the wines, of this area of Ardeche, stand as a gateway between the Northern and Southern Rhône and frequently see equal blends of the (two) noble grapes, Syrah and Grenache, which is what this wine is made of exactly. The Domaine farms 100% organic and makes just about 4,500 cases per year of mostly red, though they also do two very unique white wines which marry grapes of Chateauneuf and Hermitage with a blend of 50% Grenache Blanc, 30% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne. This wine, as mentioned, is 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah, and seems in this 2007 vintage to favor the Syrah with its opaque purple/crimson color and its iron rich, umami and beefy intensity leading the way. The grapes, all hand tended and harvested, are from vines set on classic clay and limestone soils with a cooler, wetter and windy climate that leads to a longer growing season that again favors the Syrah, hence it playing a bigger role here, with Alain Gallety using mostly traditional methods in the cellar with mainly re-stemed bunches and a long maceration and primary fermentation that usually lasts about 30 days before he racks the finally blend to used barrels, where the Cote du Vivarais Rouge ages about 15 months before bottling. Alain allows native yeasts to do the job and when he brings the grapes in they are gently crushed into cement vats for the red wines, while the whites get more stainless to preserve vitality and keep the Marsanne (in my opinion) from getting to oxidative, which it can do very easily. I’m convinced it is a perfect time to drink these 2007s before the fruit drops away any further and the meaty quality and unresolved tannin take away from the charms that are still on display here, drink now. This bottling of Cote du Vivarais Rouge, in any vintage, is worth searching out and will certainly appeal to those that like the more rustic and earthy style Rhones.
($30+ Est.) 91 Points, grapelive