2016 Domaine Font Sarade, Vacqueyras, Les Hauts de la Ponche, Rhone Valley, France.
The Domaine Font Sarade wines are crafted by the father and daughter team of Bernard and Claire Burle and they have done a masterful job of their Les Hauts de la Ponche Vacqueyras 2016, a stunning wine from a stunning vintage, made from 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 25% Mourvedre. I’ve been wanting to try the wines from this small Domaine for a few years, so I’m glad I got my hands on some of this stuff, especially as 2016 is looking like a rockstar vintage, making this particularly good timing. The Burle’s are traditional in their winemaking and are looking to translate individual Lieu-Dits and showcase their unique terroirs, they make a few Cotes-du-Rhone(s), Ventoux, a Rose, Cru Gigondas and Vacqueyras from family owned and farmed vines. The 2016 Font Sarade Vacqueyras is 100% de-stemmed and is fermented and aged in cement vats for absolute purity and allows for the clay and limestone soils to shine through, and with such a vintage as 2016 you get a massively appealing wine, rich in flavor, detail and life, coming in at a full 14.5% natural alcohol this has as much impact as a Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge, but at a tiny fraction of the price, making it a steal! This 2016 is grapey fresh at first, with air it gains a deeper almost chocolatey density with an appealing dark purple and garnet hue in the glass, it’s un-endowed by anything except fruit purity and terroir influences with layers of crushed violets, minty herbs, lavender and black currant, boysenberry and radiant kirsch, adding pepper, dusty plum, anise and tart strawberry with air, in an impressive, youthful and compact wine. The freshness combined with perfect ripeness makes this an outrageously good Vacqueyras that while tight expands on the medium/full palate, while the natural tannin keeps everything focused and well structured, this will be an intriguing wine to follow over the next 5 to 10 years, and while I usually like a bit of stem complexity, this wine seems to lack for nothing. It’s hard to imagine not to get a case or two, but harder to imagine not drinking as fast as you can either, this is everything you ever want from this region and more, I say get as much as you can, while you can!
($18 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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