Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre
Rhone Valley, France
Alc. 14.5 %
Fans of wines from Gigondas in the Southern Rhone may already know the name Louis Barruol (owner of the famed Chateau de St.-Cosme), but would be forgiven for being unfamiliar with this wine from Château de Rouanne. Though it's a historic property with a cellar dating back to the 19th century, it was only recently purchased by Barruol, and we were lucky enough to get our hands on this spectacular 2018 release from his very first vintage as owner of the estate!
"It reminds me a lot of St.-Cosme when I took over in 1992," Barruol told Wine Spectator. "It's an unknown sleeping beauty waiting for a vigneron to truly love it."
The property is located in Vinsobres, a relatively young AOC just north of Gigondas. Barruol has long been familiar with the estate's quality, having used their grapes in his Côtes du Rhône for many years. The site is organically farmed, and this inaugural 2018 release is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Mourvèdre, and 10% Syrah. The grapes were co-fermented with indigenous yeast in concrete tanks, then aged a further 18 months before being bottled unfiltered.
While this wine would reward careful cellaring for 7-10 years, it can be enjoyed young after a few hours in a decanter, served at a perfect 18 C.
This wine opens with dense fruit galore — black cherry, plum, raspberry, and cranberry, supported by a slight floral note reminiscent of violets. With a few swirls, an earthier note emerges behind the ripe, welcoming fruit, with hints of garrigue, bramble, white pepper, and cocoa nibs. Complex, nuanced, and elegant; this is a beauty.
Medium to full-bodied on the palate, this wine is dry and full of all the ripe fruit we found on the nose. It's structured but elegant, with enough fresh acidity to balance the weight, and with fine, developed tannins. The ripe red fruit persists throughout the long finish. While it's definitely built to age, it is delicious now with a few hours in a decanter.
Match this complex, earthy red with simple, rustic Provençal cuisine; think roasted lamb, game meats, or anything with mushrooms! This is the ideal wine for those cool spring nights that call for heartier food.