Older Rustic Reds

The other night we had a terrific opportunity to taste some older rustic red wines at VINO.  BYOB wine tastings can be such fun!

1997 Domaine de la Grange des Peres

Owner/winemaker Laurent Vaillé has rather quietly gained cult status for his ‘tour de force” Cabernet-Syrah-Mourvedre based red wine from his vineyard in the l’Hérault of the Languedoc near Aniane which he purchased in 1989.  Here, “the limestone is hard and abundant and the soil poor, no one thought he would ever have any success planting a vineyard on his plot of choice. Though it took dynamite and bulldozing to clear twice the amount of limestone, boulders, and glacial scree that was found in his neighbor Aimé Guilbert’s Daumas Gassac vineyards, he found ideal terroir for his grapes“. Having worked & studied with such masters as Jean-François Coche-Dury (Meursault), Gérard Chave (Hermitage), and Eloi Durrbach (Domaine Trévallon, Provence), therefore sourced his Syrah, Marsanne, and Roussane cuttings from Gérard Chave and his Cabernet from Domaine Trévallon.

On this night, the 1997 was closed down initially, but with air the gaminess & wildly rustic characteristics of the Mourvedre first came out, combined with bay leaf, autumn leaves, forest floor nuances.  Then the intricacies & pedigree of Syrah came forward…. mesmerizing & so intriguing.  The blend was really binded together by the dollop of Cabernet which gave the wine a background of grandeur & class, especially in the mid palate.  I hope I have more in the cellar!

1994 Domaine Tempier Bandol “La Tourtine”

It took me a long time to understand & appreciate the Bandol wines of Domaine Tempier.  If I had started off having older, “library” renditions like this though, my learning & appreciation curve would have been much faster that’s for sure.  The wildly rustic, hearty, innate masculine & well structured character found in young Tempier is greatly tempered & intergrated with some bottle age coupled with a real savoriness & soulful-ness.  I am also so RE-impressed with every older bottle how youthful & spunky the fruit in the wine’s core is AND how even more food friendly they become.  Definitely a real treat!!!!!

1996 Rene Rostaing Cote Rotie “Cote Blonde”

This Syrah based northern Rhone-ster was so impressive!!!!!  dark, sinister, brooding with lots of roasted coffee grinds, roasted meat, earth, sandalwood nuances…..deep, resounding fruit…… still though harmonious, majestic & amazing.  It certainly was a WOW wine & I am sure inspired many of the tasters to go out & buy some of this iconic producer’s newer releases.


1999 Giacomo Conterno Barolo “Cascina Francia”

Another SENSATIONAL, masterful Barolo from Giacomo Conterno!!!!!  I really thought I knew something about Barolo & Barbaresco & have collected quite a few over the years, BUT have come to realize this producer is King of Hill.  The very core of this wine is gut wrenchingly good, deftly combining power, mega-intensity & structure with incredible breed, complexities & soulfulness.  WOW!!!!!

This producer’s 1999 Barolo is a benchmark.





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