2012 Domaine de Monardiere, Vacqueyras, Vieilles Vignes, Rhone Red, France.
This wine has matured and is drinking at peak expressiveness with pure and lush layers of ripe and heady fruit, very much in the mold of a classic Chateauneuf du Pape, it is full bodied and densely textured, rather surprising for a Vacqueyras, especially in this price class, adding to the sense of quality and shear pleasure coming from the glass of this old vine Rhone. This wine gives a hedonistic performance, it starts with its inviting garnet/purple color with edges that are beginning to show a hint of orange/crimson and a nose of florals and sweet red fruits with a touch of spice and earth that leads to a opulent palate of crushed brambly raspberries, plum, boysenberry and sweet kirsch along with dried roses, snappy herbs, anise and a hint of leather. This is a flamboyant Rhone that certainly makes an impact and is best with robust cuisine choices, with its thick fruits and silken tannins I would suggest enjoying it with lamb kabobs, grilled tri-tip and or wild mushroom dishes. There is a complex array of flavors here, but this Monardiere Vacqueyras is simply a wine that provides big smiles, especially for Grenache fans, even though the final blend here was 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 20% Mourvedre.

The Vache’s, Martine and Christian, bought this estate from Monardieres back in 1987 and began their own journey into becoming a top producer here in the Vacqueyras AOC, and with a lot of hard work, investment in the cellar and converting all the vines to organic, their wines have become some of the region’s most desirable, as this Vieilles Vignes shows. This Monardiere Old Vine Vacqueyras saw 100% de-stemmed grapes that ware fermented using indigenous yeasts, with a maceration and extraction period of almost three weeks with gentle daily punch-downs to showcase the terroir and vintage. The Vache’s traditional approach included them aging their Vacqueyras cru from 12 months in a combination of tanks, especially revealing in the Grenache and a few lots in barrels to add richness and soften tannins and then chosen, blended and bottled, without fining or filtration to capture every nuance of this wine’s soul in the bottle. The Monardiere lineup includes a Vacqueyras Rosé, this lavish Old Vine Vacqueyras (Vieilles Vignes) and the single vineyard Les 2. I recently reviewed and loved their 2010, a vintage that seemed youthful by comparison and a touch more brooding, and I recommend drinking up this 2012s, as they are at their best right now.
($35 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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