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Lavau Chateauneuf du Pape 2013
Lavau’s Chateauneuf-du-Pape is an excellent full bodied and well-structured example of the region that shows black plum, bing cherry, and spiced fruitcake aromas. A fruit driven but refreshing palate has notes of lingonberry, dried earth, smoky cedar, and cloves, with fine grained tannins that lead to a long, herbal tinged finish with mouthwatering acidity.
Gamebirds such as duck, pheasant, or quail would be excellent paired with this wine. Beef stroganoff, creamy mushroom pasta, or boar steak over rice pilaf would also be delicious.
A family owned and run company, Lavau has roots in wine going back to the mid-19th century, with the family living in St. Emilion in Bordeaux. After moving to Tunisia to start a wine business there, and then back again once Tunisia gained its independence, the family opened their eponymous negociant firm in the Rhone in 1965. Over the years they have bought over 180 hectares of land, with several different wine estates, and have long standing relationships with 350-plus winegrowers, which allows them to craft excellent quality wines at affordable prices across their various labels.
This Lavau Chateauneuf-du-Pape macerates for 30 days during fermentation, after which 50% sees 12 months in 1-2 years old 450L oak barrels, while the other 50% is aged in concrete vats.
Georges Vernay St Joseph Terres D'Encre 2015
A red wine with a name as evocative as the varietal it holds - it literally means “Earth of Ink” and comes from one of Northern Rhône’s most talented winemakers, Christine Vernay.
You will find this Syrah intensely aromatic as spices, flora, and dark berry compote assault your olfactory. It is an inky crimson with indigo-stained tips.
There is medium body with a meaty palate. It is structured with soft, ripe tannins. Dark crushed blueberries, blackberries, Earl Grey tea, and violets are layered throughout this bold red with refreshing acidity and minerality. Dark berries, wildflowers, and herbs mingle with sanguine and iron in the rosemary-infused finale.
Given the bigness of this red, enjoy it chilled around 18°C and serve with grilled red meats or large game, stews, roasts, and rosemary crusted lamb.
The Vernay family hand-selects the fruit used to elaborate their wines. The grapes used for this Terres d’Encre are from 3 parcels of vines on the terraces of Chavanay, where the soil is comprised of rich, dark granite. The vines on these parcels are from 30-year-old rootstock which imparts spicy structure, body, and elegance into the wine. This wine is an excellent example of a classic Northern Rhône Syrah. Saint-Joseph is the largest appellation in the Northern Rhône wine region. Both red and white wines are allowed to be produced here, although Syrah remains the most popular production.
Chateau Maucoil Chateauneuf Du Pape Tradition 2015
Ideally drink now through 2027. Decant for 1-2 hours prior to drinking
The Chateau Maucoil is a beautiful example of a well-made Chateauneuf-du-Pape. A vibrant ruby hue, this wine displays intense aromas of red berries, kirsch, and garrigue herbs. On the palate, this fresh and lively wine has flavors of blackberries, black pepper, sage, and cured meats. Soft, silky tannins round out this medium bodied wine, giving it more complexity and depth.
The Chateau Maucoil Chateauneuf-du-Pape is best served with hearty meat dishes like classic French cassoulet, braised beef stew, or roast beef. It could also be paired with Asian dishes like Thai Curry, or heavier pasta dishes like creamy mushroom alfredo.
Crafted from Chateau Maucoil’s “youngest” vineyard (at 40 years on average, old enough to be called old-vine in many countries), this Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a classic blend of 60% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre, and 10% Cinsault. The soils are sandy and pebbly, with good drainage increasing intensity and complexity of the fruit. Grapes are all hand harvested, sorted, and fermented in concrete tanks, after which they are aged in a combination of large concrete vats and 1-year old barrels. As of the 2014 vintage, Chateau Maucoil is a certified 100% biodynamic winery, and is owned by the Lavau company, a negociant firm with many holdings in the Rhone.