2015 Chateau Valcombe, Ventoux Rouge “Les Hauts de Valcombe” Southern Rhone, France.
Sometimes you just need the warm comfort of a nice Grenache based Southern Rhone, with it’s full flavored and smooth tannin charm washing over your palate and light spicy character holding on the mouth coating finish adding complexity to it’s sweet fruits and earthy seduction, yup, that is what was needed and this Valcombe Ventoux Rouge delivered! The “Les Hauts de Valcombe” is a cuvee cepage/blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah from exclusively north-facing vineyards, allowing for less sun to give an extra burst of freshness, even in a ripe year, and even with that much Syrah this wine feels remarkably graceful and Grenache(y) on the palate with a playful and fruity core. Valcombe, near the town of St. Pierre de Vassols, is all organic and this cuvee is all cement vat fermented and raised, it’s an old school traditional wine that displays a wonderful transparency and is terroir driven with the chalky marl soils showing through. With air some of the Syrah savoriness comes through, but the dense fruit always keeps the pleasure levels high, it’s an easy Rhone to love with racy raspberry, plum, boysenberry, sweet cherry and strawberry fruits along with hints of dusty stones, pepper, anise, leather and wild lavender. Chateau Valcombe’s owners Luc and Cendrine Guénard, who trained under Paul Jeune, former winemaking legend at Chateauneuf-du-Pape’s famed Domaine Monpertuis, who transformed this property, with vineyards on the lower slopes of Mont Ventoux, from it’s humble origins into a serious estate have continued in his footsteps, and in fact, in recent vintages even risen the quality here, this is a winery that almost always over delivers in the price to quality ratio, especially this bottling, which I adorn. Drink this dark garnet hued medium/full bodied and textural 2015 “Les Hauts de Valcombe” over the next 3 to 5 years, but there’s no need to wait as it is drinking beautiful and fresh right now, it’s a steal.
($16 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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