2016 Le Temps des Copains, Syrah/Grenache “Pax” Love & Grapes Project, Vin de France.
Made by Frederic Niger of Domaine de L’Ecu in the Loire Valley, the Pax, part of his Love & Grapes Project under the Le Temps des Copains label is Rhone blend of 70% Syrah, 30% Grenache from Pierre Jauffret, of Châteauneuf du Pape. all biodynamic/organic grapes that are transported cold to Niger’s Muscadet winey, fermented in stainless steel tank, then aged in amphora with no sulfur additions. This is the most unique Chateauneuf du Pape I’ve ever seen or tried, no question, and I was thrilled to taste it, as I adore all of Fred’s Amphora raised stuff, especially his estate bottlings of Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc! This 2016 Le Temps des Copains Pax is a beauty with an earthy and sensual mouth feel and layers of smooth dark fruits, bright spices, flora tones, mineral notes and a warm sense of terra-cotta. Lovely in texture with youthful firm details, it shows a mix of boysenberry, plum, tart currant, kirsch, leather, grilled fennel, lavender/violets, cinnamon stick, peppercorns and saline throughout and lingers with a tangy huckleberry and dusty tannins in this medium/full bodied garnet/purple hued red. After trying most of the available versions of the Le Temps des Copains Love & Grapes Project offerings, I am sold, these are wonderful wines, some of the best natural wines you’ll find and very serious in style, Fred Niger has teamed with like minded organic growers from Beaujolais to the Rhone, from the Italian Coast to the Loire Valley to create a niche, a little bit like Jean’Francois Ganevat has tried to do in the Jura, but maybe a bit more interesting and complex with the unique Amphora aging, they join COS in Sicily and Foradori in Alto Adige in their success in this segment. Again, I’m impressed with these and they have raised natural wines to a new level, imported by Floraison Selections, these Le Temps des Copains and Niger’s own Domaine de L’Ecu are brilliant and deserve your attention, search them out!
($42 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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